Roof tiles

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  • Usually when I’m painting a roof of a house I can get quite a reasonable effect with a combination of dry -brush, varying colours on the paper and perhaps a bit of pen work.  However, I’m in the process of painting an old house in Bruges, Belgium which has very interesting tiles which I would like to bring out properly, yet without overworking.  Here is a small section of the roof:


    It seems overkill to outline each tile but I would like to indicate that the tiles are more than the usual straight rows.

    Any ideas anyone please?

    Thanks in anticipation,  Tom

    You could treat them like many people treat brick buildings. Just do a few small sections in detail. They look awesome! I hope you share your trials as well as what you settle on.


    I have to admit that I’ve never tried something like this, and I’m not sure what I would do, but a trick I have when I’m not sure is to run the photo through Photoshop filters.  It simplifies the detail in different ways and sometimes helps me decide which details I want to keep or emphasize.


    I did this with your photo.  Not sure if it will help you, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

    Thanks for that Sandra – the first one is particularly useful.  I’ve also looked in one of my favourite books – by Wil Freeborn (How to Paint Watercolour with 50 small paintings) and he tends to draw the tile outlines in pencil – which makes a much less prominent than a pen.  I think I’m going to do something like your first filter but in pencil and see how that turns out.  I’ll post the result here when I’ve finished it – hopefully in a couple of days.



    Thanks Julia – I think something along those lines

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with!  I’ll have to look up that book too.

    Well, I didn’t make too good a job of it.  I used a sepia pen but should have made more variety in the lines.  Never mind, here it is. Onwards and upwards as they say . . .

    Its a house in Bruges, Belgium, with a man in traditional Flemish dress

    How charming! I think the detail in the roof is proportionate for the painting as a whole. If you had put much more emphasis on it, it would have messed up the sense of distance.


    It’s fine Tom. If you really want to tweak you could add a few splodges of a darker tone of brown to the tile colour. But it really is fine as is.


    Thanks Sandra.  I think I’ll leave it as it is now.

    Thanks very much Rod!

    I thought you did a very good job of it! Nice work and cute subject!

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