|(Click to enlarge) Ink & watercolor in a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" Stillman & Birn Zeta series softcover sketchbook|
I decided to keep my sketch bright and whimsical, like the Village of the Arts, so I skewed the angles of the architectural elements, simplified some details, and gave myself permission to add and subtract whatever I pleased.
Using my reference photos as a rough guide, I did a pencil drawing to rough in the basic shapes then drew my images with my trusty Pitt Artist's pen (size S).
|Step 1 - Line drawing|
Next I painted the skies using a #8 Escoda Versatil round brush. I got a set of these brushes from Cheap Joe's, and I'm really enjoying them. They come to a good point, hold plenty of water, and have a nice spring to them that I like.
|Step 2 - Paint the skies|
I used Cobalt Blue for the skies on the top right and lower left and Cerulean Blue for the other two.
In step three I painted on some dabs of masking fluid where I wanted to indicate flowers on some of the bushes and vines later. The first washes were splashed on the foliage next using Sap Green, American Journey Earthen Green (a new favorite!), Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, and American Journey Shadow (another new favorite - it's a delicious deep blue-purple).
|Step 3 - Begin painting the greens. Add masking to flower blossoms.|
The Stillman and Birn Zeta paper has a slick finish, and the paint sits on the surface rather than soaking in. This allows the paint to mingle and flow, creating interesting colors and textures as it dries. I used that quality to my advantage by painting much of the foliage wet-in-wet. Sometimes I put down a basic green, like Sap Green, then dropped in some Cobalt Blue to indicate a shadowy area in the trees. Other times I painted on a Yellow Ochre base, then touched in some Earthen Green or Cobalt Blue, or I started with a Sap Green base and added AJ Shadow to make a really rich dark area.
Now that I had gotten some of the basic background painting out of the way, it was time to have some real fun with color in step four. I stayed fairly true to the actual house colors in my reference photos. Yes, the cottages were actually that adorable!
|Step 4 - Paint base washes on everything else using light to medium values.|
I continued working all over the sketch, filling in areas that still needed color.
|Step 5 - Keep adding light & medium values|
In step six, I began painting shadows where they were needed on the cottages, yards, trees, fences, sculptures, etc. The masking fluid was removed and the flowers were painted. The sign post came next. I painted the background color on the signs with watercolor, but used a variety of brushes and pens for the lettering. Some shop names were done with a small round brush and watercolor. For others I used a Pitt pen or a Platinum Preppy fountain pen filled with colored ink.
|Step 6 - Paint shadows and signs|
I decided the border lines around the four cottage sketches needed a little beefing up, so I added another black line with my Pitt Artist's pen. In step seven I filled in the double line with watercolor. I chose a color from each sketch that would complement it, keeping to the cool side of the color wheel to provide a little bit of continuity in this sketch that contains a whole rainbow of colors.
|Step 7 - Add color to sketch borders|
And finally, the lettering... I had sketched it in pencil at the very beginning, but had to resize it a bit when I added the double line border around the cottage sketches. I used my Platinum Preppy fountain pen filled with a pink Platinum ink cartridge to draw the lettering and fill it with color. (Check out this set of Platinum Preppy fountain pens I bought on Amazon. The ink is water-soluble, so you can't put paint over them, but I've found plenty of uses for them. They're great to draw with or to use when adding lettering to a finished watercolor.)
|Step 7 - Add lettering|
The sketch was finished, but it needed one final touch. I used my white Signo Uniball gel pen to add a narrow white line around the signs and separate them from the background.
|Step 8 - Add a white outline to the signs|
It's a wild and crazy sketch, but I had so much fun doing it.
It felt very freeing to get away from the fussiness that seems to inhabit a lot of my sketches. I didn't worry about perspective or proportions or accuracy. I was BOLD!
|Definitely no accuracy going on here :)|
I pushed the colors and added a trellis to a blank wall.
I put up curtains and left out ugly brown gravel. I turned grey concrete to pink.
I played! And isn't that what sketching is supposed to be about? Give it a try - you don't have to be an expert at drawing or painting. Just have fun being creative. Have no expectations other than to experience the joy of creating something with line and color where there once was only a blank page. Sometimes I'm just amazed at what appears on the page - we're magicians!