Pt 3, Pr 3, Ex 2 – Foreground, middle ground, background. Mixed media scene of Lymm Village.


While I enjoyed the expansive landscape 360 sketches I did up Kinder Scout, I wanted to do a 360 degrees set of drawings that displayed a changing townscape. I went over to a nearby village called Lymm which had the perfect recipe of water, trees, old cottages and winding roads.

I took four 90 degree views of the village from the bottom of the road that runs over a lower dam before the road winds back up the banks and out of town. I also enjoyed sketching the original clock tower in the square. The town was cut into a lime stone cliff and the monument still had the original steps leading to the tower, complete with stocks! For this exercise I was going to utilise the layering technique I had developed using the water colour pencils/tissue paper/coloured pencil and pen, which is the reason I wanted a good scope of water/trees/buildings to test how far I could push the technique to describe the fore, middle and background.


After doing the panorama I took a wander round photographing various views to get more scope of the village.

The bottom right image was my favourite view which was a slightly different angle from the bottom left image of my sketches with the post box in it, so I milled around this spot to get the perfect angle.

IMG_3746 It was a view of the lower dam running under the road with a nice set of shops, foliage, water and an interesting snake of road. The balance of dark and light was a bit left side heavy but I felt there was enough scope to work with.

I caught some ducks on the dam which would be a possible point of interest, but I felt the water in the bottom left of the composition was lacking a bit of movement. Now I actually think that the ducks must have heard my thoughts, as, within 5 minuets of me thinking this two ducks decided to chase each other around in a circle creating a ripple affect which radiated out over the surface of the water and gave me the perfect point of interest I was looking for!


With this in place I set to sketching out the final piece. I wanted to use a water colour pencil base and layer some tissue paper it t o create texture then wash over more layers of water colour pencil and finally add coloured biro on top for the detail. I would use the heavier texture and detail in the foreground, fading it away and using the tissue paper to blur dilute the details of the buildings the further away they were.

Initial sketch in pencil

An initial line drawing was made before I layered some water colour pencil over the top to map out the tones and some basic colours. These will hopefully shine through to the final layer so I kept them quite vibrant so they could show through under the tissue papers.



!st layer of water colour pencil.

I then experimented with creating layers and texture with tissue paper, creases to represent the water ripples, small screwed up balls of tissue paper under layers to create the bunches of texture of the tree leaves etc. However I felt that the idea in practice was becoming clogged, complicated and messy, and, although this sort of mixed media would have been more successful on a grander scale, it was quickly becoming difficult for this particular exercise.


After reading back through the exercise and deciding to simplify it to black and grey tones, I concentrated on an ink wash of dark tones in the foreground, fading to lighter tones for the background to separate foreground, middle ground and  background, while using ball point pen to fill in clear detail of the foreground, and diminishing the detail as the picture receded.

This technique was much more successful as I was able to communicate the reflections in the water by layering the biro ‘waves’ over the top of the ink which served well as the reflection. I started with the dark areas of the picture with basic blocks of colour, then worked in the detail and the majority of the shading with the biro, lightening both the picture and the detail as I worked into the background.

I then finally added the detail of the ducks and used white sprays of ink to mimic the turbulent water.


To develop this technique further I would have payed more attention to the ink washes underneath. As I was still experimenting with this technique, I think I could have brought out more details by keeping the darker areas lighter to give more scope for adding details. However I was pleased with the expression of the different textures, noticeably the dark bushes in the background and the depth created by them, the reflections and water surface and the contrast that brings out the cottage behind the tree in the middle of the picture.

There is a good movement through the scene due to the road and the different levels of the water is effectively demonstrated by the contrast. The incorporation of foliage, buildings, perspective and water give it enough scope of interest and I’m just lucky that the ducks decided to start fighting for me!

The most important thing I learned from this exercise was how to approach it. Realising that I was trying to tackle the idea of depth in too many complicated ways, once I stepped back and broke it down I asked myself ‘what shall I use to explain depth’ and I simply decided on tone and detail. It was much easier to tackle the problem with these two factors only, hence why I decided to do it in monochrome with out the distraction of colour.


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