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Northampton Market Square - Work in Progress

Image showing first stage of drawing

I've decided to use A3 size Medium Surface Cartridge Paper for this drawing.Ihave already chosen my frame so marked out the size of the visible area of a 20" x 16" mount, drew in a suitable grid for guidance, and then lightly penciled in all the main structures.

Image showing second stage of drawing

This next stage is fairly simple and just involves penning over the pencil lines paying attention to perspectives and which building surfaces are visible.

Image showing third stage of drawing

Now we begin adding the shading and detail. I started with the church tower just left of center and worked into the top left corner. I'm a bit bothered by the mish-mash of shading lines going in all directions and I'm not to pleased at the moment.

Image showing fourth stage of drawing

Taking it on a stage further I have to say the individual pen strokes lack the precision I was hoping to achieve, but I'm hoping that viewed from a distance, the picture will still look acceptable. This drawing is certainly a tad frustrating because when seen from a reasonable distance you want to step in closer to look at the detail, yet looking closer reveals the lack of precision. That said, it is barely 20% done yet so far too early to form an opinion. My own observations at this time are really only a commentary as I attempt to share my thoughts.

Image showing fifth stage of drawing

I've now started on the fronts of the buildings overlooking the square. These are proving quite a bit more difficult than the miscellaneous array of rooftops I've been working on so far.

At the outset, it had been my intention to leave the shading until I'd put in all the detail, but I'm finding it better doing it as I go along. There are one or two area's I will need to revisit and I suspect I will need to put in some darker shadows here and there also.

I have two matters that I'm not sure about. One is, how to do the large empty square area in the center. I will leave it till last obviously. The other is what to do about the distant horizon. The reference photo shows a lot of background that I haven't included yet. Do I put it in, or leave the skyline as it is?

Image showing sixth stage of drawing

I've now finished the buildings around the square. The Market Stalls are a bit more of an eye-catcher than I'd expected them to be, but they do help frame 'the square' which was the objective. I always knew the market cobbles couldn't be drawn accurately because of how dark they would make the center of the picture, so I opted for large slabs instead. It's not true to life, but gives a good representation of a large open pedestrian area, so it will do. I had trouble drawing the lines freehand as you can see, but I didn't want to get a ruler out at this late stage. I'm quite pleased of the fact that I haven't used one so far (apart from the occassional pencil guide line to help with perspective). The people have worked quite well. They're not exactly life-like, but they add scale and provide interest to that large open space. I may put a few more in before I've finished, but we'll see.

Image showing seventh stage of drawing

And now for something that is bothering me. To complete the picture I needed to draw the distant outskirts of the town. These need to be lighter than the rest of the picture and also less detailed. The reference photo shows that it's very hard to make out any detail although the impression of houses and trees is quite apparent. To achieve the same effect I've sketched in some very loose rooftops and 'scrimbled' around them to create tree cover. Though I'm not totally disappointed with the effect, it hasn't worked quite as well as I'd hoped, as you can see from this actual-size close-up.

Image showing eighth stage of drawing

Despite my previous comment, standing back from the picture, the town outskirts don't look too bad. There are now just one or two elements I may still darken a tad. A couple of rooftops just in front of and to the right of the main church tower and one or two just above centre on the right hand side. Also, the whole of the bottom left corner is much lighter than the rest, but I'll probably leave that because if I darken anything around 'the square' it will lighen that central area again. I've doubled the hatching on the square to tone down the stark whiteness.

Image showing finished drawing

The finished picture.

I wasn't happy with the white starkness of the square so added some building shadows by hatching finely. I'm not overly pleased with it but it serves to reduce the starkness.

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