I am now going to look at the first of the foreground buildings, the one on the left with the black roof tiles and fascia.

A technique we will use a lot here is the one for getting believable tiled roofs in perspective, and this also apples to any structural element which is in rows - bricks are an obvious other case.   For now we will just look at the technique and then how to apply it to the dark fascia above the window line where there are rows of vertical tiling or possibly painted wooden ship-lap.

To practice this, I suggest that you sketch out a roof in perspective on some scrap paper.  There is an example below.

You will need a piece of round dowel to act as a ruler.  An alternative would be a round pencil, but it needs to be full length and I gave up trying to make a pencil work some years ago for this task, as the wood was often just too short.  

The ‘ruler’ I have is 9 inches long and .25 ins diameter, and has had a light sanding to ensure it is smooth.

You can use an ordinary ruler, but it isn’t as easy.

I have sketched out the roof here and have made appropriate marks half way down the sides with a light CP mark.  

I have then halved the marked distances again and made further marks, then again halved and halved again until the marks are about the right distances apart for the tiles.  You may not get the exact number of tile rows into the roofspace, but you will get them all the same distances apart at each end of the roof ( which is important )

and also in perspective ( which can be difficult ).  

As you get near to the ‘right’ measurement, you may decide to split the last measured spaces into 3 rather than 2 to get a believable row depth.

Remember that if the row edges are lighter than the tiled surface, you need to use a light grey CP pencil for your marks (and eventual lines).  If the visible tile edges are in shadow and the lines appear dark, then use a darker CP pencil for your marks and lines than the colour you will use for the tiled surface.  

That looks odd when typed, I hope it is clearer when read !  I may have to edit this bit again later !!!!!!!!

Page Five


Allerford 4

To summarize where we are up to:

The basic wash underpainting is complete, and we are now working on the block of trees in the centre background.  I want you to work this with a number of greens and one or two browns/ dark greys.  The colours I selected were from the Pablo box, but any selection of light and dark greens - even from different brands - will work well together.

Once we have a number of ‘scribble’ layers in place, there should be enough pigment on the paper to take a burnishing (a light even shading applied with increasing pressure - apply a second layer at 90 degrees to the first) which will blend those ‘scribbles’ together and make a more even coloured surface.

The step after burnishing is to apply more detail and more fine scribbles using the reference photo as a guide.

Remember that the sun in our photo is coming from the left hand side, so we see lighter areas on the tree tops and darker areas to the base of the trees on the right.  You will remember in the last illustration, I had burnished just a section on the left to show the difference between burnished and unburnished.  In the illustration below, I have continued that area of burnishing downwards but still left a line separating the left and right hand side.  You would not normally do this, It is only done in this case to show the step.  In normal working the pencil shading would be applied in blocks somewhat like the tree shapes to avoid any possibility of straight vertical or horizontal lines.

The application of colour may seem to be very rough and ready with many of the scribble lines visible.  Don’t worry about this, as layers are added, the whole lot merge into each other, and eventually, when the foreground is completed, the viewer will be concentrating elsewhere and simply take the background trees in as an area of woodland.

This is the overall view at this point (with more colour still to be added) and there are a couple of detail images shown below which may help you see the way the colour has been laid down

Unburnished area

Colour build up

Burnished area - added colour

Looking at another area of the picture, you may be able to see from this image (BELOW) how the additional dark tones are added to the burnished surface with a sharp point on your CP. In this case the colour was Charcoal Grey  - still not the Black, you will see.  The wider view below it gives an idea how the picture is developing.  

There is still work to do on those trees, as only the top left and bottom right are virtually completed.

Overall view at this stage

Those trees are starting to get a shape to them at last

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE WORKING ALONG WITH THIS EXERCISE, you may be interested in seeing what some readers of the site have been doing so far

Ann Roberts did a very nice watercolour wash underpainting which is almost a saleable watercolour in its own right ! ( Left )

Jenni’s trees look excellent. She hasn’t burnished the surface of the paper but we can look at the trees again when more of the picture has been completed   ( above )

Pauline’s trees have a very ‘modern’ look to them. We have discussed adding more shadow, but may leave the additional work here till later when we can see how the rest of the picture is coming together  ( left )

February 4th 2010.  This is as far as I am going for the moment with those trees.  I have added some warmer tones using Pablo Olive and Golden Ochre ( a close cousin of green gold Polychromos ) and I have also punched in some of the shadows a bit more.  I need to see how the overall picture looks later and will then decide if the background needs more detail or if it needs taking back with an overall dry wash of white or blue grey.  

This is the story at this stage

You then use the round ‘ruler’ to guide the pencil point when you join up the marks across the roof space. There is a knack to it, which is why I advocate practice, but the point of using a round ruler is to ensure that your pencil point is visible against the marks and accurately joins up the points.  If you use a flat ruler, it is hard to get the point to match up exactly with the marks.  If you do use a flat ruler, then use it from the side you would use with a pen - with a gap between the ruler edge and the paper.

I show my sketched  ‘tiled’ roof below

Hopefully you get the idea, and can see how the technique can be used to achieve good perspective in bricks and tiles.

In our Step by Step example, the perspective is not very marked and there is only one area in the centre building roof where the tiles are at a marked angle.  It will be useful to test out the technique though in the left hand roof area of the Allerford eaxample

I think the left hand roof needs to be a combination of a cold brown and black with the lighter areas which show the light on the tiles using a warm grey.

We now come to another decision point.   The dark tiled area can be approached in either of two ways.

Remembering that the whole point of using CP is to work in layers, we have to decide whether to go for the tiled area to be worked first in brown and then black with the light on the tiles worked afterwards with a grey CP,  - OR, to work the tile light areas first in grey and then shade the brown/black combination over the top allowing the undercoat of grey to modify the later dark layer.   The decision could well hinge on the way the pencils you are using respond on the paper of choice.   As a number of the Group who are working along with this are working with Polychromos, I have tested to options with both Polychromos and Pablo.  There is little difference between the two brands on the Fabriano 5 paper, but there is a marked difference in the results from the two different running orders of the pencils.  The application of grey over black is NOT as successful as that of putting down the light grey first, and applying the black/brown layers later

As I anticipated, the old rule that the first layer takes predominance, still applies.  Putting Grey down seals the paper surface and puts in a protective layer of the lighter colour that can be retrieved later with a final  touch up.

See below the results from the Pablo test.  The right hand sample is the one with grey worked first. ( see the stage 1 image with just the Bistre layer on top of the Grey to see how the Grey resists the later darker colour )

Adding black to the right hand sample shows that the grey is still shining through but the overall colour of the ‘wall’ is now very dark.  Detail can now be worked into

a/ the darker area, using a heavier application of black to emphasise the darker shadow areas, and

B/ The lighter areas where a further application of the Grey

( or even White ) will  refine the detail of the light catching the tile surface.

The next test will be to look at the choices for the shadowed wall on the left hand side.

This would appear to need a combination of Grey, White and Ochre, and whilst it appears quite light when looked at as part of the main picture, just look how dark the ochre wall is against the white of the mount in this example.

There are a number of colours in there and a lot depends on whether you work from a reference that you have printed off ( as I am ) , or use the website example to work from.  Either way there will be a lot of differences in how each one of us sees that colour, and a lot of differences in how our printers and screens show us the colour.

I have done a test which appears on page 6, before I set to work on the actual picture.  I suggest you do too.





Next Page

Stage I image

Just Bistre on top of Grey

Stage 2 image.Black added

to right hand sample