Project 5 Exercise 2 Study of a townscape using line

The Aim

  1. Make preliminary drawings of this study. Establish the primary focus and any other shapes and objects you think necessary to make this drawing interesting and unexpected.
  2. Make notes about the weather conditions and how they affect your approach to the drawing and establish the general mood.
  3. Decide what sort of marks fit the mood and shapes of this study.
  4. Decide on the foreground, middle ground and background.
  5. Complete the study in pen and ink or a drawing pen or fine brush pen.

The exercise

I chose to expand my study of the hight street scene that I drew for my sketchbook walk in the previous exercise. The weather was bright but overcast which was not ideal as there were few strong contrasts.

Far end of High Street
Far end of High Street

My immediate problem was to deal with the large space of road in the foreground – not very interesting. I could get around this by just concentrating my image on a certain part of the street and bringing the buildings forward. I was keen to capture the bend in the road as this provides a bit of interest in the picture. The first building on the left also has a lovely old street light high up. This would make a good focal point in the foreground.

I did a quick sketch of the buildings more close up and took some photographs for reference (especially as to what the bottom on the buildings looked like as they were obscured by cars. I finished this sketch at home by using a ruler to check my vanishing points and adding a few details.

High Street sketch 2
High Street sketch 2

The lamp makes a good focal point but there is still too much road space. I could draw the cars in to fill it but, whilst closer to reality,  a huge rear end of a car in the foreground would not add to the scene which is primary about the rather picturesque historic buildings than being a true representation of the street.

I then sketched an image with a slightly higher horizon, allowing a more ‘zoomed-in’ effect and removing the road completely. The buildings rather conveniently had strong vertical lines positioned roughly at the third lines of the horizontal, which also allows for a natural division between fore, mid and background. I didn’t quite get this in this sketch and ended up with the lamp and a vertical in the middle which compositional isn’t as strong as it could be.

High Street Sketch 3
High Street Sketch 3

For my final study I chose to draw with black drawing pen on heavy weight A3 cartridge paper. This image is all about hard lines depicting cotsowld stone which has strong defintions. As there was little contrast of the tones I decided to keep simply to a line drawing and hatch in the darkest shadows with the same pen.

High Street, Chipping Campden in drawing pen
High Street, Chipping Campden in drawing pen


This is probably one of the hardest things I have tried to draw and would never have attempted it before embarking on this course. For this reason I am pleased with the outcome, however I can see much wrong with this study. Firstly and most glaringly is that I am obviously having trouble drawing vertical lines!! The door in the mid ground is so not vertical it is embarrassing. The problem with pen is that it becomes very messy to go over it again so I have left it to remind me to really concentrate at not letting my arm swing out as it comes down!

I tried to produce marks that were less intense for the middle and background to give a sense of a receeding scene, buy this didn’t really work. Most of the sense of depth here comes from the strong sense of perspective, especially for the building in the foreground on the left. There were very few strong contrasts in this scene, the exception being the shadows in the window and door recesses. I regret putting in such a heavy shadow in the top window behind the street lamp as it now competes (and wins) for the viewers intention. As such I ended up putting extra brackets on the wall below it to act as a focal point. I am pleased with this addition.

Overall I am pleased with how the imposing stone mullions came out in the foreground. I would have liked more contrasting tones to work with to add some detail to the wall. However I do think that my initial sketches helped plan this work, although it was the photographs that enabled me to put the detail of the bottom of the buildings. More little sketches would be good for this. I don[t know why I have a problem with little sketches. I think that I find it hard to simplify images to make them quick. All my sketches seem to take a long time so I don’t get the time to do as many when on location.


Project 5 Exercise 2 Study of a townscape using line

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