Margaret Shaw - Artwork - Pendragon Castle Tutorial

Here’s the photo that we’re going to work from.  I’ve used photoshop to make the image monochrome and adjusted the light so we have a good image to work from.  You’ll see a grid on the photo which is showing how the image will fit onto an A4 piece of paper. This has been done using the Art Grid app on a tablet. You load an image into the app, tell it what size of paper you’re working on, crop the photo to fit the paper and the app works out the measurements.

You can see that for an A4 piece of Paper you’ll mark out 3 columns horizontally each measuring 70mm and 5 columns vertically each measuring 59 mm.
Mark out the grid on your paper as described. Don’t be heavy handed with the grid lines as you’ll want to remove the marks as we start to fill the outline the drawing.

Using the grid as a guide draw the outlines of the scene. As this is a recognisable ruin you’ll need to be fairly accurate.
Don’t draw the outlines to heavily. If you make a mistake you can erase them.
If you’re not happy with a line, then draw in the new line before erasing the old one. Experience has shown that if you erase the incorrect line first you’re likely to re-draw it exactly the same way.
I sometimes find it helpful to drawn on the reference image to give myself a feel for where things are going. Here's the link to the reference photo that you can download and print at A4.
I’ve also provided the outline drawing for download and A4 print so you can trace it. By tracing something you are still drawing and with more experience you’ll trace less and less.

The next stage is to remove the grid lines so you have the outline scene to fill in (I did say don’t be heavy handed with the grid). If you have been heavy handed with the grid – trace your drawing and transfer it onto a fresh piece of paper.
This example image has been drawn heavily so it would scan well.
Quite often during a drawing or painting you’ll loose the outlinedrawing as you work. I find it quite a good idea to trace the outline drawing so that it makes life a lot easier to put it back in place.

Before we start to fill in the picture, a little practice. We need to be able to create a range of tones with our pencil.
On a spare piece of paper draw a grid (mine’s 1cm squares). Then see how many tones you can get from your pencil. Use the lightest touch to draw the lightest grid and at the other end press on hard to get the darkest grid

Here’s my attempt – not too many tones but enough to give me a range.
If you have pencils with different leads than you can get a wider range. H pencils give the lightest tones and B pencils give the darkest tones. But, as with this exercise, you can get a range with just the one pencil.

If pencil drawing is something you’d like to continue with, consider buying a set of different pencils H’s to B’s. The H’s are used for light tones and the B’s for dark tones. The B’s are softer and much easier on the fingers when blending. My sets are Derwent and Winsor & Newton. However for this series of tutorials I promised just one pencil.

To help throughout your drawing, I suggest you view on screen or download / print the finished piece.

This is quite an in-depth tutorial so take regular breaks or even leave alone overnight. With pencil work there’s nothing to spoil. If you have small children who decide you need some help with your picture or pets who seem to like sitting on pictures – you may want to put your work away?

You’ll start by lightly shading in all the sky.

Then with flat fingers rub the shading in so you have a smooth light grey sky.

To create the clouds you’re going to lift some of your shading away.  You’ll need a thin sliver of eraser for the finer areas and an eraser for larger areas.

To make the cloud shapes userounded / circular motions at the top of the clouds and flatish at the bottom. Clouds at the top of the picture will be larger than the clouds at the bottom. Bring the clouds in from the edge of the image so that they are pointing to the castle which is the focal point of the picture. Around the top of the castle need to be white – simply to make the castle stand out. Look at the reference photo and finished image for the cloud shapes

As you are doing this your erasers will get dirty and will start to smear the pencil – so clean the eraser by rubbing on a spare piece of paper – then back to lifting.
If you take out too much pencil – shade back in and smooth with fingers.
To get a nice transition from sky to cloud, gently run along the edges of the clouds with one finger.

It may be an idea to have a practice on a spare piece of paper?

If during this process you lose your outline drawing – the top of the castle, the line of the background hills and the trees – put them back in. If you’ve traced your outline drawing it’s simply a matter of transferring it onto the work in progress.

You’re now going darker – shade the background hills slightly darker than the sky.
Then for the darkest darks – the doors and windows of the castle. Press on as heavily as you are able and fill them in. Note that the edges if these aren’t smooth so keep them a bit ragged.
If you’ve studied the reference photo you’ll see that I got carried away with the openings, but I decided that I liked that, so used a bit of artistic licence.

