Friday, January 4, 2019

Hotel del Coronado Sketch - Opinions, Please!

Whew! The holidays are over and the January lull has arrived. Don't you love it? I really enjoy this quiet time of year, when there's not usually much going on, and I have time to catch up on some of those projects that have been put on the back burner for awhile. I haven't been blogging, teaching or posting anything art-related lately, just taking a breather, finishing up some travel journal sketches that have been languishing for a year or more, and completing the last sketch from my California trip in November....

Softcover 5.5" x 8.5" Stillman and Birn Zeta series sketchbook

I thought you might enjoy seeing a step-by-step tutorial on this one, and I'd like you to help me finish the lettering on it. Are you game? I have a cool new idea for testing colors on a sketch, and I think you'll LOVE it! But before I get to that, how about if I show you the step-by-step process I used to design, draw, and paint it?

(If you don't care to follow along with the tutorial, skip to the end of the post to see my lettering challenge and question for you.)

I started out by roughing in the sketch with a pencil to get everything in place on the page, then the lines were inked with a Sailor Fude pen. (I was working from reference photos I had taken the day my friend, Karen, and I splurged on lunch at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego when I was visiting.)

I wanted the architecture of the hotel to dominate the page, so I made the beautiful building big and bold, filling at least two-thirds of the page with it. A tall, skinny palm tree frames it on the left.

A Sailor Fude fountain pen filled with DeAtramentis black ink was used for the drawing.

The fruity drinks we enjoyed at lunch were so pretty and colorful, I just had to include them in the sketch. The shape of the martini glass was an inverse of the hotel's roof, so I tucked it in right next to the hotel. The other drink, in a tall tumbler, filled the corner nicely and framed the composition on the right.

See the ink smear on the rim of the martini glass? I fixed it later by covering it with Dr. Ph. Martin's Pen-White Ink.

A simple frame set off the ice cream sundae from the rest of the page and kept it from feeling like it was a giant ice cream-shaped balloon floating in the sky over the hotel.


The lettering style I used for the page title was copied from the distinctive lettering found on almost everything at the Hotel del Coronado, from the sugar packets and coasters on our table to the grand sign at the hotel entrance. I sketched it in by hand with a pencil and waited until later to ink and paint it.


Time to start painting! First, the sky. I mixed up a large puddle of Manganese Blue on my palette then wet the sky area with clear water. Wetting the paper first gave me a longer working time as I cut in around the building and tree with my loaded brush. I used a size 10 round Escoda Versatil, which holds plenty of paint, so I could cover the entire sky quickly and avoid streaky brushstrokes.


While I had the blue on my brush, I painted sky reflections in the upper windows of the hotel and in the glasses.

Next, I tackled the roof, starting by mixing up a generous puddle of Quinacridone Sienna + Quinacridone Magenta. Then a deeper, darker version of the color was made by adding some Ultramarine Blue to a second puddle of Quin. Sienna & Quin. Magenta. To paint each section, I started with the dark mixture on the shadow side, gradually switched to the pure mixture, and finally ended with a diluted mixture on the lightest sunlit areas. (It's important to keep the wetness consistent as you move across an area. If you flood paint into a drying wash, it will create a bloom.)


The vegetation was added next. Colors used:
Tree trunk - Yellow Ochre + Getz Gray (American Journey)
Palm fronds & bushes - Yellow Ochre + Sap Green + Ultramarine Blue (for darker areas). Leaf Green was added in the foreground to make it pop.
Spiky foreground plants - Cerulean Blue + Sap Green + Quin. Sienna



I always try to get as much value variation as I can in my initial wash by dropping dark colors into a wet light-value wash to indicate shaded areas.


Time to add shadows! Cobalt Blue with a touch of American Journey Shadow gave me a nice deep bluish purple mixture that I used for the form shadows on the building.


A bit of Naples Yellow was dropped in on the left side to suggest reflected light, then I painted the shadows cast by the dormers, and the deep shadows inside the window frames. They really make the windows look three-dimensional.


On my reference photo, the lower windows, just above the green hedge, were solid black, but I suggested indistinct shapes there by dropping rusty red and Burnt Umber into my shadow color.

