It’s all in the details – really?

February 23, 2018 | 3 Comments

I am honoured to be chosen as an instructor for this year’s Urban Sketcher Symposium in Porto. The title of my workshop is: It’s all in the details.

This title is somewhat out of character because I am always telling everyone to start with the volumes and leave the details until last. However the last time I was teaching this principle at my 10 x 10 workshop Building Portraits, I realised that the details need to be considered earlier in the process. Note: They are not to be drawn, only considered early in the process.

Here is a little description of my workshop:

A common problem when sketching complex buildings is to get lost in the details, and this is especially true when sketching Baroque architecture. My standard solution is to start with the big volumes of the building and then subdivide it by drawing the structure. In this method of sketching buildings – which I call ‘working structurally’ – drawing the details comes last.

However in this workshop we are going to reverse the order because architectural details are very important in fancy Baroque buildings. In addition, drawing ornate details is so much fun. I want to share with you lots of tricks for creating lively sketches of highly decorated buildings – they’re one of my favourite subjects to sketch!

Not only are details important for creating the character of a building but they can also significantly affect the relationships between the main elements. So even when I’m ‘working structurally’ I’m always thinking about the details at the same time.

I’m really looking forward to the symposium this year and it is lovely to be heading back to Portugal. There was certainly something special about the 2nd Symposium in Lisbon in 2011, so I am being flooded with wonderful memories as I start thinking about my trip and workshop. It will be fun to have a Baroque building as the subject matter this year.

So are you going to Porto? At the time of writing this article there was still a waitlist for the 2 workshop pass. More details here.


  • Christa Fajen - February 25, 2018 reply

    Dear Liz, I really hope to get on one of your Porto Workshops! As a member of your online class "Sketching Buildings Now" (ben slacking really bad lately), I'm really looking forward meeting you in person ;o) Cheers from Frankfurt, Germany, Christa

  • JOHN FLAMES - February 26, 2018 reply

    My favourite page of your book 5-MINUTE SKETCHING: ARCHITECTURE is about simplify, just about the idea that "is all in the detail"s. So I hope to be in your WORKSHOP in Porto this July. I always get lost in the details so I hope to improve that skill. I hope to meet you and I hope you will sign the book. Regards. JOHN FLAMES/Llanes/Asturias/Spain.

  • Helena - March 5, 2018 reply

    Since I discovered your youtube channel I've been following your work, and I'm very happy to know that you'll be in my city! I hope I could see you personally! :) It would be a pleasure for me as I already feel that I know you :)

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