Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Bull Theydon Bois Print

Theydon Bois is a little village right on the fringes of Epping Forest - a former Royal forest. The Bull has long stood as a public house, and here my pen and marker drawing pictures it in the winter snow.

Theydon Bois Bull
The Bull, Theydon Bois

Buy print
The Bull ,Theydon Bois, Essex.
Hand signed A4 Print of pen and marker sketch on Bockingford 190gsm watercolour paper £14.99
© Robert R Wisdom 2013  

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sketch of The Sail Lofts, Tollesbury

I sketched these Grade II listed Sail Lofts in Woodrolfe Road whilst visiting Tollesbury in Essex. They are hard to miss as you approach the marina along Woodrolfe Road, and have a charm all of their own. I should imagine it would keep an exterior painter very busy during a lifetime (as well as a carpenter), but what a lovely nest of lofts they are.

Tollesbury Parish Council's website tells us that the "Tollesbury Sail Lofts were built c.1900 to serve the local fishing fleet and probably the great J class yachts which were owned by wealthy Edwardians and skippered around the Mediterranean by men from Tollesbury. The most well known of these yachts, 'Flying' was entered by Tommy Sopwith in the Americas Cup."

Sail Lofts at Tollesbury
Tollesbury Sail Lofts

Buy pencil sketch print or original
Original sketch of Sale Lofts, Tollesbury, Essex  
Hand signed A4 Print of pencil sketch on 90lb watercolour paper £14.99
Original 13.5" x 10" pencil sketch on 140lb watercolour paper £55
© All illustrations Robert R Wisdom 2012   

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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

How to Draw lesson - Buildings

I thought it would be interesting to show how to draw the various stages of an illustration using a mixture of dip pen, indian ink and watercolour. I have chosen this drawing of St. Paul's Cathedral in the heart of London for the How to draw lesson.

How to draw lesson stage 1

Composition is all important - consider a focal point and use diagonal lines of interest to almost subliminally point towards them. These can quite naturally happen in most scenes if you stand in the right place, so have a good walk around and consider adding furrows, branches and clouds that gently bring the eye to the most interesting part of your composition. Using a little more detail in these focal areas can have the same effect. Be 'loose' where you don't wish the viewer to settle their gaze.

How to mark out your drawing
I meticulously pencil out all the keylines of the drawing in soft graphite pencil on heavy watercolour paper.  This type of paper will resist the cockling effect of water painted onto its surface. Use a soft pencil and don not press too hard. Don't be afraid to use a rubber if you get the wrong outlines - this is quite normal. Tidy up any stray lines with a putty rubber - this type of rubber is expensive but they last forever and don't leave tiny pieces or polish the paper like a traditional rubber.

How to draw Pencil Drawing
How to draw stage 1: Sketch out in pencil

How to draw lesson stage 2:

Work out where your lightest points will be. Masking fluid (rather like weak Copydex) helps to keep any white areas away from the colour wash so apply fluid. I the picture below you might just see the slightly yellow fluid where my points of white will be. You can freely paint straight over the dry fluid, and very easily rub off at the end.

I use diluted Indian ink to capture all tonal differences of drawing and start to bring it to life. Test out the tone on a spare piece of paper before placing your colour on your painting, although you do have a few seconds where you can rescue fresh paint with a dry piece of tissue if a disaster happens.

How to paint sky
This sky starts as pure water on the paper to make the clear sky ready to accept tone. I introduce ink and let it bleed and diffuse just like the real sky starting from the top which is darker. The ink needs help to reach the horizon which can be done with a weak or dry brush. I turn the picture 180˚ and tilt slightly so any ink bleeds skywards so you have the heavier tone at the top of the painting. Whilst still wet and fresh, the sky can be lifted off by using soft tissue which reveals the white paper again to ease in fluffy white clouds.

Let each tone of paint dry between stages, you can use a hair dryer to speed this process up. If you apply new tone to a damp part of the painting you can create interesting cauliflower-like blooms, but practice this first to see how different dampnesses react to fresh ink.

Dragging a nearly dry brush at a very tilted angle across the texture paper produces another pleasing effect, but again practice will make perfect. You can see this technique at the foot of my drawing.

How to paint light and shade
Do consider where the sun is in the sky and where it bathes surfaces. The correct placement of shadows are essential to give the three dimensional realism. I tend to cautiously add more and more tone for shadows, as it's OK to tone darker in stages allowing the previous wash to dry. What's difficult to recover from is if you over-do first time round.

Strangely enough you can rub out pencil lines through the ink at the end, but I think seeing the skeleton of pencil lines adds to the flow of the painting. If you rub hard in the same place with the rubber you can start to lift off the ink, which can be used for effect.

Pen and ink wash
Stage 2: Apply indian ink wash / watercolour

How to draw lesson stage 3: 

How to add depth to your painting
I use pen to outline all the key elements of St Paul's Cathedral and pencil for the far distance to give things a sense of depth. Lines in the distance should be finer and lighter to have a sense of regression. This means the foreground is likely to use dark bolder lines than the distance.

Pen drawing
Stage 3: Apply pen work

How to draw lesson stage 4: 

I flick ink to suggest foliage or pick out the texture of the paper with the side of a soft black pencil letting the paper texture assist. The masking fluid can be rubbed off to real brilliant white either at the end to reveal pure white, or earlier and a light wash applied over the white areas to tint back a little.
If you wish, white highlights not already revealed or missed with masking fluid can be added with process white.

How to Paint trees
Trees are best drawn with a pencil from the ground upwards. Always mimic the way foliage grows. If using pencil start with a firmer broader line and gently ease the pressure as you get to the tip of a branch. Dab leaves on but hold the brush at the angle in which leaves sprout from branches.

How to draw buildings
On building surfaces and the ground always consider the texture of what you are drawing and always drag the paint across the surface in the same plane. If the brush dries during a long stroke it can actually look better than a constant wash - experiment!

The final result should all pull together. I often walk away and revisit it a hour later and see if anything obvious improvements can be made - does the focal point need strengthening? Do the shadow areas suggest bright sunlight or an overcast light? All these finer points can be addresses at this point.

St Pauls Cathedral drawing

How to draw time lapse movie

Many of the lesson's stages are shown in this time lapse movie of how to draw Buckingham Palace in London.

 The finished framed print
Please Choose Illustration

Original Illustration of St Pauls Cathedral, LONDON
Hand signed A4 Print of pen and marker sketch on 90lb watercolour paper £14.99
Original 12" x 9" pen, ink and watercolour on 140lb watercolour paper £195
© All illustrations Robert R Wisdom 2012  

London Illustration
St Paul's Cathedral, London

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Map of my sketches in England

Here is a handy map to see where I have been recently with my sketchbook.You can click on the blue flags to see my pictures and write-ups.

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