Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pencil Sketch in Ottawa

When I was in Ottawa some years ago, I stopped to draw the East Block Parliament buildings. 

I started with a line drawing and then used light washes of gray tone for the shadows. When that was dry, I used the pencil to suggest the stonework details of the High Gothic architecture.


TomHart said...

Very nice. I've always found that going back in with the pencil (or pen in some cases) after the watercolor washes to be a very effective technique for accenting details and/or sharpening intersection points.

Shari Blaukopf said...

Canadian content!! I love it. I have drawn these buildings too. The East Block is very massive and hard to draw but you've done such a beautiful job of it by emphasizing the weight of the stone at the base and lightening up the upper area. And of course that touch of red makes us Canadians proud.

Daniel New said...

Your older sketches always have so many detailed observational written notes. Just out of curiosity, why did you stop doing that? Or do you still do that secretly from time to time?

Jim Douglas said...

Response to Daniel New:
I can't speak for Mr. Gurney, but as a practicing architect & illustrator, I often include written notes within a drawing to specify or record unseen qualities or visual phenomenon I didn't have time or the ability to capture as desired. These notes are often harmless or even advantageous to the overall expressive power of the sketch.

However, I find that as I move past a conventional representation and approach a more sophisticated or photorealistic handling of natural effects (i.e. light, shade, shadow, hue, value, chroma, etc.), written notes become a distraction that can ruin the illusion of reality and damage the overall impression.

To deal with this problem, I carry two sketchbooks; one for sketches that are free to involve perspectives as well as plans, sections, elevations, and construction details with written annotations and a second book with thicker paper to allow for ink wash, watercolor, and gouache to record more accurately the phenomenon of light and color as I see them.

It's worth noting that despite my best efforts to sort my sketches into two sketchbooks, I frequently start a sketch that upon completion should have been drawn in the other book. So it goes, no big deal. The extra thinking I force myself to do up front regarding the type of sketch I intend to make is valuable, too.

Hope this helps,

James Gurney said...

Daniel, the way Jim explained it is about what I was thinking. Pencil and pen drawings seem more suited for written notes, while opaque paintings don't seem to lend themselves to writing as much.

Unknown said...

Wonderfully inspiring work James.--I enjoy pencil sketching or fine marker for architecture. Have you done any work in Europe?