P93 A Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings

Carefully select a viewpoint that gives you somewhere to sit comfortably while you are sketching. Focus on one particular building … Make a detailed study with a 3B pencil, in a 10 cm square, showing a section of the building. … Draw a second 10 cm square tonal study showing how the light falls across the building.

I returned to the rear of Bolton College for this exercise as there is a multi-storey carpark which overlooks it. The two studies were drawn from the second floor of the car park.

It was bright but not sunny, so there were few shadows. It was a Saturday afternoon so the area was deserted except for a young couple sitting on a bench. Even though the college only opened here five years ago, the lack of people or cars gave it a nouveau seedy look to the area.

I was pretty much on a level with the section of the building I chose for the first exercise, so there is little perspective with the horizontals being horizontal. The second was drawn from the same spot. For once, I wrote quite copious notes.


Make several quick sketches in your sketchbook before you decide on the most interesting view.

There were four possible viewpoints of the college from the carpark. These were a combination of either from the right or from the left, and from the second floor or from the fifth floor. I drew four A5 sketches in charcoal.


Second Level of the Car Park – From the Right

This was one of the contenders with a lot going for it. The top of the rotunda was curved one way while the bottom was curved the other way. The access ramp was not particularly noticeable.


Second Level of the Car Park – From the Left

There were two there. Firstly the rotunda was overwhelmed by the left hand building and the open staircase of the rotunda was too central and uninteresting. On the other hand the curves of the access ramp were pleasing.


Fifth Level of the Car Park – From the Left

This still had the same two problems as the last view – dominant left hand building and an uninteresting central staircase.


Fifth Level of the Car Park – From the Right

This view had the advantages of the first view – rotunda not overpowered by the left hand building and a more interesting stairwell – together with an interesting view of the curves of the access ramp. I also liked the pronounced curve at the bottom of the rotunda and the more subtle curve of the top. Eye level was approximately at the top of the cream section of wall. I decided to go with this for the main study.


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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