Teaching a workshop for Interior Designers and Architects

October 14, 2022 | 5 Comments

Yesterday afternoon I taught a sketching workshop for the team at Alexander and Co – an interior design firm in Bondi Junction.

I had met one of the staff in a local cafe a number of months ago because she noticed I was using a fountain pen. And it turns out that it’s company policy to use fountain pens. So you can imagine how amazing it was for me to see everyone with a Lamy pen.

But seriously, as cool as the fountain usage is,  I was more excited to understand more fully how important hand drawing is to their practice. Here is a link to a video on Instagram where the Principal discusses this theme.


The workshop was held in the kitchen area of their offices – and as you would expect it was a very nice space to work in!

During the first half of the workshop we went through the Three Ways of Seeing from my Foundations course

… feeling edges, abstracting shapes and constructing volumes. (BTW the Principal’s son joined us for a little while.)

And then we applied these concepts to interior scenes – working from some photos of their recent projects.

Here is the final ‘throwdown’ with some blind contour portraits included!

As for what I was teaching in regard to sketching interiors…

These images show you some of the main ideas.

This workshop made me realise a few things:

  • Apart from cafe views, I don’t sketch many interiors. I should change that.
  • I have a few concepts for sketching interiors that I haven’t fully developed. So I’m now really keen to work on them more
  • Chairs are hard to draw. 🙂
  • There is a big difference between sketching from observation and design drawing. These designers need to be able to draw possible furniture in an imagined space, and this is in fact much harder than drawing what exists in front of you.

Ah! It was so great to be teaching people from the architecture/interior industry again and to be reminded of some drawing themes that I was exploring in the final months/years of working as an architect 10 years ago. Thanks to the gang at Alexander & Co for such an amazing session yesterday!


  • Zoe says:

    So delighted to learn a company promotes fountain pens, discovered you in a cafe and got a class.

  • kimberly bee says:

    This is wonderful to see. I’m an interior designer and have followed your work for many years- very beautiful and so inspiring!
    Would you- maybe- consider- doing a virtual course like this for ID’s and Architects (any anyone else…)? Pleeeeeeease?! Thx Liz!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Kimberley – it’s certainly on my list but I still have to develop some strategies! 🙂
      There is also a huge difference between sketching interiors from observation and doing design drawings. I find one-point interior sketches are often too wide and a bit flat so trying to find ways of adapting my observational strategies (drawing furniture first and perspective at the end) to design sketching.

      • kimberly bee says:

        Thank you! I’ve certainly improved my sketching (of interiors and all things) with the techniques that I have learned from you. Keep up the great work!

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