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Turning A Famous Painting Into A Watercolor Study

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Step 2: A Good Sketch For Good Guidelines


For the sketch, start at the painting’s eye level first, which in this case is the horizon line. Again, make sure you’re not going right down the middle for a more interesting composition! You can follow Monet’s example here, and draw cleanly to get good guidelines for your paint later.

Add a sun that’s also off-center, then pencil in the skyline of the port and buildings. Study the shape and heights of these buildings, and don’t worry too much about getting an exact replica of this famous painting. While you want to make a good copy, it’s fine to tweak things here and there so your painting isn’t too constrained. You shouldn’t use an eraser either, as this may damage the surface of your paper.

Continue working from big to small shapes, keeping in mind that you can draw in details with a paintbrush later. Add the reflections of the buildings, land mass, and sun in the water, but make them more vague and ripply. Draw in the shape of the clouds, and finally the silhouette of the two boats and people on top.

Below is a close-up of Bill’s sketch: