Sunday 17 July 2022

2022 Topic 10 : Up my Street {by Jenny Marples} with Kim Dellow stamps


Hi everyone, it's Jenny (Pushing The Right Buttons) with you today, and I'm here to share with you a few tips and tricks for drawing and painting architecture. I'll state at the outset that this is not a step by step sketching masterclass - there just isn't enough room in one blog post to teach that and besides, there is a wealth of information and instruction out there for you to work through at your own pace.

If you've seen many of my more recent blog posts here you'll know I've been enjoying the process of creating a visual record of places I've been lucky enough to visit in art journals, incorporating stamping, stencilling and stitching to enhance each page. Re-creating an entire street scene like the one below may feel overwhelming so we will work through two simpler projects first before taking it on. Let's get started!

Drawing a window is a much more achievable goal if you are just getting started - basically it's a series of squares and rectangles - so find one you like on a photo, zoom in and crop before printing a copy. Sketch it front on so that the only angled lines you'll need to draw are the ones closest to the window frame (adding some simple dimension) and maybe the arched ones if you've picked a 'fancy' window. Make a note of the comparative width and depth of your window to help guide you. I would also suggest starting with the window frame itself, working out to the surrounding bricks.

Make the walls more interesting by adding thin layers of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint between your lines, not panicking if you paint over any of them since you will re-draw them at the end; I started with 'Sand' followed by 'Periwinkle' and then 'Nougat'. Paint in the bricks in a similar way, using 'Sand' as the base, 'Caramel' in the bottom left-hand corner and 'Nougat' in the top right-hand corner to create the illusion of shadows and highlights. I tend to finish by using grey ink underneath the bricks.

Enhance your window with some stamping using the retro squares and lines from the lollipop shapes in Kim Dellow's PaperArtsy Stamp Set EKD03. If your pages are flat go ahead and stamp directly around the window. If like mine your journal is becoming full and uneven try stamping onto a single ply layer of tissue, applying each section with some matte gel medium.

Take a tip from me and remember to stamp your squares and lines using a grey permanent ink; I found black ink detracted from the window meaning I needed to draw over every line with a white pen to mute them... You can also go over your original window sketch with a black pen at this stage.

Add some colour by stamping the retro squares onto gel printed paper/tissue, cutting out each shape and gluing them over the original stamped ones on your page - having a dirty gel plate really pays off here! I used PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints in 'Sand', 'Wolf Eye', 'Wisteria' and 'Frosty' to pull each print.

Finish by stamping the tree shapes and words from Kim Dellow's PaperArtsy Stamp Set EKD02 - I painted the 'leaves' with 'Autumn Fire' PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paint to make them 'pop', and added a few hand drawn lines with a black pen.

After painting the window frame I used a purple watercolour to gently stain the window panes, enjoying the way it reacted to the pre-gesso'd page underneath.


Having tackled a window front on it's time to try a corner and add some perspective. Looking below you'll see how I've used a ruler to map out the angles at which the main lines on the building are converging to the 'vanishing point'. Starting with the main vertical line on the corner of the building draw in these lines faintly to create a guide when you then add the windows. I would also suggest leaving out the shutters until you've got your windows done, adding them in at the end.

You may have noticed I'd prepped the page with some music paper, gel printed tissue and gesso. Extend that colour by blending your PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints across the page - I used 'Nougat' on the building and 'Haystack' to match the gel print. You can also lay down the base colour for your shutters before adding stencilled dots with Kim Dellow's PaperArtsy Stencil PS035.

Remember how we added a lighter colour to the top right-hand corner and a darker one to the bottom left-hand corner of the bricks to give them added dimension? Do the same thing to the shutters to replicate the effect of the sunlight hitting them at an angle, drawing in the lines over the top. I blended 'Wolf Eye' and 'Surf's Up' over 'Blue Smoke' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints.

Look at the difference that shading with grey ink can have to the look of dimension.

Again remembering back to how we used stamped squares to embellish the window on the last page, use the tiny squares from Stamp Set EKD02 over the top of the stencilling (with grey ink this time!) painting them with 'Cloud 9' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint to make them stand out more.

In the reference photo there were some small traffic signs on a post that were left out. Add them back in at this stage by stamping the lollipop shapes from Stamp Set EKD03 at the edge of the page. Rather than attempt painting them try stamping the 'sign' shapes on some gel printed tissue (mine is mainly 'Scottish Salmon' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint) and use a white pen to highlight some of the pattern.

Including more hand-drawn lines at the base of the traffic signs and colouring the pole with the grey ink adds a final flourish to this page. I repeated the trick of using watercolour paint for the window panes.

Finally it's time to tackle that 'street' scene; I find the easiest way to do this is to draw a grid both on your reference photo and on your page. Pick a focal point like the centre of the bridge for your first line and work out from that. For this one I also took the opportunity to blend out the edges of the gel printed tissue with 'Seaglass' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint before drawing anything. Copy the image from each square in turn, starting from the centre line out, remembering there will be that vanishing point to work towards.

You'll notice I've simplified the scene again, particularly the background, in order to make the bridge more visible. As with the corner building paint in the outer buildings with the 'Nougat' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint, blending it with the 'Seaglass' background. If preferred you could always add a hint of greenery at the windows by stippling on green paint at the bottom.

Begin painting in the main parts of the structure that you want to stand out - I chose to use Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints in 'Haystack' for the central building, 'Sand' for the bridge and 'Caramel' for the underside of the bridge and highly diluted for the windows. All the window frames, door frames and the edges of the bridge were picked out in 'Cloud 9'. I chose to take care not to paint over the 'leftover' paint picked up from the gel plate.

Now for those stamps and stencils this time used to echo the arch of the bridge as well as decorate the walls; as before use Stencil PS035 for the dots and Stamp Sets EKD02 and EKD03 for the squares. In addition Kim Dellow's PaperArtsy Stencil PS036 works well for emulating the ripples on the water; as they are wide shapes I suggest using a white pen to draw well inside them before filling in the shapes with more 'Cloud 9' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint.

And here's the finished page where you'll see I've painted the smaller stamped squares in 'Autumn Fire' Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint to contrast with the 'Seaglass' colour. I've also used the grey ink to add those all important shadows again, helping to give the structures the illusion of dimension. The outside of the folding flap was decorated with using Stencil PS035.

Alison Bomber's 'Travel & Journeys' PaperArtsy Stamp Set EAB02 provides beautiful phrases which fit so well here both on the inside and outside.

The re-drawn black lines are once again echoed with extra decorative lines at the edges of the buildings.

Hopefully this has de-mystified some of the process of drawing buildings and shown that with a few useful tricks, a sharpened pencil and some partly painted backgrounds you will be well on your way to sketching those memorable places in your art journals.

Thank you so much for stopping by.


PaperArtsy said...

You blow me away with these amazing pages Jenny. Every time! Love the modern pops of colours scattered across each page, the purple and blue looks like abstract wisteria around the window!

Words and Pictures said...

Absolutely amazing pages... I adore your stucco background effects, so subtle and beautiful in their textures and colours. Then the wonderful opening out of the architectural structures (the bridge crossing out of the journal - genius!... also the colours on the buildings in that one are so evocative), such clever use of the stamps and stencils, and the bright pops of colour to give it all that final zhuzh. And wonderful words too!! Brava!
Alison x

Helen said...

these pages are amazing - love the way you stamp the shape stamps over the top of your window/building and it all ads to the texture.

Stef said...

You've definitely pushed my buttons Jenny, these pages are gorgeous! I love your architectural drawings and particularly how the bridge unfolds in this piece. I will certainly take some inspiration from your post to have a go at some point! Retirement for me is not far away and I'm itching to have the time to try lots of new things!

Kathi said...

Wonderful pages with so many great details.

Thanks so much for the instructions, tips, and step-out photos.

Etsuko said...

These are stunning pages and very cool Jenny! I love how you have used Kim's stamps with clever techniques. xx

Bibliofil said...

That was an amazing post!!
Makes me want to paint/draw/taake a class - inspirational!!!!

Jenny Marples said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I'm so glad you've enjoyed being a part of my architectural art journey and really thrilled if it has inspired you to get drawing, stamping and painting too xx

Anonymous said...

Wow wow wow AGAIN!!!

LJMILLER said...

As always, Jenny, always a work of art…and the colors,,wow,,,,