tag line

SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A watercolor adventure in Turkey

This watercolor sketch is from an original done on-the-spot near Uchisar, Turkey, which is in the visually stunning Cappadocia region.. I recreated the step-by-step process of creating the original as a demonstration for my upcoming book, Freehand Drawing and Discovery.

I started with a pencil line sketch on 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper.  I thought the contour sketching method--drawing the overall outline first and treating the subject as "shapes" rather than "things"-- would work best in this case.

As the sketch progressed, I tried to capture the visual texture of the scene, rather than the literal details.

A wet-on-dry wash over the entire area to be painted. 

Some shade and a warm roof color, mixed from burnt sienna, cadmium red and a touch of french ultramarine.

Windows added, again trying to capture a visual impression rather than photographic realism.  Some olive green between buildings hints at vegetation and provides some much needed contrast.  This is a detail view, showing about one half of the sketch.


  1. Well Done James ! simple et efficace .

  2. Thank you. I think I've learned something here: start with the light colors. I usually forge ahead through my color pallete letting havoc reign.

  3. hi from Turkey! thank you for very useful tutorial, I look forward to your book

  4. i really enjoy how simple you keep your line work, i tend to over do them usually resulting in a large black square covering the entire page. looking forward to more posts

  5. Thank you Jean Marie, Jim, Rahman and CJ, for your comments and encouragement. I'm glad you liked the post. I'm working hard and fast to finish my book manuscript and illustrations in the next 10 days or so; I'll try to post some of the interesting items here as it progresses. Cheers!

  6. Hi James,
    I like the way of your drawing. Very interesting to see the process. Nice sketch.

  7. Isn't it funny, Jim....
    This is exactly the drawing I commented you about when we met at the courtyard in the USK3 base in Santo Domingo.
    LIfe is too full of coincidences.
    Good luck with the book, and reserve my copy. You''ll have to sign it for me in Barcelona.