I recently organized a drawing workshop in which students began with a simple “overlay and trace” method of drawing and experimented with representing a proposed arts center building both as a daytime scene and as an evening scene. The basic drawing process was similar in both instances but changed with the approach to coloring the scene with markers. Here is a step-by-step explanation of the process:
Overlay and Trace From Photography
Step 1: Compose Your Photograph. I took this eye-level photograph of the subject building with a wide angle lens, composing the image to show the main space and include both of the buildings on either side of the property.
Step 2: Red Pencil Mockup. I printed the photograph onto 11”x17” paper, taped a piece of trace over the black and white print and sketched new architecture, signage, people and landscaping using a red pencil.
Daytime Coloring with Markers
Step 3: Overlay Inkline Drawing with Marker. With this daytime representation of the scene, I taped a new sheet of tracing paper over the red pencil mockup and produced the illustration using a Pentel Sign pen. I added color marker using light blue (Chartpak AD Sky Blue) for the sky and dark gray shadows beneath the landscaping and people. Although this quickly rendered perspective adequately portrayed the scene, it was missing the drama and emotion that I accomplished with the nighttime version (below).
Nighttime Coloring with Markers
Step 4: First Experiment with Lighting. My first attempt at representing the scene at night was a good beginning but still lacked some of the emotion and drama of lighting. I colored the sky (Chartpak AD Blueberry) and buildings with much darker markers and added bright yellow and orange marker color to the signage and interior space of the art gallery. I also added a yellow tint to the side of the gallery building to represent reflected light from the outdoor terrace.
Step 5: Second Experiment with Lighting. I redrew the ink line drawing again and added more lighting effects to the perspective. Compare this version with the one above and notice the dramatic differences in how much yellow marker was used in the scene. I created the illusion of spot lights beneath the trees by applying yellow colors beneath the foliage. I also added yellow marker beneath each interior spot light to emphasize the illuminated interior space. I colored most of the sidewalk with a dark gray marker but added yellow color to the pavement in front of the building to represent light spilling out of the building and onto the walkway. Dark gray marker color beneath the people emphasized the bright light behind them.
Next time you are producing a drawing, don’t hesitate to consider whether to illustrate the scene at night rather than in daylight as the dramatic effects of lighting can make a great improvement to the character of your scene. Good luck!
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