Buildings Architecture

Simplifying details

You can easily simplify the buildings you draw if there are too many extraneous details, or omit unsightly objects such as parked cars. Such details can look too prominent and may compete unnecessarily with the architectural design.

Tihe great advantage of drawing buildings is that they are permanent and stationary, so you can take your time to study the subject. Perspective is one of the most important elements to grasp if you want to draw a convincing architectural study; how an object with regular sides appears to diminish towards a vanishing point and so create a feeling of recession. It is also vital to get proportions right so that the space occupied by windows and doors is in relation to the overall size of the building and the scale of any ornate or interesting features is exact. Modern buildings are usually quite regular in appearance, while older buildings such as cathedrals are likely to be more ornate and will adhere to classical rules of proportion. Look out for the changing effects of light on architecture as it can create interesting patterns of highlights and shadows, and try to describe a variety of textural surfaces to enliven your drawing.

Pen and ink

Pen and ink is the most suitable medium to use for drawing buildings as you can exploit the fine lines it gives to capture busy scenes or small details.

Picking the right location

Once you have chosen an interesting building to draw, pick a quiet spot where you can easily view the whole structure -preferably at an angle so that you can draw more than one side of the building and give a greater sense of solidity. The eye level from which you view it is also worth thinking about, especially if you want to emphasize the height of an imposing building.

< Mix up a pale brown wash of watercolour and apply it liberally over the drawing with a large sable brush to suggest the general tones of the building. Mix a deeper wash for areas with the darkest shadows such as the overhanging trees to the left and the inside of the archway.

1a, Draw the basic structure of ..his building as a series of simple geometric shapes with a pencil on smooth Ingres paper; handmade paper would be too rough and uneven when you start using pen and ink. The building is slightly curved, so look for the way the light accentuates these different angles.

buildings & architecture

3 When the wash of colour has dried, use a small sable brush to depict the textures and details of the building with a darker brown, describing the brickwork and the wooden slats of the window shutters with gentle dabs of colour. Sable brushes, with their finely tapered points and ability to retain paint, allow you to draw far more precisely than other types of brush.

For the finest details, use a brown sepia ink and a dip pen with a steel nib. Draw in the ornate wrought ironwork of the balcony carefully, trying not to put too much pressure on the nib - any heavy lines will detract from the delicate quality of the pen work.

5 Finally, emphasize any details that need to be made more prominent with the dip pen and sepia ink. The colour of this ink serves to enhance rather than detract from the brown watercolour wash. Remember to select only those details that interest you or heighten the characteristic design of the building.

Size 3 sable brush

Materials

4B pencil

Size tO sable brush

Challah Plate

Unnecessary details have been excluded or generalized.

The very tip of the sable brush has been used to suggest textures such as the brickwork and the wooden shutters.

James Horton

Areas of light and shade help to increase the sense of perspective and enliven the drawing.

Unnecessary details have been excluded or generalized.

Tuscan Town House

V A combination of pen and ink and watercolour wash on smooth paper turn this drawing into an attractive, detailed study. The artist has drawn the structure of the building accurately, noting the proportions of individual features and achieving a strong sense of perspective while ignoring details such as the TV aerial on the roof and the parked cars in front. This helps to give the drawing a timeless quality.

Materials

4B pencil

The very tip of the sable brush has been used to suggest textures such as the brickwork and the wooden shutters.

James Horton

Areas of light and shade help to increase the sense of perspective and enliven the drawing.

Size tO sable brush

Size 3 sable brush

Interiors & Exteriors

The most modest interior or garden can provide plenty of inspiration for an artist, particularly if the scene is familiar. The advantage of working in such immediate surroundings is that you can look for unusual shapes and interesting spatial relationships in simple objects such as chairs or tables. Combining an interior scene with an exterior view beyond can add an extra dimension to a work and prove a great challenge, particularly in terms of describing the contrasting quality of light inside and out. Select the amount of information you draw in each area to give a balanced composition.

The changing quality of light

The natural light that permeates interiors has a very different quality to that of light outdoors. A variety of suffused rays and deeper tones give interiors a mellow, quiet atmosphere that provides an effective visual contrast with the strong, even light of outside.

! f 1 vivid colours of the ji view outside and the i; cool, muted tones of the interior. Sketch i the scene in charcoal f; on mid-toned brown j f Ingres paper and then j apply pale pastel tones j to the tablecloth.

> Contrast the pale ¿m. pastels with deep purple and black on the door frame, using a hatching technique. The fine lines of colour should appear to blend together optically.

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