Home » Painting The Fancy Fairmont Hotel: A Watercolor Building Tutorial

Painting The Fancy Fairmont Hotel: A Watercolor Building Tutorial

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Step 1: Sketching A Fancy Hotel With Flags


In this tutorial, we’ll be painting the Fairmont Hotel and the lovely row of flags mounted along its balcony. While the hotel forms the foundation of this watercolor building painting, the focus should still be the flags due to their colorful nature.

After analyzing the reference picture, spray your paints with water to help soften them and make them easier to use later on. You can also set up your tools like Bill does to make them more accessible during the painting phase.

To prep your painting block, tape the edges with artist’s tape. Then, tape off the bottom at about 15″ so you get a 10″ x 15″ frame, which makes it easier for future framing purposes. You’ll want to prop your painting at a 10º angle as well, so that gravity can help you get more even washes.

When sketching, make sure not to divide the painting in half, so that you can get a better composition. This means placing the flags above the halfway point. To help with your proportions and perspective, mark off the major points of the hotel, then connect them before fitting everything else between those points. Make sure to follow the rules of perspective!

Take your time to get the right measurements, but don’t worry about getting a photorealistic drawing. You just want to lay down some loose guidelines for your painting process later. Also, try not to erase anything, as this may damage the surface of your paper. Include as many details as you need, and enlarge and exaggerate the flags for a more dramatic painting.

Below is a close-up of Bill’s sketch: