Last Saturday I held a 1 day workshop on Sketching Architecture in the Rocks. It was a condensed summary of the content we covered in the 4 week class and was an action packed day. In addition to my content, we also had lots around to distract us – scattered showers, crowds, markets, passing artists giving advice, police dealing with an aggressive drunk and a wedding! We had it all!
We started in a public seating area thinking about how drawing architecture is far more than just perspective. We then did a number of warmups – doing a few line exercises and drawing some boxes. I am very thankful that the Hero Sushi place allow us to sit outside their store as it started raining and the public seating area is only covered by sail cloth that does not stop the rain.
Our first sketching location was opposite the Australian Steam Navigation Buildings (we sketched this on week 1)… and just to throw everyone in the deep end I gave them only 20 minutes. The idea was to embrace wonkiness, to see the main 3D forms of the building and to add extra details to make it look convincing (despite the distortions) I was totally blown away by the work that was done in the time!
We then headed down to George St (which was a lot busier than it had been during the week). Like Week 2 of my classes this exercise was all about sitting straight on and understanding how to get overall proportions and work systematically from overall to structure to details. This is where there was a very unfortunate aggressive drunk and police incident on the other side of the road which caused a degree of distraction. We also had two artists walk past and add some advice and encouragement (I think it was all positive comments!) Time for a well earned lunch!
After lunch we looked at perspective (and especially the importance of nailing the eyeline!) and a few general approaches to adding tone and colour. We were sitting on a grass area opposite the Garrison Church so had a good view of a wedding that was going on. The various wedding guests walking across the wide road in front of the church was a great example of how you can ‘hang people off an eyeline’ – I think a few of us were interested in the outfits worn as well!
Once the wedding had cleared out we crossed the road and looked back to the end of a row of terraces along Argyle Place (sorry I omitted to take a photo of the building we were sketching). Trying to conquer perspective in a single afternoon is a challenge – especially as most buildings on location are not simple boxes on totally flat ground. Once again I was very impressed with the work produced and the fact that everyone seemed to grasp the basic principles and all the lines were going in the right direction!
What a great day and amazing group of sketchers – a number are just beginning their creative journey with pen and sketchbook in hand. Sketching architecture isn’t the easiest but with a few basic principles and an healthy attitude towards accuracy and wonkiness (ie. don’t stress about distortions) I hope that they will all have more courage to have a go and have fun. Most importantly, keep sketching and sketch the buildings or parts of buildings that you like, that you respond to. Have confidence in your own response and be more concerned about your personal dialogue with the building rather than worrying about the ‘correctness’ of your lines on the page.
I do hope to start sharing more of the content of these classes in the new year.