Sketching Architecture: It’s all about structure

August 30, 2017 | 5 Comments

Even when I am sketching loosely (that’s 99% time of the time) I always think of structure first.

I did this post-sketch analysis of the Fine Arts Building in Chicago to explain what I saw at the time just when I started to sketch it. In the class I taught for Sketchbook Skool 2 weeks ago I explained the process of doing thumbnails but I have a more elaborate process – my seven step system which I explain in SketchingNow Buildings.

This building had the type of design that I adore sketching – lots of variations within a fairly simple grid. Or so I thought at the time.

In fact it had a more complicated grid and more variations that I intially observed and it would have been better for me to have done a little more analysis before I started! It would have been a perfect subject for using my seven step system. But, oh well, you live and learn!

If you are interested in my Buildings course, I have opened it up to early registration (and special earlybird pricing too!) for people of the waiting list. You can still join it here but you have to do it in the next 36 hours.


  • Tim Malloy - August 31, 2017 reply

    Liz - I'm a recent subscriber to your blog. I've also just begun working through your fundamentals course and am enjoying it very much. I've been trying to put my finger on just what it is that I enjoy so much about your sketching style and it came to me when looking at the drawing in this post... Your work reminds me of what Miles Davis used to say about playing jazz - the notes you don't play are every bit as important as those you do. Thanks for offering your insights in your bogs and courses...they're a real treat for me! Tim

    • Liz Steel - September 1, 2017 reply

      Thanks so much Tim!!! Great to have you on board.

  • Joan Tavolott - September 1, 2017 reply

    Nice to see your analysis of the building, Liz!

  • Debi Kistler - September 1, 2017 reply

    Just started taking your buildings course and I am so excited! I have been drawing buildings for years, but don't attempt really complicated ones because they overwhelm me. I love the analysis of your "HOW" in drawing a building with this much stuff going on.

    • Liz Steel - September 2, 2017 reply

      HiDebi, Yay! Hope the course really helps your building sketches.

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