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This step by step exercise was first published as a work in progress on the Pencil Topics site forum. The details have been edited but you have here the main body of the description of the work process.
This is the reference. A photo of a busy street scene on the Cours Mirabeau in Aix En Provence
This step by step exercise was completed on stretched 300gsm Clairfontaine Cold pressed watercolour paper.
The basics were drawn out ( freehand, not a trace) -
My first colour stage was to mix two very thin washes of watercolour pencil, a brownish one and a greenish one and apply a very thin set of layers to establish some of the tones. Once this was done, most of the graphite could be removed from the drawing, leaving a light indication of the shapes.
The next step was to apply shading with the same brand of watercolour pencils and expanding the range of colours. These layers of dry colour were then washed in with a damp brush.
I have taken some care with the lettering over the cafe front and although it isn't really crisp, I am sure that I will be able to sharpen it up later when I apply more layers of colour.
Not sure how many people are going to appear sitting at the tables, and it will be interesting getting the lighter chair shapes against the dark background in shadow.
Still, what is life if not full of challenges ?
We can now move on as follows:
The colour in the paving slabs has been attacked with a power eraser to lift out some of the washed in dry W/C pencil. The eraser leaves a soft edge and this works well to simulate the dappled light coming through the leaves on the many trees along the road.
It is clear that I will need to do something about the sunlight on the box which has the notice board on it ( lower right). Currently it looks as if light is coming FROM the box rather than falling on it. The photo image will need to be varied and light taken to the side of the box, and also some detail put into the lit box surface to darken it a shade. That may be the solution.
I have worked the cafe name sign up ( Les Deux Garcons ) to give it some depth of colour as this is a tricky part of the picture to get the lettering right. If that fails, then I don't want to have spent many hours on the rest and then have to scrap the picture ! So far it isn't perfect, but it will do for the moment.
I have to decide how many people to sit in the cafe seats and shortly how many people to put on the footpath.
For the moment I have concentrated on those two tubs and the plants within them, to try to get the balance of light and dark elements right.
I have also started some work on the upper parts of the buildings so that I can find the tree trunks and also then put in some more foliage.
All this work is now being done in dry pencil which is washed in with a damp brush to bed the colour down. I am not looking to put in detail at the moment ( apart from the sign over the café ), That will come with the dry pencil later
I did see that I had made a couple of errors, which I will explain in a minute, but otherwise the image is developing well.
We can now move on a little………..
Firstly, you can see that I have erased some of that flagstone shading from the right of the box. I have also shaded in the front of the box a little so it now looks less than the source of the light.
I have completed some illegible lettering on the blackboard and blocked in some diners at the tables -
Water has been used to wash in the dry coloured pencil in the name over the cafe and also in the buildings above and dry black soluble pencil used to define the scroll work above the frontage. This was the first error. I should have used non soluble wax pencil for that, so that I would have kept the option to add a light colour wash to the white wall that you see above. The soluble pencil will run -
Possibly the next step will be to start at the top left and do some work to the foliage on the trees -
Spent some time this morning working on the cafe scene in Aix En Provence.
I took it along to the local art society working morning I attend regularly and discovered when I arrived that I had left the reference photo behind ! Doh !
I can now see that I need to punch in more darks to the foliage, but the work this morning wasn't wasted. I have drawn in some walking figures and spent some time erasing colour from the pavement area to make that more believable. The reference will now have to be used to sharpen up the details of the activity in the cafes and along the pavement, but I am pleased with the work to date
I have worked mainly in the trees in the upper left hand side where I have used a power eraser to lift out the lines of tree trunks and also some lighter bits that could be sky seen through the leaves. I am happier with the way things are going now. We need to have more darker areas in the tree cover and I may have to lift out more areas of light and temper down that bright green with some light browns.
The error in the line of the footpath has been addressed but it does mean that the walkers are now a little on the tall side -
Some of the light detail has now been punched into the tree cover -
I have worked over the area under the sunshades and this will have further work to be done. The green sign over the cafe has had more work ... in fact there has been a general uplift of the picture which I think has led to the sunlight on the pavement becoming more realistic.
Still quite a bit more to do, but I feel that I am now making progress and have got over the 'hump' where the artwork seems to have stalled and in danger of being left and overtaken by new ideas and fresh picture starts.
Now to the final version of the Aix en Provence cafe scene on the Cours Mirabeau. I have balanced the colour and tones of the pictures to the original, so the version you see is as good as I can get it
I have darkened the tree foliage quite a lot with the addition of some black and also umber into the top left of the picture. I have added more detail into the fronts of the upper parts of the buildings, and I have darkened the areas of detail in the foreground, such as the menu board and the bushes in the tubs. I added some blue on the right to bring in a colour focus point in one of the seated figures at the table and I have also darkened the central walking figure in green. I have signed the picture and framed it up, so this is how it will be -
AIX EN PROVENCE
Step By Step
|Glossary of CP Terms|
|Introducing step by steps|
|sbs basic shapes|
|sbs fruit bowl|
|sbs polperro B|
|sbs rectory garden|
|The Bowerman Stone|
|sbs to come|
|Price and Content|
|Papers for Wax type pencils|
|Papers for Watercolour pencils|
|Papers for Pastel pencils|
|Papers for mixed media with CP|
|Black Paper Fade|
|Non standard papers for wax pencils|
|Application of colour|
|Density of Colour|
|Results on Different Papers|
|Ways of using Aquarelles|
|Why Underpainting ?|
|Backgrounds with Aquarelles 1|
|Backgrounds with Aquarelles 2|
|A Brush with W/C Pencils|
|Foliage in W/C Pencil|
|Step by Step - Coventry Canal|
|Cottage Garden - Step by Step PDF|
| Italian Street step by step 1|
|Italian Street step by step 2|
|Brokken Bridge Step By Step PDF|
|Coventry Canal 2|
|CP & Pastel|
|CP & W/c Pencils|
|CP & Other media|
|Archway - Mixed Media sbs|
|Cottage Entrance Mixed Media sbs|
|Annecy Reflections 1|
|Annecy Reflections 2|
|working on coloured paper|
|Still Life Points|
|BURNISHING, Blenders and Burnishers|
|Landscape Tutorial- Grand Union|
|clouds & skies|
|Brick, Stone & Tile|
|Brick stone and tile 2|
|Colour and complementaries|
|Boats & Water|
|Form & Space|
|Drawing from Life - introduction|
|using a camera|
|transfering an image|
|keeping a record|
|printing 2 - layout|
|Life Drawing 1 - the basics|
|November 2011 Landscape SBS|
|July 2012 - Kitten Step by Step|
|Old Blog Posts as at Dec 2014|
|Aix En Provence series|
|New input ( from Dec 2014)|