Exercise A limited palette study from your sketches

Aim of the exercise: We were to select a drawing to develop in colour from the sketches that we did in the previous exercise. We were to use a limited palette, two or three colours, the traditional ones being brown, sanguine, black and the white of the paper. We could use conté pencils, coloured pencils or ink.

Figure 1 Chosen sketch to develop from exercise a sketchbook of townscape drawings

Figure 1
Chosen sketch to develop from exercise a sketchbook of townscape drawings

What I experienced: Completed 17/08/13. I had a look through my sketches that I had done for the previous exercise to decide on a view to develop. It was only at this point that I realised how inadequate many of them were if I wanted to go on and do a larger drawing from them. I had made good notes on textures, colours, light, mood etc but more visual information in the sketches would have been helpful. It was a good lesson in what would be useful, another time, to make sure that I had noted. The sketch that had the most information was the A4 pen and charcoal (please see figure 1) and that was the one that I chose to develop. I decided that I wanted to try drawing it at A3 and also to expand the scene to see the effect this would have on the feel of the drawing. I chose to go with the traditional colours and although I did not have conté pencils, I did have Daler Rowney Artists sketching pencils in Sanguine, Sepia dark, and Black and these, I would imagine, are very similar to conté pencils.

Figure 2 Completed drawing using a limited palette

Figure 2
Completed drawing using a limited palette

We were to mark our eye level and I used this to try and understand the perspective better and to understand where I had gone wrong in the initial sketch. I did find this quite difficult as some of the vanishing points were a very long way off the page and therefore I drew these from the best I could work out and what I felt looked right. I knew that I had drawn the porch too wide on the initial sketch so I corrected that on this drawing. I maped out positions first in pencil and then used Winsor and Newton ink in Nut Brown and a dip pen to draw out the elements. Strangely enough I had thought that it would be easier drawing this at home but I actually found it quite hard to get the same feeling for the drawing as I had felt on site and not to become too mechanical with the pen. I found this aspect improved somewhat once I started using the sketching pencils, perhaps because these allowed for more interpretation than trying to replicate the lines of the buildings. It was interesting working with such a restricted palette. The sepia was quite a cool brown, while the sanguine was a much warmer colour and layered with the sepia resulted in warming the shadow colour and this also helped to bring some shadow areas forward. I added some elements from my other sketches to the increased amount of foreground. I managed to make a total pigs ear of the foreground tree. On site there had been a very large Yew tree which I only indicated in my initial sketch. I added more of it into this drawing but I think that I have drawn it too big and too dark (even though in real life it was both large and dark) as it unbalances the drawing. I added black to the foreground shadow areas to help bring them foreward by emphasizing them. Completed drawing (please see figure 2), A3 sketchbook.

Things that I feel went well: I wanted to avoid just replicating my initial sketch and I feel that I have developed the drawing to a certain extent and opening the scene up has had the effect of altering the mood of the drawing, and the attempt to show a sunny day has been reasonably successful. I think the perspective in this drawing is an improvement on the initial sketch and the relationships and sizes between the elements are more accurate. I learnt a lot as to what would be helpful in future to record to enable me to work from my sketches better.

Things that I feel did not go well: The large tree is too heavily treated in comparison to the rest of the drawing. I am still struggling to get my perspective and angles right and there are still quite a few errors in the drawing, although less so than there was in the initial sketch. I think that essentially I have quite a boring composition and it certainly could not be classed as a unique or exciting view. I found it quite difficult to translate local colour, shadow colour and tone successfully with the limited palette, but it was enjoyable to attempt.

What I would like to do following this exercise: I would like to develop an effective shorthand for recording information in my sketches so that I would then be able to use them at any point in the future to develop a drawing/painting. I need to continue to work on improving my understanding of perspective and I need to continue to work on improving my ability to accurately read the slope of an angle. Hopefully, if I can try and draw lots more buildings it should help with both of these aspects.

This entry was posted in Part 3 Drawing outdoors, Project 3 Townscapes. Bookmark the permalink.

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