2020 Foundations Fridays 2: Open-ended continuous line sketches

April 17, 2020 | 5 Comments

This week I did this simple 6 minute sketch from my balcony as part of Foundations Lesson 2: Feeling Edges. For those of you doing the Foundations Group Run-through… a video version has just been posted into the classroom.

I absolutely love doing this type of sketch – they are quick to do, they get your visual brain working and they always look cool! If you intentionally jump between objects you create lots of open-ended shapes and this is great training for working with lost and found edges.

In this sketch I started with the palm tree (which I sketched a week or so ago – see below) and worked my way out from it to the left and then to the right. I broke my line a few times but wherever possible made it continuous.

Here is my earlier palm tree sketch – once again I used a lot of continuous lines but then I covered my drawing with some loose washes.

In the last week or so I’m trying to make a more conscious effort to have a proper coffee session at the start of my day. I’m trying to stick to 30-45 minutes at my work desk drinking and sketching my coffee, doing some planning and spending a little time in my sketchbook. Just as I do during my normal morning cafe visits.

As I don’t have cafe interiors to sketch I’ve started doing simple sketches of objects on my desk and some of these have been simple open-ended continuous line sketches.

And oh! I have a new blue coffee cup!

Do you ever do continuous line sketches? Are yours open-ended like these?

This article is part of a series going through the lessons in my online course SketchingNow Foundations.

  • Read more Foundations Friday articles from this year’s series here
  • See a full index of Foundations Friday articles since 2016 here
  • Find out more about the Foundations course here.



  • Julie Knowles says:

    Love your work Liz and I found a blog post on how you create your dates (in black), but what about the red roman numerals? What do those signify and how do you make them??

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Julie – the roman numerals are also stamps from Kelly Purkey. They are recording my stay at home days!

  • Susanna says:

    I love doing continuous line sketching. It not only gets me going and trains my eye, but, very importantly, this technique suspends any judgement from my inner critic. Blind continuous line sketching does the same, but with the added bonus of making me laugh! I call these extremely wonky drawings my “Picasso” sketches (with no offence meant to that great artist!).

    Question: Do you do your entire 2 page spread (coffee cup, continuous line sketch, notes and a Scripture portion) plus your planning….all in 45 minutes? Or do you start and then at times during the day or at the end of the day add to & finish your spread? Your pages are striking, honest and not “precious” – very inspiring!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Susanna – totally agree with your comments on continuous line sketches 🙂

      As for your other point – good question. My reading of the Bible takes place first thing in the morning and so is in a separate session, but all the work done on these pages were completed in the 30-45min time period. My coffee sketch and contour drawing only take 2 minutes each, so there is plenty of time to plan and then jot down a few notes. Sometimes my spread is completed during the day with notes added after dinner – but these two were morning jobs 🙂
      Not doing as much planning these days as my projects are simpler – not as much going on!

  • Cristina says:

    Greetings from Madison, WI. Thank you so much for sharing, you made my morning, again! Love your art.

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