Project 5 Townscapes Exercise 1 Sketchbook Walk

The Aim

I found the instructions for this exercise  to be the most jumbled and badly worded of all the exercises I have done so far. My interpretation of the instructions are as follows:

  1. Complete a sketchbook walk in an urban environment.
  2. Complete a detailed study of part of a building
  3. Complete a tonal study of part of a building
  4. Try to draw something from an elevated position

The Exercise

I live in a rural environment so chose to visit the town centre of a small Cotswolds town of Chipping Campden for this sketchbook walk. I’m not sure the residents would ever consider this to be an urban environment but buildings are buildings.

The day was overcast but bright. This did mean that the tonal range was quite limited as there were no strong shadows which wasn’t ideal. The high street is full of old Cotswold stone buildings, many quite ornate. The high street was full of buildings three stories tall. The nature of the meandering road meant that I found it hard to get far enough away from the scene to be able to sketch some of the buildings. The town was also very busy with many parked cars along all of the roads. I opted to ignore the cars which meant I had to fill in gaps of the bases of the buildings from near up (and thus from a different perspective!). I took lots of photos to take back with me.

I found drawing in my sketchbook whilst holding it quite hard. It appears I tend to draw in a slightly slanted fashion, so some of my verticals are not truly vertical. This is a problem I need to rectify!

sketch 2
The Old Silk Mill

This is the back of a very long building. I found it very hard to extend the diagonals at the correct angles and consequently have ended up with a building that curves towards the viewer on the left. This doesn’t happen in reality!!

sketch 3
The Market Hall

This is a very imposing building with lots of pointy ornaments. There was a small market stall in operation inside when i drew this. The interior is quite dark so I omitted the table and the drapes that were hung over the front railing. It was hard to stand far enough back for this sketch.

sketch 9
New and Old houses

I really liked the contrast between the old and the new houses on this page of my sketchbook. The regimented chimneys and the step-like lead flashing are what drew me to the new houses. This order contrasts nicely with the unevenness of the slate roof of the old house (which is a pub). These were my most successful sketches.

sketch 6
Far end of the High Street

I was drawn again to the chimneys of the houses at the far end of the high street. My view here in reality was full of parked cars. I drew what I could then took photos of the bases of the buildings and finished this sketch back at home, filling in the missing bits. The large building on the left had very dominant stone mullion windows. They provided a great line for the eye to follow to the curve in the road. I would like to work more on this view, but will have to deal with the fact that there is a huge empty space in the foreground.

Detail and tonal work

The arches of the historic Market Hall caught my eye as they provided lots of contrast between the dark interior and the bright light outside. I chose this as my building for the close up detail and tonal study.

sketch 4
Stonework detail of Market Hall
sketch 5
Tonal value sketches of the arches from different positions

I failed to get an aerial view of the town, so I called in at a retail park and drew from the upstairs cafe window. It was the most uninspiring view ever, mostly just a huge car park. I managed to do a very bad sketch of the entrance road! There is so much wrong with this that I am rather embarrassed to put it up.

Entrance road to retail park
Entrance road to retail park
Project 5 Townscapes Exercise 1 Sketchbook Walk

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