These are the main Sections of the Site

These are the other Topics within this section


Polperro Harbour (B)

A small scale exercise introducing buildings and boats

Rectory Garden Archway

An exercise involving more serious landscape methods

Allerford Packhorse Bridge

A very detailed exercise

showing a range of methods for approaching a landscape with buildings

spread over 8 long pages of notes.

This was an on line tutorial worked as a group and the notes are the resulting summary of what was discussed,

and the various problems that arose and were solved.

The Bowerman Stone

An old course tutorial based around the depiction of granite stonework on a standing stone on Dartmoor in Devon

A nice exercise to try with wax pencils

Cottage Garden

A watercolour ‘basics’ tutorial showing a range of techniques for using aquarelle pencils.

This tutorial is in the Watercolour pencil techniques section

Tavy Rocks

A tutorial based on a picture done on the spot.

The River Tavy near the villages of Peter Tavy and Mary Tavy in Devon

Completed in Faber Castell-Polychromos

Coventry Canal

A detailed tutorial showing some line and wash techniques with watercolour pencils.

Much more detail than the Grand Union example above

Brokken Bridge

Another watercolour pencil step by step

of the bridge at Clapham, Ingleborough, Yorkshire

This is shown as a downloadable PDF file which you can also view.

The original photos are also available to work from in the case of most of these tutorials


are also available

Most are resident in the tutorial area of the site.

Below are links to their present homes




‘Grand Union’

This Exercise has been in use for around seven years in courses and workshops and has now been replaced by new course tutorials. It is now made available here as a free exercise.  

Hopefully it will give the reader some ideas about how a CP landscape picture can be put together.  The exercise here was also published by Ann Kullberg in her on-line magazine a few years ago.

Coloured Pencil Step by Step   ‘GRAND UNION’

Example of an image worked in Faber Castell Polychromos

on to an underpainting of watercolour pencil wash

The Grand Union Canal runs from London to Birmingham in the Midlands of England and was built to transport heavy cargo on small narrow boats.  The UK canal system was built over 200 years ago, but the Grand Union section of the system was modernised in the 1930s and is therefore now the longest single canal at 300 miles and most modern of the old canals. These days it is used almost entirely for leisure traffic and many of the old narrow boats that once carried cargo are now residential boats.

The view is of the canal as it passes through Milton Keynes where I live. You see a pathway to the left hand side which was originally the track used by the horses to tow the boats ( in the days before they had engines).

First of all, we look at the composition of the actual photo, shown above.  The focus of attention is the oncoming boat through the arch of the bridge.  There is a major area of dark foliage to the right and I felt that the picture needed to be better balanced.  

One way could have been to lighten the right hand side, but this would have taken away the attraction of the focus point.  

I decided on introducing a moored boat on the left and found an image I had taken of a narrow boat which was sited on an entirely different canal near Coventry.

I added the one image to the other and adjusted the position of the new boat so that the two made a logical whole.

I didn’t want to lose the light coming through the arch so the new boat had to stay to the far left.  The new dark area from the reflection of the boat helps balance the  right hand side and concentrate the eye on the bridge.

I decided to open out the trees over the bridge to introduce more light into the picture, and although I was intending to use washes of colour from watercolour pencils to tint the paper, and I could have put in blue sky, I opted for leaving the white of the paper for sky as I often do.  The sky is usually the lightest part of a landscape and it is no problem to leave it white.

Now that the composition has been settled, the next task is to draw out the image.  I have used a hot pressed watercolour paper ( Fabriano 5 ) which has a good white surface, takes wet process well and also has a reasonable tooth for the later dry point pencil work.

I HAVE USED AN UNDERPAINTING METHOD - because this is the way I tend to work.    It saves a lot of time and I find I get better results.    HOWEVER, if you wish, you can start work immediately with wax type pencils, and omit the watercolour stage. You will need to establish far more layers of colour to get the finished result and need to work and burnish the surface to get rid of white speckles where the grain of the paper still shows..

First wash layers

Second wash layers

Just as in working dry point pencils, it is essential to work the colour in the direction the subject follows.

This means that the foliage in the trees is applied with ‘dabs’ of colour and the water surface with horizontal strokes.  Take care with the application of the darks on the boat and keep the reflection of the light on the boat side.  You will not be able to put white over black underpainting so keep your edges crisp and accurate around the boat.

REMEMBER - All you are doing is providing a tint to the paper to provide a foundation for the later dry pigment. Detail is not required


From this point onwards we are using only the Polychromos Coloured Pencils.

