On my last blog post I shared the news that I would be working on some paintings for a new project: the cover for a gift calendar filled with the fabulous products of traders at the Cotyledon Markets. I was excited to get started and had made a study to help me see the proportions and details.
From there I needed to scale up the drawing and plan for the watercolour painting on the stretched watercolour paper. If you haven’t come across this, it’s how you prepare the paper on your board ready to paint onto. You wet the paper that you will be using and while it’s still wet, use wetted gummed brown paper tape to stick down the paper to the board along the edges. As the water, paper and tape dry, the paper fibres will stretch so that when you work on top with watercolour paints the paper does not ripple.
To make sure I had the proportions of the building correct in my slightly scaled up drawing, I used a grid to help me plan. With a bit of whizzy maths, I worked out the best framing according to the dimensions on my extended drawing and made a grid of 8 x 4 over the top of it. I then very carefully measured and drew a scaled up grid of the same dimensions on my watercolour paper. I used a 2H pencil for this so that my lines would be very light and easy to erase later.
Now I could start to draw out the plan for the final painting. I used the grid to make sure I was positioning some of the main features correctly and made some tentative first marks as I began to make decisions. At this point I switched to a 2B sketching pencil. There was lots of rubbing out and redrawing as I wanted the lines to be light and delicate so as not to overshadow the watercolour but also precise for an architectural piece. As more features were added it became easier to place new features. These beautiful buildings have lots of angles and perspective, particularly in the triangular forms of the conservatory rooves and I’m very glad I had the grid to help me see where things were in relation to each other. You’ll notice in the photos that I also use a piece of paper under my hand as I draw to stop the men I’ll marks from smudging and dirtying the paper.
I documented the whole drawing process with photos to show how a drawing like this develops. Next I’ll be laying down some washes before building up the colour and adding details. I document that process with photos too so check back to see how it goes. If you sign up to my newsletter you will get notifications when I update my blog with new posts :)