step-by-step sketch study of a garden structure in coloured pencil

Quick sketch study of a garden structure in coloured pencil

Working from a developmental drawing, meaning the design was initiated and developed by working through the drawing, the following set of steps show a sketch study of a garden structure in coloured pencil.

coloured tools


1 The initial sketch study for a garden structure is sketched out by hand using a sharp, F-grade pencil. In this detail you see now the lines are feathered at each comer and how construction lines are left visible. It is important to reduce the amount of erasing, as this compromises the paper’s surface quality.


2 Coloured pencil is best built up in layers to create a depth to the eventual colour. It is most effective if shading is done in one direction. The first layer is in Silver Grey and this should lightly cover the entire surface of the drawing with the exception of any areas that are to be left white. The next layer is French Grey that should establish a mid-tone for all surfaces, slightly lighter or darker depending on areas of shadow. Conventionally, the lower the land, the darker the shadow in plan, and water is very dark.


3 Gunmetal and then a blue-grey pencil are used for the areas in shadow. The form and shadow of vegetation is laid in. Earth tones are added to the landscape, which become too dark and are subsequently lightened with a putty eraser. The areas most in shadow are rendered using Burnt Crimson.


4 Golden Brown lightens the ground planes and Burnt Crimson sends others into deeper shadow. The foreground is lightened with Silver Grey and Chinese White.


5 Further depth is built into the landscape, leaving the sketch drawing incomplete and unresolved at this stage.


6 Photoshop then balances ideas that were initiated in the hand drawing in order to finalize this stage of the design with more clarity.


7 The final image remains sketchy-the process is a study rather than an illustration of a final design. This stage introduces a foreground tree (using the Magic Wand tool to quickly trim and the Transform tool to resize). The Pen tool is used to draw the shapes that make the foreground shadows.


Credits/Literature | Lorraine Farrelly, Drawing for Urban Design, Laurence King Publisher, 2011