Heidelberg houses in watercolor

I was like ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’-ing as I walked around Heidelberg’s Old Town, one of the most beautiful places in Germany. The harmonious ensemble of castle, old town and river nestled in the hills of the Odenwald already inspired poets, artists and painters as well as stimulated scientists. Today, it still fascinates millions of visitors from all over the world.

The view was spectacular and the buildings were so beautiful that it inspired me to draw! Because I love to draw buildings, I drew one from the photo that I captured from Heidelberg.

Heidelberg houses | watercolour on watercolour paper.

I actually went to Heidelberg with a tour bus and to draw on location was not possible due to time restriction. You know, the tour guy will let you explore with a be-back-here-in-30 minutes condition.

So what I did was, captured as many photos as I want, giving consideration of the angles that I see beautiful for drawing, and later choose the best ones as my drawing references.

Is drawing houses or buildings difficult? Well, it depends on you. If you have the passion, you can do it. Do you have the passion to draw houses or buildings? Then, read on.

Here are few tips that I can share with you about drawing buildings from photograph:

1. Travel to places with interesting buildings. The world has a lot to offer.

2. Capture as many photos as you want — from urban skylines to historical architectural wonders.

3. Transfer your photos onto your computer and look for the best one for a start.

4. Observe the building you want to draw. Zoom in to look at the details. You can crop out the part you don’t want to draw.

5. Print it out. You can opt to refer directly from your computer but that will restrict you to your work station only. If you print it out, you can draw wherever you like — the sofa, the garden, cafes, while waiting for bus, etc. Remember that you don’t have to finish the drawing in one go.

6. When you have the photo reference in front of you, start drawing out the building shapes and later the roof. Start from left to right or right to left. Or top to bottom, vice versa. You decide.

7. After you have the outline of the building, draw the details. Refer back to your photo. Add in as many details as you can.

8. Try not to use a ruler. Good thing about art is that lines are not meant to be straight. There’s a beauty in jagged lines. Here’s a close-up of my lines from above painting:

 9. Don’t forget to color it. You can opt to trace it again with drawing pen.

Enticed enough? Go travel and take loads of building photos! Here are the original photo reference for the above painting:

If you compare this to my painting, you will notice that I left out many details. I just put in necessary details which I see fit. 


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  1. So cute and so clean! I don’t know how you do this… if I see real pic like this and have to draw and paint so many houses with atap like that, aiyooo hedek la. Love those tiny lil windows and texture on the roofs. You have sharp eye for details.

    Oh ya, happy birthday sweet 16! 😉

  2. Just noticed the original pic where you based your drawing from. All I can say is ‘OMG!!’… I really don’t have the patience to draw, and paint tiny lil details. If this was my art subject back in school, sure stress tahap gaban, LOL!

  3. Oh thank you, Kak Em! This is really inspiring. I thought that we should draw all the details. But you have shown me how to choose what is necessary! 🙂

    1. Remember I draw it beforehand with pencil? Some of the shading were done by pencil, some with very thin watercolor. Take a bit of black and dilute with water.

  4. wow…. sangat cantik dan menarik. Ntah mengapa bila tgok lukisan ni, sy teringat zaman kanak2… maybe ada kartun/story book yang prnah saya tonton/baca … ada tunjuk rumah2 yang bentuknya macam niii 😀

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