Now for the castle wall darks. On the drawing mark out the dark areas by putting a light D in the space.
You’ll also see that at the top edge of the triangular area near the right there’s a dark edge. So draw in a little line.
In the centre of the castle there is a light edge at the top of the area (spotted when I stated to fill in) so to help you keep that light area draw in another line.  There’s also a light edge around the top if the structure on the right so draw that in.
Have a look at the finished picture for more clarity on this.

As you start to fill in the castle walls, you’re going to be leaning on the work already done. A spare piece of paper under your hand will stop you smudging things.

Use small heavy side to side lines to fill in the dark castle areas. You can’t draw every stone so this will give an impression of a rough surface.
This is quite tiring on the fingers so don’t forget to take a break.

Once you’ve filled in the dark areas, move onto the mid tone of the castle which are a couple of shadows. This time you need to draw in the shadow line and mark the shadow area with an S. The reason I mark in the area is because if I don’t I’m very likely to fill in the wrong bit.
Same technique as the dark areas small side to side lines, just lighter.

The final shading are the light areas that are left – same technique again but lighter. 
Sit back and have a look at the work – you should be getting a 3d effect.

Going round the back of the castle are some bushes, higher ones furthest away with shorter bushes in front. By shading the higher bushes lighter than the front bushes you’ll get a sense of distance. Small circles make the bushes. Leave some gaps to give an impression of light breaking through.

Followed by darker circles for the nearest bushes – again letting some light through.

Onto the trees and a quick reminder to protect your work.

On our outline drawing we had lines – thicken these up noting that the tree on the left is nearer to the front of the picture and quite a bit larger than the other 2 trees. I’ve slopped the right tree a little too much so you may want to straighten yours up.

You can see the base of the large tree – 3 prongs. You can’t see the base of the others.
Very lightly sketch in the tree foliage outlines. The reason I do this is to stop my trees growing out of all proportion. In other words stay in the lines.

You may find it easier to put the artwork on its side as you fill the trees.

The general mark making for the foliage is small semi circles.

You’ll also do some finger blending and some lifting out with the eraser. There are quite a few gaps in the foliage. When you have the foliage in place, then put the branches in. Some branches will be broken up as they disappear behind the foliage. Don’t do the tree trunks too solid – allow vertical pencil lines to show

I didn’t do a great job initially on my trees. I had them too solid and too dark. At the end of the picture I went back to them and did some blending and lifting until I got something I was happier with. What I’m showing you here is the end result. Another advantage of pencil work – you can rub out and re-do.

I suggest that you have a practice on a spare piece of paper. Trees in foliage are quite difficult to do. If you’re struggling then you could make this a winter scene and leave out the foliage. You would need to show more of the branches. Keep in view that branches narrow to the end and they’re not straight.

Trees in place have a look at the castle shading and consider if you need to darken anywhere?

Once you’re happy with the castle shading you can do the shadows across the castle from the trees. A few diagonal pencil lines across left 2 sections of the castle will look like shadows. Look at the tone of the shadow areas for guidance on how dark.

Onto the foreground. This is scribbles to represent rough ground. To help with a sense of distance make the scribbles at the front longer than the scribbles nearer the castle.
Make the scribbles diagonal left to right. Looking at the reference photo you can see that the ground has rucks running left to right.

Mark out the shadows from the trees and castle and shade those. The shadows are sloping to the right and follow the line across the top of the left trees, along the castle top and over the right tree. Now shade in the area. Then blend the ground with flat fingers – side to side.

The blend of the ground lost some of the roughness so a few scribbles puts that back. Don’t scribble into the shadows though.

Once all complete have a review. Are there any whites that need to have smudges remove and are there any tones that need to be darkened?

I decided to:
add texture to the background hills with a few sloping lines
pull out the highlight on the ground between the trees

And, as explained earlier, did some work on the trees.

Once you’re happy – time to sign your artwork. I’ve signed bottom right – but bottom left would work just as well.

If you’re pleased with what you’ve done its quite amazing what a mount and frame can do for a piece of artwork.
A4 is a standard size and you should be able to buy a mount and frame without much difficulty.

If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial – let me know and I’ll create some more let’s draw sessions.
I’d like to see your finished pieces and with your permission I’ll add them to the web site.

E mail me your comments or send me photos of your finished pieces to –