Foundations Friday 4: Constructing Volumes

January 29, 2016 | Leave your thoughts


This week for Foundations Friday I will be looking at the third way of seeing (visual thinking) : constructing volumes.

Most artists focus on the first two ways of seeing, drawing with lines or painting with shapes. However as an architect, my brain is wired to think in terms of volumes – I have been trained to see everything in this particular way – so I began my creative journey seeing volumes and how they sit in space. One of the dangers of working this approach, particularly for beginners, is that they will draw everything as a symbol from an aerial point of view, and not from their actual point of view. So there is a real need to always combine this approach with the first two!


A ‘constructing volumes’ approach often includes using pencil construction lines and perceptive setups, but it doesn’t have to. Nor does it have to be done with an obsession with accuracy – none of the sketches in this post are carefully drawn!

Its all about seeing through objects and working in a structured way that starts with the volumes of the objects. The opening image shows you how I was THINKING volumes even though I was working extremely fast (the sketch only took me 4 minutes to draw.) Somehow thinking about constructing volumes helps my sketch look more solid than just abstracting shapes, even if it is drawn quickly and loosely.


As always, there is a lot more I could share – but hey, that is what the Foundations lesson is all about! So here are a few volume based sketches I did this week – some with intentionally heavy pencil setup lines so you can see what I was thinking.



I will be taking a little break from Foundations Friday next week – but I will be able to explore the related theme of pencil setup lines a little more soon.

This is part of a series Foundations Friday where I am revisiting the lessons of my Foundations online class, and exploring the concepts in a new way. To find out more about the course click here.

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