When I’m out sketching a scene, I know that the minute I add a reflection, my sketch will suddenly look “real”. Painting reflections in watercolour from a photo can be interesting and satisfying, but it’s much more exciting and dynamic to paint them from life. Your subject may be snatched from you without a moment’s warning – the sky can cloud over, it can start raining or someone might remove the nice bowl with the beautiful reflection that you’ve been happily sketching. The constant threat of change inevitably results in a drawing full of energy, but it can be very challenging.
I had drawn all my life, but it was only a few years ago that I discovered urban sketching, and I knew nothing at all about painting reflections. I did know, however, that I should use my eyes and look hard, and so my early attempts could have been a lot worse. Just a week or two into my newfound passion for urban sketching, I drew the pool of the house in Mauritius where I was living. The reflections were simply too beautiful to resist. I said to myself that all I had to do was draw exactly what I saw, and it would be okay. It was fine for a first attempt, but the biggest mistake I made was not realising how fast the sun moves, creating havoc with shadows (and their reflections) so they are all wrong in that first drawing of the pool. But I filed away what I learned that day, and the many days of sketching that followed, and between my “field” experience and my determination to look hard, I now find painting reflections in watercolour very satisfying indeed. I hope you find these tips of use when it comes to your field sketches of reflections.
Here’s the drawing of the pool that I did as a brand new urban sketcher:
A few months later I attempted the scene again, and produced a slightly looser sketch. You can clearly see how indecisive I was in the wobbly lines of the reflected trees, but a pen line is permanent, after all…
If you can become accomplished with painting reflections, your sketches will dance with life. Only well-done shadows (and their corresponding highlighted parts) have as instant an effect on a drawing as reflections. I hope the tips I talk about here, illustrated by my sketches (and some of the examples I’m showing here are no more than that) will help you capture a reflection in a believable way.
This is a PREMIUM access article. We use a simple to use web wallet that can be filled up using a credit card, PayPal or with XLM using a secure payment system. Once you have paid, you will have ongoing access to the article from the device (tablet, phone, PC) that you used to pay for it.
You can access the post by topping up your web wallet with 40 stellar lumen tokens (the price of a stellar lumen is currently 0.1329373733 usd ) if you haven’t already done so and then making a micropayment of 8 lumens for this post
Remember: NO subscription required, NO monthly fees, NO personal information, just a new secure micropayment mechanism for content you want to see.