For this exercise I was to make a limited palette study from the sketches in my previous exercise ‘a Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings‘ in 2-3 colours. I used a chocolate pastel pencil, sanguine and black Conté pencils and a Derwent Chinese White drawing pencil.
I had already done a pencil sketch of my school in the last exercise as well as a drawing of the same school in colour pencil and knowing that it would work for this exercise I decided to develop those sketches into a larger drawing with a limited palette.
I followed the instructions of this exercise, drawing in the strongest verticals first, which were the corners of the main school building. From there I drew in the diagonals which were the many roofs of the school building and most of everything else.
Drawing in the detail was quite easy simply because I got the verticals and diagonal lines right the first time but if not then drawing in the windows, roof beams etc. could have been a disaster.
The colours that I chose for this exercise went very well together and so the roll of each colour i.e. light, dark and mid-tone swapped over in different parts of the picture with the most prominent colours being the Sanguine and the Black Conté simply because they helped me depict how bright and fresh the day was.
The chocolate colour pastel pencil was mainly used for shadow along with the black Conté at minimum pressure. The Chinese white was grade for toning down the Conté and also adding 3D properties to the tiled roofs.
I have to be honest and say I love the finished study which does remind me of some drawing from an history lesson at school.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.