The right way to draw a Gothic doorway?

June 24, 2024 | 3 Comments

My church has a fancy Gothic doorway surrounding the front door, which is pretty tricky to draw.

A few weeks ago, I turned up early for our mid-week meeting and decided to sketch it. I started with the outside and outlined the gabled porch first.

Halfway into the sketch, I realised that this wasn’t the best approach as the doors turned out too narrow! And so I decided that it would be easier to work the other way – from the inside out.

The other day, I got a chance to have another go, and yes, starting with the door was much better.

Not only was it easier to get the proportions right but it helped with all the complex shafts and arched mouldings surrounding the door. I didn’t get to finish the sketch as my parents turned up and I was able to go inside and get out of the cold.

But I like it in its incomplete state as it shows the way I was working.

Finally, I know that the title of this article is a little provocative. There is no right way to draw a Gothic doorway, but starting with the door and working outwards certainly helped me in this instance.

I often find that mid-sketch I realise that I should have sketched the scene in a different order. And so when I’m sketching the same thing over and over again I get a chance to re-do it the ‘right way’.

Is this something that you have experienced too?


  • Lois Courtright says:

    It’s great that you have the guts
    to just start!
    see what happens!
    learn from it!
    try again!
    and again!

    Thank you, Liz!

    • London Yazgan says:

      I will second that, Lois! 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiments and insights, Liz!

  • Patricia Wafer says:

    Interesting post and yes I have noticed the same thing. Maybe when drawing a building sort of head on like that it would be a good idea of making sure the door is correct and starting from the inside of the sketch. Also maybe when there’s one component whose size really needs to be correct for the rest of the object or building to be correct and be good to start with that one. I will try to tuck that away in my memory! And I like the sketch being partly unfinished because it does show the process and also aesthetically it appeals to me. Another good thing to remember!

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