Yesterday morning, Esther and I started our fortnightly zoom session again. (They were on pause due to my Sketchbook Design livestreams) We are continuing with our theme of Scottish Castles and this week I sketched Cawdor Castle and Midhope Castle. I have been to Cawdor Castle and sketched it quickly in the rain back in 2009 (see here) but have never heard of Midhope before.
We were talking non-stop while I was sketching, so these sketches are a good example of reflex sketching. I was relying on my instincts and not really thinking too much about what I was doing. I also wasn’t concentrating enough to achieve accurate colour or lighting.
I decided to switch my overhead camera on, so I’m able to share my steps with you. The only real thought I had beforehand was to decide how to start. Cawdor was complex and had only a few small shadow shapes so I decided to start with pen. It was 7:30am so this was a good safe option for a warmup. Midhope had a lovely shadow shape so I started with paint. BTW I explain this decision in more detail inside my Watercolour Course (Lesson 4).
I certainly don’t always follow a set formula when I sketch – I like to make it up and adjust as I go.
Drawing the main components of the castle with my Fude 55degree pen.
Adding the base washes for the walls and roof.
Adding darks to the windows.
Adding a little texture to the walls (initial wash is partly damp and partly dry)
Adding the green bits!
Adding the sky last!
Paint first – starting with the main shadow shape.
A little splashing… just because!
Adding the trees and grass while I considered the tricky foreshortening…
And then I decided to start drawing.
And then I added the sky as this would help me work out the values.
Once that was done it was clear that I needed to strengthen the shadow areas.
And maybe add a little texture?
Then I wanted to add some warmth.
And then here is the final version.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these! It was certainly interesting for me to review what I did as I wasn’t thinking about the order of my steps at the time.
BTW there are also some process photos of another castle sketching session here – it was a direct watercolour sketch (with no ink lines) and includes a few non-traditional steps!