Drawing a seascape



90 min

What you need:

Goldfaber coloured pencil or Goldfaber Aqua watercolour pencil
For many reasons seascapes are popular subjects for artists. They are also ideal for beginners: The horizon line is easy to discern, the composition is usually fairly simple, and the elements can be minimal. In this example, Pat Averill creates a dynamic composition by placing the diagonal lines of the rocks, the wet sand, and the dark horizon line so that they form a Z pattern, drawing the viewer’s eye into and around the picture. For added interest, she includes two huddled surf watchers as the focal point of the scene. For this motif you may use both, Goldfaber colour pencils and Goldfaber Aqua.

Step 1

Make a simple drawing with a graphite pencil on copy paper before you transfer it to a good-quality watercolour paper. When your line drawing is done, tape it to a bright window, and then tape watercolour paper over it; the light allows you to see through to the sketch beneath. Use a graphite pencil with light pressure to trace the design, and then seal the edges of the paper to a flat working surface with drafting tape.

Step 2

To “save” the lightest values, apply firmly a white Goldfaber permanent pencil to create a barrier that will resist subsequent applications of color and water. Cover the white foam of the waves and several light areas of the sand. Use dots, dashes, and tiny lines to render the highlights of the crashing waves. Next create a “palette” with swatches of cobalt blue, cold gray, and magenta red. Wet the sky with a damp rag until it has an even sheen. Then rub the rag into the cobalt blue and cold gray from your palette and wipe the color across the sky. Once the sky is dry, load a wet small brush with cobalt blue, a touch of magenta red, and cold gray to paint the ocean at the horizon. Stroke back and forth, rewet the brush, and cover the rest of the ocean. Then reload the brush with blue and wash color over the water. When it’s dry, wet the rest of the paper evenly and load a medium brush with crimson red and cold gray to fill in the sand. Then use a damp brush to remove excess paint from the white waves.

Step 3

Next dampen the strip of wet sand and brush cold gray and magenta red across it. Use the same mix for the rock shapes, brushing color into the dark areas first and then adding another layer of color. Load your medium flat brush with cobalt blue, a touch of cold gray  and magenta red to paint the man’s coat and hood. Then dampen the man’s hair and the woman’s coat and brush on a mixture of Pompeian red with a touch of cold gray.

Step 4

Now you may use the permanent Goldfaber colour pencils. Rub a plastic eraser over everything except the figures to remove any remaining graphite pencil lines. On the sky and the shallow water, add a light tint of purple pink with a magenta pencil. Lift unwanted color with an eraser. Accent the dark water with deep cobalt green, using medium pressure. Use the same color over the shallow water but lighten the pressure. Next apply warm gray to the wet sand with medium pressure and a right diagonal stroke. Layer the same color using a slightly dull point and light to medium pressure to make details in the dry sand. To develop the dark values, use warm gray in the rocks, the coats, and the man’s glasses and hair. Outline each area first with a very sharp pencil, and then fill in the shapes.

Step 5

Next apply bluish turquoise to the sky and water, using light pressure and avoiding the areas you want to stay white. Then use warm gray to make short, left diagonal strokes in the water near the horizon, creating some dark areas directly under the waves. Outline the man’s coat with a sharp bluish turquoise pencil first; then use heavy pressure in the shadows and light pressure on the highlights to fill it in. Use the same blue to add a touch of color on some of the rocks and rock shadows and to fill in the woman’s coat. Then use the same blue to add a touch of color to the wet sand.

Step 6

Outline on the woman’s coat with magenta and then fill it in with light pressure and vertical strokes. Use firmer pressure in the folds of the fabric, and then add magenta to the man’s coat to show some reflected color. Place a few short strokes of magenta to the man’s hair. Then add a few magenta lines in the rocks and add some of the same color to the wet sand, the distant water, and the depressions in the dry sand. Use cadmium yellow to loosely cover the magenta areas in the sand and to add yellow to the foreground rocks.

For the water near the horizon, stroke on a little cadmium yellow. Then add some white reflections under the crashing waves and in the distant water. Finally add a few shadows under some of the waves, using dots and dashes with a sharp warm gray.

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Excerpt from "Watercolor Pencil Step by Step", published by Walter Foster Publishing, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Walter Foster is a registered trademark. Artwork © Pat Averill. Visit www.quartoknows.com