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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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Loose and Funky: Step-by-Step Watercolor Sketch from Costa Rica

Our Urban Sketchers "Capture the Energy" workshop in Costa Rica was a blast, and resulted in some really nice work by all involved.  On the last day, we participated in an open-invitation sketchcrawl at in downtown San Jose.  I tried to capture the stages of this watercolor sketch, despite shadows from the tree canopy that protected us from the hot sunlight (but not from the pigeons, who graced my drawing with pigeon poop fairly early in the process).  I hope, despite the less than optimum photography, that you're able to benefit from this series.  Cheers!

Here's the final as completed on site.
I created the base sketch with a Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen (sepia ink) for the foreground, and a pencil for the background to help achieve a sense of depth.  The first watercolor washes were for the sky, starting with a clear water wash, then adding wet-in-wet strokes of Naples Yellow, Cobalt Teal Blue and a touch of Cobalt Blue at the top (for a full description of my color palette choices, see the previous blog post).

Next, Naples Yellow on the background building facade (excuse the uneven lighting resulting from shooting under a shady tree canopy as the work progressed).

While still wet, I enlivened the facade by adding a little Mayan Orange, Ultramarine and a tiny tad of Carbazole Violet into the Naples Yellow.  I added some of the mix to the floor of the plaza as well...

Next, some Cobalt Teal Blue on the windows, with some shadows in the upper part of the window made from  mixing Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue.

The same Alizarin Crimson/Prussian Blue mix is used to add some shadows, giving the facade some definition...

...and to cast some dramatic shadows across the entire facade.

As part of my foreground frame, the tree canopy needed to be dark!  I started with Deep Sap Green, darkened with some Prussian Blue and Neutral Tint.

Here I'm using the tree trunk and ground shadows to complete the foreground frame.  The shadows on the ground are the same mix as those on the facade; some Burnt Umber was added to the mix for the tree trunk and branches.


Some final details added using my "confetti colors" on clothing, and a white gel pen for some lettering and sparkle.  For this photo I laid the sketchbook in full sun, so the colors are fairly accurate.


Papa loves his work...final marks as local sketchers and plaza patrons look on.  Thanks for checking in!