Thursday, November 8, 2018


11/6/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

In August I made several sketches of the house across the street while the addition was being constructed. Although the ongoing presence of trucks and the Porta-Potty indicates that work is still happening on the inside, we haven’t seen much change on the outside for a couple of months. So as far as my series goes, I consider it done.

I’ve posted the sketches in reverse chronological order. The last sketch at the bottom of the post is one I made in May when I wondered aloud how long the family would stay in the single-story house that seemed too small for four. Little did I know then the changes I would begin to see just a few weeks later.

Technical notes: As you can see from the series, I had some problems getting the proportions right on the original part of the house! For the final sketch, I measured carefully twice, so I think they are finally accurate.

Another major challenge is that the front of the house is almost always in shade, so I often used a gray Pitt Artist marker as a grisaille before adding color. This shortcut seems to be more effective, however, when only small areas of a building are in shade rather than the whole elevation. In the final sketch at the top of the post, I skipped the grisaille altogether, leaving only the small sections of roof in the light. I’m not completely happy with any of these techniques, but lately I’ve been trying to rely less on the marker grisaille technique so that I can learn to control values with watercolor pencils alone. I’ve been using that approach with organic subject matter like foliage ever since I studied landscape drawing in colored pencils, but I have a harder time doing it with entire buildings. I know there should be no difference – it’s all the same principle – yet I get more confused about depicting urban colors in shade. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it (until I get better at it).




  1. Scrolling from the bottom to the top was like a flip book. How fun to see it this way!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I rarely sketch the same subject matter repeatedly over the course of time to record changes, so it was interesting for me, too, to put the whole sequence together.


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