If you are omitting the underpainting step, then you will be starting from here, with a simple drawing to guide you.  The dry colour will need to be applied in gentle layers and a light touch, building up the colour progressively and keeping your pencil strokes running in the direction of the surface you show.

This means that the water will be completed with horizontal strokes of colour and the trees with a ‘scribble’ style of stroke.   Let us now follow the process of working the picture with wax type pencils.   Trees often give new artists problems - here is how I approach the subject with wax type pencils ........

The colours of the greens from the Polychromos box are shown here in the order they were applied.  You can see in the second picture, below right, the way the darks have been punched in to the shadowed area on the right under the overhanging branches and at the same time, the same colours have been applied horizontally on the water.

Walnut brown and Sanguine are used to apply shadow areas to the side of the bridge brickwork and the same colours are used to insert bricks into the foliage over the bridge arch.  

Remember that if you are defining brickwork, that the light catches the top edge of bricks and along the line of mortar  The lower brick edge ( usually ) has a line of shadow.

If you are working this image at

leisure, you will have time to do a lot more definition than my students have !

The images to the right show the before and after stages of working the right hand side trees, and the bricks.  

Note how I have left some light to the edges of the tree foliage so that the leaves are highlighted against the darker bricks

LEFT  You will see from this detail of the upper right hand side trees that layers of ‘scribble’ strokes are applied in different colours.

If you were working with dry point aquarelles at this stage, you could  use a damp brush tip to draw, blend and shape the colours into more detailed foliage as in the mini example below

This mini example is taken from another picture, but you can see how the colours can be worked once there are a good number of dry layers in position.  Don’t restrict yourself to just greens - incorporate ochres, browns and  darks such as sepia.  Leave the really dark areas to a sharp dry point at the end.  Check out actual trees ( or photos of trees )

to see how the shadow areas can be shaped.

The water surface (see below) reflects the colours and shapes that lie immediately above.  There will be some disturbance on the water which will break up the accurate reflection, but the overall reflections of dark and light must relate to the original shapes.The pencil strokes here are all horizontal even though the reflections show vertical shapes.  One of the frequent errors by students showing reflections is to get reflected lights and darks out of line.  Reflected colours are also usually a darker tone of the original.  Look out for a lighter line often seen around water edges in the distance.

As you will see in the photo above,

there are also verticals in the reflection

of the distant trees.

At this point I was starting to lose the tooth of the paper surface so this was not as defined in my picture (above right)

A final look at how the nearby narrow boat has been worked.

That reflected light on the side is essential to the success of the picture.

Check out the light line along the hull of the boat, and the way that the strong red of the paintwork in the  foreground contrasts with the black and white to bring that part of the picture forward

Finally, a line of shadow in the water along the bottom edge of the picture and a ripple lifted out of the water using an eraser and we are done.

Here we have the final picture in Its mount.  The whole exercise and the step by step notes were completed, as I said earlier, several years ago.  Probably one of the first step by steps that I worked.

The notes are therefore NOT as comprehensive as those in more recent exercises.  The whole tutorial though still has value in showing the completion of a landscape picture.  A PDF file is included here, of the original two photo images merged into one.  You are welcome to use this as the basis for your own interpretation of the scene

PDF of photo reference

If you are using either watercolour pencils - or watercolour - to start your picture, read on here........

I chose a handful of colours from my selection of watercolour pencils, many of them the same colours as the dry point Polychromos I will use later.  The selection was : Grass green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, a Brick Red and Paynes Grey.  Some shavings of pigment were taken from each of the pencil points on to a white palette and a mix of thin paint was obtained for each.  This gives a more even finish than applying dry aquarelle and then washing the pigment out.

The rule here is to use two thin coats of colour rather than one thick one and build up layers of tint on the drawn image.  The first layers need only be general, but once the first are dry you can go for more detail in the second set


Have a look at the more detailed tutorial on a picture of the Coventry Canal near Tamworth in Staffordshire

and also a step by step on ‘Brokken Bridge’ a river scene in the Yorkshire Dales shown as a downloadable PDF file

Next Page

It is worth noting at this point that this tutorial is one of several

step by step instructional pages on the site.

After you have read through the notes below, have a look at the list at the foot of this page for details of other Landscape tutorials available here.

In addition there is a section at the beginning of the site that lists all the tutorials

This is available in the ‘Step By Step Projects’ section



A landscape using Watercolour and Wax type pencils