A collection of domed building sketches

October 2, 2023 | 10 Comments

One of the things that I love about doing a group event inside my Buildings course is the Building of the Week challenge. Each week I sketch a new ‘hard’ building – choosing from a list of suggestions from the group. Last week someone mentioned buildings with domes and so I started doing a little research. I realised that I have sketched a LOT of domed buildings over the years.

So I thought I would put a little collection together.

This is also very topical as I’ve just started reading a book about the Italian Renaissance (the logical next book to read after the Cathedrals of England which I discussed previously) and I just read all about the Florence Cathedral dome.


The first image contains some notes and sketches I did after reading Ross King’s book “Brunelleschi’s Dome” in 2001.


And I also have to share this page from architectural studies following a trip to England in 2000 (see more about these drawings here).

Now let’s begin with my domed building sketches done on location throughout the years. You’ll notice that these sketches vary in style and technique and that there are lots of different types of domes.

You’ll also notice that I normally sketch domes loosely – not worrying about creating a beautiful soft gradation with my watercolour washes. As mentioned a number of times here on my blog and in my SketchingNow courses I love hard edges!

Let’s start at the beginning…


This is from my first overseas sketching trip in 2007 – a really quick sketch (under 10 minutes) trying to capture the amazing view before my friend got too upset with me. She was impatient to get into the cathedral itself.


More recently: The same view was sketched from a photo during my 2020 Virtual trip.


And a looser paint-only version of the dome I did a few years before that.


I was actually in the company of Jim and Patti Richards at the time so I just have to include a photo, don’t I?

Continuing with Italian domes…


Here is a 2010 sketch of Bramante’s San Pietro Tempietto from my big Long Service Leave trip.


And a different type of dome – Borromini’s S. Ivo (from the same trip)


Moving along to Venice… three versions of Santa Maria della Salute. This one from 2016…


the 2017 version…


and 2019.

Of course, I have sketches of other domed buildings in Venice – San Marco, San Giorgio Maggiore, Redentore but here is one more…


San Simeone Piccolo (from a 2016 visit).


Still in Italy – a quick dome in Vicenza from the top of the Basilica


And a little Palladio – two versions of his Tempietto in Maser – 2016


and 2019.


In London


A quick sketch of St Pauls – just before I headed to the airport (2013 trip)…

And the dome of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square from 2016


One final sketch from Europe…
Some crazy domes in Barcelona – done during an amazing Jujol sketching day with Swasky


I have a number of domed building sketches done in North America but the building that stands out is the city hall in Pasadena.


I did so many sketches of this building during my stay in 2018.

And then to switch cultures…


Three mosques in Singapore from three visits 2012-2105. The Blue Mosque


The Yellow Mosque


And the Sultan Mosque.


Moving closer to home… another favourite building to sketch – Flinders St Station in Melbourne.


I have sketched this building so much that it has its own tag.


A JimmyB in Goulburn and…


The War Memorial in Canberra. (Both of these were from my big road trip in 2021)


Last but not least here in Sydney – the Queen Victoria Building. This sketch was done just after my trip to Pasadena mentioned above.


And finally one from earlier in the year.

Now that we are in summertime, I’ll try and do some more QVB domes.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing all these domed buildings. Putting this article together has made me even more excited to go through my Buildings course again (the Live Version starts this week on Wednesday and it’s not too late to join – find out more here.)

Architecture can be SOOO much fun to sketch!


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