In the Style of Urban (Not the Pope)

In a number of circles, there is an “urban sketch” style done with ink and watercolor.  Drawing and painting are combined.  Some people are masters of it, in my opinion, having a good balance of ink and clear watercolor, with one or the other predominating, and the other not overwhelming its partner.  (I hope that made sense!)

I am trying to find that balance.  I’d say I am okay with ink, but heavy-handed with color.

Today I decided to try two things.  The first is above – a simple “country” scene with trees (and green!  remember yesterday?), a fence, and a building.  The idea was for the sun – the light source – to be coming from the left, behind the barn.  I’m not so sure what that big blue thing is to the right of the (obvious) three shadows of the trees, but it’s too late to do anything about that!

This one is an urban scene, one obviously not in downtown Los Angeles, but in some older part of the world.  Here, the light is coming from the right, perhaps, but the alleys and buildings create their own logic.  Shadows are broken up with bright spots.  One can only imagine that to find the light, looking up will reveal a world much different than the one on the ground.  I think this one was fairly successful; there are parts which seem to work, and others that make no sense at all – like, what is that thing?  Scribble more ink on it and let the viewer guess!

Light Industry, with Nil Rocha

I did another study, using a video produced by Nil Rocha.  As you can see, he has a style similar to Peter Sheeler – and a lot of other urban sketchers:  ink and watercolor.  Although it looks easy, it is deceptive.  It is far more difficult to achieve a good contrast study, meaning, a good light-dark balance.  I found that out with yesterday’s study with Peter Sheeler, and especially with this one.  I think I need to work out the values before I begin inking in lines.  Blah is far too easy to achieve!

Above, in color.  Below, converted to black and white in Lightroom to check out contrast.  Sadly lacking!

I’ve had a cold for the past week and it’s really hard to get creative with sniffles and a fever!  Following videos is a good way to learn, but more importantly they have helped me realize that I must push, push, push to show good contrast.  Middle tones are easy to create, as are lighter ones, but getting the truly dark ones is far more challenging for me than seems logical.  Something to think about . . .