Keifuku train, Kyoto

The Keifuku Randen line is an old tram line, actually, the only tram line left in Kyoto. It is an interesting option if you’re visiting Kyoto as it stops close by a number of shrines and temples.

Not entirely sure which station this is, it’s based on a reference from a while back, but I believe it was Arashiyama.


Keifuku train, 5″ x 7″ on Bockingford HP
Keifuku train, pencil sketch

Gate, Kyoto

The two sketches featured are of the entrance to a temple or perhaps a garden, in Kyoto. I’m not exactly sure, my photo-reference doesn’t state where exactly in Kyoto this was and I don’t recall where it was either, as the photo dates from several years ago.

I made these sketches a few months back – I didn’t put them up on the blog, probably because I wasn’t very happy with them.  Looking at them again now, I’m still not really happy with either of them but I think there’s value in publishing both the bad and the good. In fact, looking at them now all I can really see is a catalogue of errors!

The first sketch was made on a sheet of student-grade paper, Daler-Rowney Aquafine (A4 size), which I then cut into two so it’s roughly 5″ x 7″ or a little larger. I’ve read and heard from quite a few professionals now, who say that it’s not a good idea to learn watercolour using so-called student-grade paper as the lower quality of these papers just makes it more difficult to learn and get good results.  However, I’m not going to use that excuse here, I think it’s just my technique is awful!



Thatched Entrance Gate, Kyoto


The second sketch is a slight improvement in some ways, I think I did a fairly good job with the texture on the walls and the road and pavement (sidewalk) is okay. The most glaring problem is the roof, which looks distinctly off!

One point is that this sketch was made in a small 5″ x 7″ Bockingford spiral pad with rough paper. Rough paper is I feel a poor choice for this, what was intended to be a fairly tight sketch – a rough paper I think would work better with a more loose approach.

Thatched Entrance Gate, Kyoto