Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Northampton Town in Pen

Though very much an art novice, I have to confess to being extremely pleased with the way my Water Mill pen drawing turned out. So much so that I have decided I'd like to try something more ambitious. Even if it turns out quite poor I hope to learn a lot from the experience. I've also decided to show the drawing as work-in-progress so that any more experienced artists can toss in any words of advice as I go along.

I am showing the main reference photo so we can all see what I'm aiming at however, I will be drawing the Market Stalls across the bottom right corner which is more in keeping with their present deployment. They also have more colourful striped canvases which will be easier to depict than the drab plain blue canvases in the photo.

My basic plan is to draw a grid to help get the proportions and perspectives as accurate as possible and then lightly pencil in the main shapes and structures. Then I will ink over those and erase all pencil marks. I will then pass over the drawing adding in detail and finally review the picture for tonal values. I learned from the Water Mill drawing that a lot of detail involving a lot of lines creates dark tones naturally. I can't judge at the moment which parts of my drawing will need extra shading and which won't, so I'll leave that till last. I've chosen a Medium Surface Cartridge paper, 130 gsm and size A3. I've never used this paper with pen before but a small test on a scrap of the paper caused me to think it should be ok. I will be using a selection of fine point pens of different thicknesses.

In my forum I'm running this as a Work-in-Progress and we started right back at choosing the reference photo to work from. I'm posting my thoughts at each step and the full process from beginning to end will be documented. However, in this blog I will simply leave it at this one post, but the picture will be updated at each stage so if you wish to see it developing pop back frequently and I'll try and have an updated picture for you to see. If you want to follow it more closely, you can see my forum thread here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


This is a pencil portrait of 'Rosie', a German Shepherd owned by a friend of ours. I drew Rosie when she was a puppy but the only reference photo I had was of her looking into the bright sun with a very significant squint. I considered drawing her eyes open but they are so important that, without some reference, I was worried it wouldn't look like her.

Now she is a teenager. It's interesting drawing her without the fluffiness she had as a pup. Regrettably, the best photo of her had closed eyes again, but this time I had other photo's with eyes open that I could refer to.

I was in the process of scanning the image when my friend arrived. We were talking as the scanned image of Rosie scrolled down my monitor. My friends face was worth it's weight in gold because I could see for myself that she'd recognised Rosie straight off.