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Start with the outline. The colour could be ultramarine but a fairly watery mix. Then define all the blocks of architecture and the line of the base of the buildings where they meet the water. Indicate their reflections in the canal. Keep it all relatively simple, only putting in a few of the most obvious features. You will end up with a drawing as shown, which gives you quite enough information to start on the next stage.

2 Now you can do the sky.

Use a size 7 brush with a good point. Turn the outline drawing upside down, resting it on a sloping board or desk. This helps you to flood the watercolour on easily and, after each stroke, the colour runs down to the place where you will make your next one. Start carefully, putting in the sky along the lines of the rooftops, allowing the watery colour to run down towards what will be the top of the paper. As the colour washes down towards the edge of the paper it gathers more of the pigment so that when you have finished, the strongest part of the colour is nearer the edge of the paper.

Now reverse the process. This time you will be doing the water of the canal, so mix up a good deep blue with a slightly green tinge to it. Start at the point where the base of the buildings meet the water; you won't have much trouble getting nice smooth horizontal strokes of colour across the paper. As the watercolour floods down to the bottom edge of the picture, be aware that the colour will again be stronger towards the bottom edge.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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