Buildings Live Version 2023: It's a wrap

December 6, 2023 | 6 Comments

We’re just finishing up the Live Version of my SketchingNow Buildings course and it’s been an amazing 10 weeks!

Every time I revisit the Buildings course I find new ways of using the concepts, find new examples to explain them and create more demos!

The last few times I’ve hosted a Buildings group event I’ve done a Building of the Week Challenge. Each week I choose a ‘super hard’ building as suggested by someone in the group. I  carefully analyse it and then sketch it  during our weekly livestreams. The image above contains some of the sketches I’ve done in previous group events.

This is a great way to show how to apply the basic concepts to any kind of building – no matter how complex it is! In addition, I do the demos in a range of styles explaining why I chose a specific technique to suit each specific building. You’ll see some examples of this year’s Building of the Week Challenge below.

It’s always good to review core concepts no matter how experienced you become (part of my spiral app. So I’ve really felt a benefit in my own sketching as a result of revisiting the Buildings Lessons.

Here are 7 main themes of the Buildngs course that we’ve been looking at in the last few months:

  1. Looking for the underlying volumes plus added and subtracted elements
  2. Making sure all the elements had thicknesses and depths and using leading edges to help
  3. Determining the important horizontal edges and then drawing ‘the fans’ – distinguishing between the left fan and the right fan
  4. Refining our fans using perspective (BTW I absolutely love teaching perspective at the Week 5 mark after we’ve had time to develop the core skills of seeing the volumes, horizontal edges and the fans. It makes perspective so much easier to understand and use!)
  5. Learning how to work structurally – making sure the major divisions are drawn before getting distracted by the details
  6. Mapping light and dark to create 3-dimensional sketches
  7. And all throughout the course learning ways to create lively building sketches with watercolour!

Two sections in the 2023 Buildings Livestreams that I particularly enjoyed…

My two-minute direct watercolour sketch of Notre Dame

Doing volume and perspective analysis of 5 different churches and a cathedral. Each building had a tower but I used a slightly different approach for each.

The rest of this article will share some of the building sketches I’ve done in the past three months as part of the Live Version…


Revisiting the Indoor Exercises for each lesson

Here are a few of them…


Doing the outdoor exercises during my weekly sketching session in the City

Just for the record, I did multiple sketches for each exercise – but that’s not required in the course 🙂


Building of the Week Challenge

So many great suggestions by the group – I wish I could have sketched them all!

The BOTW that requires special mention is Hawa Mahal – an amazing palace in India…

It’s officially the hardest building I’ve ever sketched and I have some homework to finish the large drawing I started in my A4 sketchbook.


As you can see there has been a lot of varied building sketching done in the past 10 weeks!

If you have signed up for Buildings previously, you have free access to water replays of all the Livestreams  – simply visit the Buildings classroom via My Courses and look for the Livestream 2023 Replay sections in each lesson.

A huge thanks to everyone who has been part of this Live Version – what a fantastic group and inspiration you have been!

The Buildings course remains open as a Self-Paced Course – so if you want to improve your sketching of buildings you can sign up at any time and work through the lessons at your own pace. Find out more about Buildings here.




  • Ginie Udy says:

    Thank you Liz for another wonderful course! Your skill, generosity and guidance continue to inspire!

    I decided to pause my participation in November while I worked on my Christmas seaglass pictures. I can’t wait to complete the course in Jan/Feb while the Live Watercolour course is unfolding. I’m eager to hear the program for the rest of 2024: any hints yet?

    And I’m also loving my newly acquired Caran D’Ache Neo II crayons. Only three colours so far but the ease, depth and texture they bring is delightful.

  • Jamie C says:

    Love seeing so many of your sketches from class! It has been wonderful going through it again!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jamie – lots I didn’t even share in the livestreams (too many other important things to discuss and go through) Was great to have you in the group!

  • Judy Nobes says:

    Hi Liz,, thanks so much for an amazing course. I am working my way through it and totally thrilled with the progress I have made, lots of practice and repetition for me and it’s working.
    I love the way you break buildings down and now find myself looking at them differently .
    So excited to be learning new skills and totally enjoyable with your relaxed joyful manner . Thanks Liz and Chantal.

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