Learning to Draw and Paint a Prague Scene – Tips and Observations
In this article, you’ll learn to paint Prague and Chinatown London in Watercolor. I’ll go through my tips and share my link to the live workshop.
I hosted a live workshop last night and drew/painted a couple of urban landscapes. If you’re interested in viewing the video, it is available here for free.
These photo references were taken by me on my trip to Europe and Russia back in 2019. Sometimes the best paintings can be created from your own photographs! I find that taking photos also helps build your compositional skills. It helps you begin the painting process before you even lift a brush. You can find yourself trying to capture a scene at a particular time to get reflections or a soft glow on the horizon, or you might want to capture a scene a night.
Either way, I find that it is nearly impossible to capture what people term ‘the perfect reference photo’ and there are always things you need to change or exaggerate when you paint. Let me elaborate.
One of the things I noticed at first with the Prague scene below, was that there wasn’t a clear light source. So I added light on the horizon to imply a sunset scene and created wet reflections below the figures. You can do this by dropping in darker paint into an already wet area. In this case, I’ve used some purple-ish color for the reflections/shadows on top of some warmer orange-yellow paint.
At some stages of your drawing or painting, you might feel like you want to give up. Do your best to continue as more than often, the painting only emerges once all the tones are added (light and dark areas).
Chinatown London in Watercolor – Tips and Observations
This was a photo I snapped whilst wandering around Chinatown. I thought it would make a great reference due to the strong light source and glowing red lanterns.
With this kind of scene, always start with the lighter elements first. What I mean by that is to paint all the lanterns, sky, rooftops, ground first if possible. These are the lightest areas (tonally) and need to be preserved for later. Once the paper has dried, I drop in darker paint into the buildings and cut around the lighter elements. This creates and sharper shapes and contrasts nicely with the softness of the sky and lanterns.
A combination of soft and sharp edges is crucial!
Finally, always remember that you can ‘lift’ out paint to create soft edges once a painting has dried. I’ve demonstrated this on several of the lanterns in the foreground to help blend some of them into the sky more.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to paint Prague and Chinatown London in Watercolor. I recommend completing the full workshop to understand and apply my tips fully.