My book is due to be released next week but it is already on the shelves in bookstores in Asia and on its way to people who pre-ordered. So I thought I would start to share a little more about what it contains.
The book has four chapters and each contains at least ten different topics. Each topic (a concept or technique) has its own double page spread with five practical tips for fast sketching on location. My hope is that this format will make it a very handy reference book of ideas. As I mentioned previously, I am already using it that way as I prepare more in-depth content for other workshops/ online courses. The book is really a summary of all the important concepts and ideas I have on sketching architecture!
The emphasis of the book is fast sketching and when it comes to architecture this means approaching your sketch in a series of five-minute techniques. Thinking of your sketching process in terms of 5 minute steps will really decrease the time that you need to complete your sketch.
The critical step is to establish the most important aspect of the sketch in the first few minutes and to work on having a clarity of vision so you can say more with less.
The first chapter – How to See – is a summary of all the important techniques that I believe you need in order to sketch architecture quickly, and ways of changing how you see buildings so that you can in turn sketch them faster. The very first one being the most important – finding your story. Story is something that is often thought of in regard to sketching people, but not so much when it comes to buildings. Yet this is the most important decision you need to make when it comes to sketching complex architecture. I will come back to this topic in the next article as Chapter 2 is all about ways of finding a story for different building types.
The rest of the chapter goes through the basic techniques for seeing buildings more clearly – looking for shapes and volumes, easy ways of measuring, looking for thickness and depths and then some quick tips for perspective (including a summary of my approach to pointless perspective). It’s jammed packed with lots of ideas to help you see buildings more clearly.
I use these techniques all the time, and during my big trip in Europe this year I was able to create many more new examples from ideas in the book.
Here is a sketch of Castle Howard that picks up on a number of ideas from Chapter 1. It is a massive grand house and rather complicated so my sketch took a little longer than 5 minutes. However within the first few minutes I had established all the important elements – the main volumes, the perspective, the structure and the big shapes for the foreground garden, all with a few brush strokes. (Aside: more about using line and colour in Chapter 3.)
I wanted this sketch to tell a story about the grandness of the building which involved showing its scale, and this focus freed me up from worrying about the detail. So after the first step (only three minutes?) I was then able to complete the line work and the additional washes with a lot of freedom because the hard work was already done.
I suppose some of you are wondering if I have any sketches of Castle Howard that were completely done in 5 minutes… yes, I do! Here is a collection of very quick sketches that I did while walking around the grounds. The sketch of the Pyramid in the distant fields was probably a 1 minute job, don’t you think?
I worked for an architect for 20 years and for the last 10 years have been intentionally developing ways to increase the speed of my sketching. I want to produce more spontaneous sketches that still have an underlying accuracy that is ‘good enough’. The key is this first step and even though I am able to do this in only a few minutes, it is important not to rush it. So if you are a beginner, don’t force a literal 5 minute rule.
I work fast because it suits my natural pace, but it is always important that you listen to yourself and only work at a pace that feels good to you. But my hope is that with the techniques in this book you will be able to become more directional at the beginning of your sketch and as a result reduce the overall time it takes, however long that is!
And, just finally, here is the first photo of my book(UK version) purchased from Kinokuniya in Bangkok! More about the two editions here – they are the same book just different cover and spelling.
Thanks again to this amazing group of artists whose work is also featured in the book:
Asnee Tasna | Carol Hsiung | Daniel J Green | Delphine Priollaud-Stoclet | Inma Serrano | Isabell SeidellJames Richards | Luis E Aparicio | Luis Ruiz | Lynne Chapman | Marc Taro Holmes | Matthew Brehm
Murray Dewhurst | Peter Andrews | Peter Rush | Rene Fijten | Richard Alomar
Rob Sketcherman | Suhita Shirodkar | Tiago Cruz | Virginia Hein
Buy the book today: Amazon.com