While the shadows were drying, I laid down the base washes on the drinks. The martini was painted with New Gamboge + Carmine Red in a graded, blended wash. For the tall drink I used Carmine + Ultramarine Blue + Permanent Rose. Colored reflections were brushed onto the glass while the washes were drying, then I glazed (layered) on a darker value to the peach and raspberry drinks to deepen the colors in the shadows.



So far, so good! Next, I began painting the ice cream sundae. (Yes, I splurged on a sundae, but I had no idea it was going to have THREE scoops of ice cream!) A base wash was painted on the ice cream and blue-gray shadows were stroked on to suggest the swirls of whipped cream.


The chocolate chunk topping and the dark brown penuche under the whipped cream were painted, then I dabbed some texture marks on the ice cream with the tip of my round brush.


The sketches were finished, except for a few final touches. Now it was time to add the lettering. I like to wait until the end to finalize my page titles, so I can coordinate the colors with my sketches and make a cohesive page.


I always debate long and hard about what color to use for the title lettering on a sketch. The color can have a huge impact on the look and feel of a page. I've found a great product, though, that really helps me to envision what a color will look like on my sketch. It helps to take the guess work out of the process. The product is Dura-Lar Wet Media Film, a clear plastic sheet that can be laid over the sketch and painted on. Just wipe the paint off with a damp paper towel when you're finished and reuse the sheet.


So, for my Hotel del Coronado sketch, I chose several colors from the sketch and painted each one individually (and rather messily, in this case) on the Dura-Lar sheet laid over my sketch. Here's the first option showing how the title might look if I painted it a rusty red, similar to the terra cotta roof color...



 Or how about if I made it the deep purple shadow color?


Or maybe I should pick up the color of the peachy drink...


Or I could link the title to the green foliage by painting it Olive Green.


They all give the sketch a different look, don't they? I'm having trouble deciding which one I want to use, so I'd love to have your input.

What color should I paint the title,
and why?
Leave your answer in the comments.
Thanks!

39 comments:

  1. ALWAYS appreciate your step by steps -- and this is glorious!! Thank you -- I love the blue ... sets off the sky and bounces the red/orange of the hotel ...

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  2. Love these step by step tutorials as I am new to watercolor and it really helps to see the process. My humble opinion: I vote for the peachy color as it picks up the drink and the umbrella colors and also the undertones in the red roof making the eye travel around the painting.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Barb. I was surprised how the peach brightened the page. Still haven't decided though.....

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  3. Lovely tutorial. I vote for green or purple. Love how the different colors for the printing make such a difference. I had not expected it to be so important.

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    1. That's why the Duralar is invaluable. It's so nice to be able to picture what each color will look like without committing to it.

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  4. I'd pick up that lovely sky color... which wasn't a choice, but it is what I'd do if I ever managed such a beautiful page.

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    1. I just might have to do another overlay and try that, Elaine!

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  5. I vote for the deep purple. It seems to make the rest of the painting pop.

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    1. And it makes a nice, dark frame for the page. Hmmm, still thinking.....

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  6. Lovely sketch Leslie. I prefer the green lettering as it continues the framing and does not distract from the beautiful sketch of a wonderful day spent at the Del (I live in San Diego and have sketched it and it is not easy)

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    1. Yes, it does frame it nicely. I didn't think I would like the green, because it's so match-y with the foliage, but it works!

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  7. I agree with Barb. I much prefer the peachy color. She really puts all the other colors in value

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  8. Love this post. Thank you for sharing the how to....
    I'm not good at decision making but if I wanted the title to stand out I would use the red. I think I prefer to lose the title, painting it green, so that the beautiful building takes centre stage

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  9. Great article as usual. Personally I love the red title as it catches the eye and balances the picture, however, I also love the green title because it seems to continue the grassyness (is that a word) and adds more weight. The whole layout is beautifully done. Thanks you for sharing with us.

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    1. You're welcome, Terri. The red was my first impulse, because of the way it echoes the color of the roof, but now I'm not sure.

