A Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings

10 cm Squares Tonal and Detail Drawings with 3B and Colour Pencils

With the threat of protests shutting the roads down around my school I had to move quickly with this exercise. I decided to use the square sketchbook that I had purchased from the school suppliers especially for the last exercise ‘Study of a Townscape Using Line‘ which I completed in drawing pen.

The sketchbook wouldn’t have been my first choice for pencil sketches as the paper is very smooth with no tooth at all but as part of the learning process I decided to go with it to see what results I would get putting drawing pencil to paper.

For this exercise the brief told us to, ‘carefully select a viewpoint that gives you somewhere to sit comfortably while you are sketching and making notes. Focus on one particular building, for example a corner site or a building facade, and notice how the other buildings support your main focus.

It was 9 a.m. and one of the coolest mornings we had experienced in Bangkok for a long time, probably the first  morning of the cold season and at 18 degrees it was really quite cold for Bangkok. There were activities in the morning so I took my camera with me to school so I could take some photos of the buildings around the school at what is the best time of the day. From 9-11 the buildings and roads around the school are saturated with the shadows of the trees around the temple. On this fresh morning the area reminded me of a road close to my house in Wakefield, which made me quite home sick as I’ve only been back once in 14 years..

After taking some photos that I could use for reference later I took a chair out to settle down and make some sketches. My first sketch was of my school itself, which is a temple school and therefore built in the same style as a temple and with its external roof beams it looks similar to a building from the middle ages, when viewed at certain angles

1 - Sketch of School in H pencil w notes
1 – Sketch of School in H pencil w notes

I chose an angle that captured the best part of the school with its tiled roofs sloping in different directions, framed by trees at either side and an old apartment block to the back. I didn’t take the drawing all the way to the road as at this stage I thought I woulds be spending more time drawing around the corner.

Sketch of Temple Gates in H Pencil w Notes
Sketch of Temple Gates in H Pencil w Notes

There are plenty of opportunities to make sketches that capture the contrast between old and new within a stone throw of the school grounds. My next sketch was of the temple wall, including two of the temple’s gates and part of the Prathom (secondary) school opposite the primary school where I work.

Sketch of Ginnel in H Pencil w Notes
Sketch of Ginnel in H Pencil w Notes

From there I made a sketch of the ginnel at the side of the school with the shop on the corner. I left out a lot of detail in this drawing while still trying to include the most important parts, which was a real lesson that helped with the next few sketches.

By now I was beginning to find my feet around the area and I had worked my way round to the back of a group of shops that really caught my attention when taking the photos unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to continue outside so the next few sketches were done at home.

Back of the Shops in H Pencil w Notes
Back of the Shops in H Pencil w Notes

It’s amazing how far I am into this course and yet I’m still having problems fitting the subject on the canvas but then again drawing the buildings here that have been built then added onto year after year, are made up of lots of irregular shapes and are definitely not that easy to draw.

10 cm Squares Tonal and Detail Drawings with 3B and Colour Pencils
10 cm Squares Tonal and Detail Drawings with 3B and Colour Pencils

The brief for this exercise also instructed me to make a 10 cm drawing of a detailed part of the building and then another 10 cm tonal drawing depicting how the light falls across the building. I found it difficult to draw detail without drawing the shadows on the building and so I did two 3B pencil drawings and 2 coloured pencil drawings showing both. The drawings turned out rather like a comic strip.

Back of the Shops in 3B Pencil and Dry Watercolour Pencils
Back of the Shops in 3B Pencil and Dry Watercolour Pencils

I have never liked the waxy feel of the Derwent colour pencils and so the next sketch was done 3B and dry water colour pencils. I really thought that this would be the sketch that I would use for the next exercise but when I finished it I wasn’t that satisfied that I could do that good a job with a limited palette and so did another drawing of the school this time in 3B and colour pencil.

Section of School in 3B and Dry Watercolour Pencils
Section of School in 3B and Dry Watercolour Pencils

I loved working on this which was a lot easier to draw than the very awkward shapes in the last drawing, which is why the final sketch looks a lot stronger and so i thought it was an ideal piece to reproduce in a limited palette for the next exercise.

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