Sketching Buildings: A 20 minute sketching session

January 2, 2020 | 4 Comments

Yesterday I had a completely unplanned 20 minute sketching session doing a few quick studies of some Italian buildings done from photos. I set the timer and just went for it without any planning. So much fun!

I love stretching myself like this as it is good training for quick sketches on location. I think I might have spend more time scrolling through the photos than I did doing some of the sketches.

These quick sketches demonstrate some of the main concepts which I teach in my SketchingNow Buildings course – looking for volumes, getting the structure down first before drawing the details, simply drawing the angles and relationships as I see them but thinking about perspective, starting with shadow shapes, leaving lots of white, using a few pencil guidelines for windows, direct watercolour, adding thicknesses and depths to building elements, observing foreshortening sides of buildings but not worrying too much about proportions or happy accidents with paint and ink… and more.

I’m really, really looking forward to the Buildings Group Run-through which starts on 15 January. We are doing a few warmup intro lessons at the moment in the classroom and it’s exciting to see the activity building in the classroom. I would love to have you join us – click here for more info.

This is the full spread with a few notes added – click to see larger.

Video – 20 Minute Sketching Session: Buildings

And finally here is the embedded video – if you can’t see it please click here to view.

Note: If you saw the 1 minute video on my Instagram feed, this one is a little slower 🙂




  • Laurence COULAUD says:

    Happy New Year to you Liz
    I hope that this year again you will bring me as much as the past year and that is an understatement….
    I look forward to meeting you for the next lesson and hearing: “Hi Laurence, so … What are we going to draw today? Are you ready?” _ “Oh yes Liz, I’m coming … I’m taking my watercolor bag and I’m putting on my shoes !!! I’m coming, wait for me :)”. I look forward to these good times. Thank you for your dynamism, your spontaneity, your joy, your pedagogy and thank you also to all the participants for bringing this rich community to life. See you soon


  • geraldine maikath says:

    You are a wonderful instructor!!!!

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