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  10. The deep purple lettering keeps my eyes seeing the richness as one unit on your page. It compliments the ice cream spoon, color of drinks and hotel building. Thx so much for sharing your process of how you layout your page. I just love how you think things through and enjoy what you are doing on each spread.

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    1. Thanks for giving me your input. I think I'm leaning toward the purple right now. I need to just make a decision and DO IT! My readers' opinions are pretty evenly split, it seems.

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  11. Thanks for the great tutorial. I like the shadow color for the lettering, only a little more neutral so it doesn’t fight with the rest of the piece. Beautiful!

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  12. Phenomenal sketch! Thank you for this step by step - I loved seeing the colours gradually bring it to life. I vote for the red letters (first sample) because I went WOW when I saw it - then I scrolled down to the other choices, but came back to the red, as it seems to give more weight to the bottom and coordinates so nicely with the tall drink.

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  13. What an interesting question and one that really got me studying the pictures. Hmmm. The red was bold but I didn’t care for it with the colour of the roof. I didn’t care for the purple, too intense for me this morning, lol! The peach was ok but seemed too weak to do the job of doing the foundation of the painting. And the green disappeared being so close to the shrubbery.
    Ok smarty pants! what would you choose?
    I thought maybe I’d try the window blue in the far right bottom window. It might pull out the blue in the flag....straw...emphasize some of your beautiful shadowing...course I’m probably just being contrary! What a neat exercise! What a great idea for a product.

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    1. I really should have tried a blue overlay. I think I'll do that before I make my final decision. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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  14. Good morning!
    I have been to The Del Coronado many times, because my parents live not too far and when we celebrate Christmas with them, my husband and I will take a side trip and celebrate our anniversary on the island. It’s especially beautiful at Christmas, but anytime is fun to wander the grounds...and eat ice cream, I guess! Personally I like your purple. I felt it framed the picture and brought back some of the shadow color nicely. Always a lot of work to show step by step-thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Christine. Glad you enjoyed the tutorial.

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  15. Beautiful rendering, thank you for sharing your process! Question: did you ink before or after the watercolor? I like the peachy color for the lettering. Hotel del Coronado is one of my favorite places!
    Jenna

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    1. I always do a pencil sketch, then ink it, then put on the paint. Applying paint over the ink lines helps them to blend in. I don't want them to appear too bold.

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  16. Purple. It sits quietly regal in the foreground, announcing itself yet not overtaking it's own physical beauty.
    That said - Beautiful job whatever color you chose.

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  17. Great tutorial Leslie. I would go with the reddish color because it helps the viewer’s eye travel all throughout the sketch: from the lettering to the tall glass, to the ice cream spoon, to the roof, and then back down to the lettering. It keeps you moving and looking. It also makes a nice strong foundation for the entire sketch.

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  18. I choose the green, as it does blend with the greenery; visible without being harsh.

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  19. Peach like the drink! (3rd option) This is beautiful as usual, Leslie. I'm amazed at your talent1

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  20. Thank you for the tutorial! I love your page designs and lettering. The color that I am drawn to and seems to pop is the purple shadow color. The purple one just really makes the building stand out to me. None of them are bad choices! No matter what you choose it will be beautiful!

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  21. Another vote for the peachy drink color. I think it nicely echoes and enhances the warms in the roof, umbrellas and drink. To me the overall feeling of this image is warmths, with the blues/greens as touches of cool. Regards, Beth, Calif.

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  22. I like the peachy drink color. It is warm, inviting. soothing, enhances the colors above and to the right. I so enjoy following your blog.

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  23. Hi Leslie. I like the rusty red. I think the green is too close to the grass and doesn't pop. The peach is too light unless you outline it and put a shadow on it and the deep purple just doesn't do anything for the picture.

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  24. Catching the article late. I find it fascinating the different choices and why. It shows the wonderful variety that flows from artistic decisions. Personally, I would use the red. Although all the artistic reasons exist, it’s about the feeling of the Hotel Del. It’s all about the roof! And, it’s delightful red color. This being said, artistically Iwas drawn to the purple/blue. Honestly, any of the choices would make a delightful page.

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