Choose your subject.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.

In this case it is a nest of abandoned buildings, leaning askew with corrugated roofs made up of a patchwork quilt of rusted metal plates that resemble crinkle cut potato chips. A brick chimney towers on the right and has a power pole counterpart on the left. Both dissect the flat blue sky.


mapped out the composition using light lines in pencil. Notice the “cushion” of space between the objects and the border.

ricefactory1Inking the lines, I keep it loose and exploratory. Notice the use of thick and thin. I keep adjusting and modifying the composition with each step.


establish major shadows using gray marker. The light and shadow change with every passing minute. At some point you have tostop chasing it.


Adding color with marker. The white lines on top are done with “white-out” adding texture and hits of light to the image.

Time is running out but the composition is finished enough with the exception of the sky. A larger, flat area of color is a challenge for location drawing. Markers leave marks (not surprising) and colored pencil takes too much time if you want a saturated area of color. That leaves water-soluble media in the form of pencils, crayons, or paint. In this case, I used water-soluble pencils putting in touches of blue here and there. It looked pretty good until I wet the paper.

ricefactory4This is what happens when you use water on unworthy paper. You’ve been advised! I tried to flatten the drawing below some sketchpads and a toolbox, but to no avail. Below is the result of a Photoshop fix.



Important Disclaimer:  Due to circumstances, I am forced to use photographic references for demonstration purposes.  Location drawing is strictly from life.