Thursday, September 5, 2013

Watercolor painting of a village on a hill with a bridge at sunrise: Process

I really enjoy drawing little Spanish-style houses on hills with trees and bridges. Here's a watercolor I did tonight, with some process photos. First I drew a rough grid with pencil on a piece of Bristol paper (rather thick and smooth, I find it's great for watercolor and the smooth surface works well for my Sharpie pen finishing details):
Then I drew lines for a bridge at the bottom of the page and a hill and tower at the top of the page:
Next I picked a perspective point off to the left of the tower and drew lines coming out on this side of the bridge to guide me later in the light/shadow of the water reference to the bridge. And I added in buildings and foliage, roughly following the lines on the grid for building placement:
Then I erased most of the grid lines and added a bit of detail on the roof of some of the buildings and brickwork on the bridge:
I got out my watercolor paints and brushes and filled a big Mason jar with water. I have a pan of Lefranc & Bourgeois paints that I love because of how the colors dry fairly well-blended. The white is completely gone and so is the bright yellow. I can't find a replacement anywhere and the tube paints that I use, while vibrant in color, do not dry the same. I've tried two other pan-style watercolor sets and I haven't been pleased at all with the consistency of the paint after it dries.
I started with the sky and did a nice wash for a colorful sunrise with the lightest part (white) being at the perspective point on the left side of the page. I added in some color on the buildings and bridge:
Next I worked on the buildings and started on the foliage:
I worked on the foliage in the village and added color to the bridge. I started on the water, which I always find particularly challenging.
Then I worked on the hill behind the tower - I didn't extend the bridge or the village beyond the grid but filled in the sides with the color of the hill - I'll just crop the final image.
Next I finished off the coloring, including a village center (light gray) or courtyard in the middle of the village.
Then I finished it off by adding in some black ink marks with a fine tip Sharpie marker, including adding detail to the bridge and some of the roofs. I detailed around the doors and windows and added a bit of detail (tree branches) to the foliage: