Watercolor Travel Sketchbook: Master watercolor technique for sketches of architecture | Anastasia Novikova | Skillshare

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Watercolor Travel Sketchbook: Master watercolor technique for sketches of architecture

teacher avatar Anastasia Novikova, Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials you will need

    • 3. Liner sketch

    • 4. Selecting colors

    • 5. Watercolor: painting light

    • 6. Watercolor: shadows

    • 7. Darkest shadows & details

    • 8. Final thoughts

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About This Class

Welcome to a series of classes called «Watercolor travel sketchbook». 

In this class you will learn an expressive watercolour technique for sketching architecture from your trips and vacations. Together we’ll go through the whole process from constructing a sketch of a building to multilayer watercolour washes and final details. I’ll talk about what materials to use, main sketching principles, perspective rules, approach to colour selection, watercolour gradients and so on. 

For the class project we will be sketching a beautiful building from Barcelona, Spain. 

The class is suitable for students who have already had some experience with sketching and watercolor (intermediate level). 

Meet Your Teacher

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Anastasia Novikova



Hello, I'm Anastasia.

I’m a self-taught artist based in Moscow, Russia. Watercolor has been my favorite medium for the past years, I love working with it to create realistic-style paintings and sketches.

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. My name is anesthesia and I welcome you to my glass series called Watercolor Travel Sketchbook. In this class, I will be showing you a watercolor technique for sketching architecture. We will go through the whole process from constructing a sketch of a building to water color washes and finalizing details will talk about sketching principal's perspective, rules, approach to color selection, watercolor, Grady INTs and so on. In this detailed demonstration, I'll carefully walk you through all of the steps and explained the logic behind them, so you'll be able to apply this technique to your own travel sketches later on. See you in class. 2. Materials you will need: materials you will need. You should have some good watercolor paper. I suggest using 100% cotton paper for your sketches. In case you can't find 100% cotton, get the best watercolor paper you confined. It's very important you can use a sketchbook or have a separate sheet of paper tape to wooden board with paper tape. Like so, a soft round watercolor brush, which is basic for all watercolor work and bouncing brush with a sharp tip. Some flat brushes, water watercolor paint using you paint you have in tubes or in dry cakes, A palette for color mixing. I used this one. Just make sure the one you use is white. You may even use a white plate. You may use a pencil for sketch construction if you're not confident with the liner yet, but I do recommend switching to a liner at some point, especially for architecture sketches. It might be a struggle for you in the very beginning, but just stick to it and I promise you will benefit from it. You won't spend your time on endless corrections, and you learn a lot faster when you don't have that option to erase you become more alert to the proportions, put more effort in making the lines straight and so on. So give it a try. Humane liner has to be very thin, a 0.5 millimeters or 0.1 millimeter at max and a thicker one, which will be used for final details. At the end, I'll use as euro 10.4 millimeters and you will need a reference photo for your sketch. The photo I chose is attached in the project, and resource is section of the class. Or you can make a screenshot of the photo right now. By the way, for the class project, you may choose to use a different image, like your own photo or even an image from Pinterest. I've actually collected a board on Pinterest for your inspiration. It's linked in the projects, and resource is section of the class 3. Liner sketch: liner sketch. So here's my photo from Barcelona, Spain. There's this beautiful old apartment building right off the Ramblas street I love. It's unusual. Corner shape with around Windows, I think will look great on a sketch. The technique I'm about to show you is particularly useful for sketching parts of buildings , man accents, so we'll only show the top three or four floors. Let's look at the proportions. I'll start sketching the corner tower off this building. When we talk about buildings, the proportions air easy to find, usually like here, the Florida all even and the roof has a little more height on top. This corner is like a rotunda, I suppose, and we see that the with is a little less than the height of the floor, and the left side will take a one with off the corner tower. The right side will take up 1/2 with Before I start. I usually play around with the proportions on my sketch, just putting small dots to see which size will look better. These dots won't be noticeable on the finals. Catch. Now let's draw the sides of the corner tower and make the vertical grid for where the windows will be. Remember, the perspective rules in round shapes. The further up we go, the more around the circles get and at the bottom, there more flat. Try to make your construction lines light, but don't worry too much about them. I've noticed that when I use a thin line er their not visible under the water cooler, then now that the greatest set, we can start to draw the windows. The balcony on the top floor is white, so we don't have to digitalize it now. Just hit the grid for whether spaces air going to be and will pain them with watercolor later on. Notice that I draw the outer shape off the round window first and then the glass border inside that shape. - There are these decorative forge metal bars on the balconies below, but they're too complex to repeat, especially for a sketch. So I find the main element to repeat is that vertical oval and sketch that with my liner and then loosely draw the rest of the tray. Serie as I wish. Now let's go to the sides of buildings. We will need to find the point at the horizon for the horizontal lines off the left wall are going to meet. We don't see the horizon line at this photo, but I confined it by looking at the people that are standing and walking. Remember that the horizon? Is that the level of your eyes? And if I was standing when I took the picture, which I was everyone else's eyes air also the horizon line. Assuming our height is alike, See, everyone's head is at one level no matter of their closer or far away. So that's the horizon line I'm looking for. It's about the middle of the first floor, and the point at which the lines meet can be determined by me randomly. I'll say it's here on the far left, just off my sketchbook page, so let's draw the grid for the left wall. I draw two lines that meet the horizon and then a vertical line to show where the building ends. Then, since we have four floors, I divide the vertical lines and four and connect them together. There's my grid for the floors of the left side. The four little window at the top will take about 2/3 off the wall and again. We set the points, make the grid and then fill out the shapes. Once we have the four windows drawn, we can set the grid for the balconies of low. We see that there only three balconies, but that shouldn't fool you. The balconies follow the same grid as the windows above. It's just that the last window will not have a balcony. And remember that the great set on the wall so you can say the balcony will be sticking out from the grid, the ones below that a circular. Then I show the balconies further back there, connected together in one shaped like so repeat, the forms on the fourth floor from the top were very light, since the watercolor sketch will be fading out towards the bottom. Now the right side of the building this wall will also narrow down at the horizon line. But the point at which the lines meet will be on the right side. Say somewhere here, draw two lines to said the grid, 1/2 with off the corner balconies. To mark the end of the building, I said four points to said the grid for the floors. The roof has a little tilt. There's a part on the wall that comes forward like so window on the roof. Remember that the oval here will be tilted. Your highest point will be right about the middle of the window line. Drop vertical lines to show the access for the windows on the floors below the metal fence on the top. I see that there six parts and again I only repeat the circle. The rest of the tracery can be sort of doodled in any way you want the windows air sketched based on the central vertical line. Remember, that's the outer edge of the window in the wall, and then we can draw the inside of each window. This way, everything stays in place. I make some shading with a liner to show the darkest shades on this wall. Shadows here, a very complex, and this way they will be easier to find up to the first watercolor wash. This way I'm saving my time so I don't have to analyze the shadows all over again later, and I want to show some windows on the next building, but very light and without many details. Since the building is going to fade out in watercolor. Okay, that's it for the liners. Catch. If you did work with the pencil, you may go over the pencil sketch with a liner out and then erase the pencil marks after that. Or you can go on toe watercolor and then outlined the sketch with the liner once the paint dries. 4. Selecting colors: selecting colors. This technique for watercolor sketches require selecting two main contrast collars for the light and for the shadow. You can add supplementary colors if you want, but for very quick sketches, even two colors will be enough. I'm going to use burnt sienna for sunny parts and now makes it with lots of water. So it's very light, like so and lavender for the shadows. The following colors will be supplementary. Since my lavender is very light in itself, I'm going to have to add Payne's gray to extend the darkest shadows like the balconies on the windows and so on. Now, if your second color is dark enough, say, follow blue or indigo, you're not going to need it, are gray? I'll take English. Read for some parts of the roof. I will add a little bit of Naples yellow for where the sun is shining and some ultra marine to show even colder shadows. So again, the first colors are the ones that I will use mainly, and I will only add some drops of thes supplementary colors. That way we get complex Grady INTs, making the sketch look more interesting for the eye. You're free to play around and select your own palette for this catch. And if you want some inspiration for that, Allah attached a pdf with my favorite color combinations in the project on material section of the class. 5. Watercolor: painting light: watercolor painting delight. So I make some burnt sienna with a lot of water, and I want to make the first watercolor wash and especially cover this whole side of the building with the sunlight is I'm mixing some additional English red for the roofs and the building in the back. I use a very soft round brush and apply the paint with lots of water. I tried to defer the Grady into a little bit by varying the amount of water I use and by adding small amounts off supplementary colors. The edges of the bottom and on the sides should be loose and uneven. Somewhere they will be washed out with clean water, and somewhere I'll take more paint and make little splashes of paint. Uh oh. And you can add some more supplementary colors or splashes of water color while the pain to still wet. But stop yourself as soon as the pain starts to dry. Who the first watercolor wash is done. Now we wait for it to dry completely 6. Watercolor: shadows: watercolor shadows. Now that the sketches completely dry, we can go on to painting shadows. I'll need all my brushes now the soft ones and the bouncy sharp. Once a swell, I apply the lavender right over the first layer off watercolor going from top down, repeating the shadows, as I see on the photo again, trying to diversify your watercolor wash by adding more or less water, adding supplementary colors. Watercolor is transparent, so you can see the colors from the first watercolor wash peeking through and making this beautiful Grady int. I add some ultra marine wild pain to sweat, so there's display of warmer and colder colors in the shadows and wash out the bottom egx and add some color splashes. Try not to go too much down with shadows. They should end above the first color wash. If you shadow washes too long here, the schedule be dark and moody. Unless, of course, you purposely going for that dark, mysterious mood on your sketch. Now let's go on to painting these harsh shadows in the sunny wall. A sharp Bonzi brush will be handy for this. Be careful and pay attention to your reference at this point, it's important to repeat the shadows as you see them. - Oh , again, make the shadows lighter toward the bottom. Wash them out with clean water. At the end, I hint a couple of bricks at the end of the wall with a flat brush, and if you find that you've gone too dark with some of your shadows, you can put a clean paper towel over them. While the pain to still wet it will absorb some of the color. 7. Darkest shadows & details: darkest shadows and details. Now that the left part of the painting is dry, I want to go in deeper shadows and show some very dark accents. Since my lavender color doesn't get any darker, I'll use Payne's gray. For this. I take a brush with shark tip to make slim lines, and I have myself drawn. Brush with clean water that I can use to wash out some of the edges is needed when you work on dark details. Minimalism is very important. You can easily ruin all of your transparency and lightness off your water color. If you cover too much of your sketch with dark paint, even if I have some larger dark spots like the windows here, I only cover the upper part with great. And then I either wash out the color to the rest of the shape with lots of water where I make dry, uneven brushstrokes so the light colors from underneath peek through and again everything gets lighter and fades out towards the bottom. I quickly show darkest shadows on the left side of the building with a very dry brush. This is a quick and effective method for imitating complex shapes and textures to our eye. Looks like they're different materials, reflections and spaces on the wall, but actually they're just a couple of dry brush strokes. Then the sunny well and I wash out some edges on the bag building to show that it's not in focus. Oh, we can show a couple of light lines to show the brick texture on the wall. Finally, I look at the whole sketch and decide to go over the front corner with dark pains. Great again. This corner of the building is my main focus, and by composition rules it should have the highest contrast value. I make sure that my darkest and my lightest shades meat here. Once the paint is dry completely, we can go over some final details. I use a sicker liner for this. This one is a 0.4 millimeters, and I just go over some of the details on the building that I find most interesting, like the tracery on the balconies and the windows. - That's all the sketches done 8. Final thoughts: Thank you for staying with me all this time. I hope you enjoyed the class. I would love to hear from you guys. So feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and feedback on our discussion board for the class. And don't forget to share You work with other students in the project section. So good luck to you. And I hope you have a great time with your watercolor sketches by