It's On Again! Why I love running my interactive SketchingNow online classes

September 1, 2015 | 7 Comments

Well the final proof read of the written component and the videos are uploaded… and everything is ready to go for my second online sketching course, Edges, starting tomorrow!

Running the Foundations course (Nov 2014) was the most incredible experience, I have never had a more ‘full on’ 13 weeks of my life – I never worked so hard, but also never felt more rewarded through my efforts. It was truly humbling to see the sketches of so many people working through my exercises and the inspiration I received from that can not be put into words.

But right now, I have the content ready to go (well Lesson 1 for starters) and am waiting in anticipation for all the interaction that will soon start. Edges is more conceptual than Foundations so I expect that there will be a lot of stimulating discussions and plenty of inspiring sketches from the group. I am not simply doing demos of the way I work, but am sharing exercises to make us think differently… and I am often stretched when I do them too!

I had no idea of what I was in for the first time around, but still there is this exciting unknown before me right now! Plus the pressure caused by the reality that the clock is really ticking – that each week I have to produce a lesson. Like last time, I will be putting each lesson together on a weekly basis, though I have done significantly more work before day 1 this time – so that is a big improvement! I LOVE this slightly insane method as I am able to refine or tweak the content based on what happens the week before and I also feel like I am working along with the group! It is akin to working on a fast track construction project which I did often as an architect.

I also LOVE reviewing all the work done on a weekly basis, and summarising the different responses in a feedback post. It gives me a chance to re-emphasise certain points and pave the way for the next lesson. It is particularly special when people write about their process, as feel as if I am sitting next to them in a face to face class. Blogging is often a lonely almost one sided affair… I write and post copiously in return for a handful of comments. I know people read my blog, but I don’t have any idea of who they are. Running an online class gives me a chance to get to know a selection of my readers a lot better. And once again it is a great honour to be able to share my approach in this more structured way.

I have loved filming more urban sketching demos this time and it is exciting to be able to share the full story about what goes on while I sketch – more about this soon!

And I am very excited to be resuming my SketchingNow Adventures – the first one will be posted tomorrow!

Just briefly, I have been asked how is Edges different from Foundations. Well, in Foundations we were looking a the basic concepts for observational drawing – feeling edges, abstracting shapes and constructing volumes. We looked at some strategies to get us sketching out on location but didn’t really go into many concepts for creating a strong focus and creating a sense of depth. I think a lot of these concepts are explain by looking at edges!

In Edges we will be looking at how the shapes and edges of different objects in space interact. In these summary diagrams of my ‘Foundations yellow chair’,  the last image represents what we will be looking at in Edges – my little chair in the context of the garden.

Ok… better get back to work. Lesson 1 might be completed, and Lesson 2 in good shape but Lesson 3 is calling for some attention!

I do hope that you can join me SketchingNow tomorrow!

UPDATE: this article was written during the first run of the course, but Edges is open for enrollment today!


Find out more about SketchingNow Edges



  • SusanA says:

    >I know people read my blog, but I don’t have any idea of who they are.<

    Let me introduce myself, Liz! I'm Susan. I live with my husband and two Shelties in southwestern Ohio, USA. I'm a Christian, I'm (mostly) paleo, and I'm creative. I was first introduced to you and your work in SBS Seeing. Now, I follow (and appreciate!) your blog, and I would love to take one of your online classes–but that will have to wait until I complete the three others I'm currently enrolled in. I know your in-depth courses will require my full attention!

  • Barkleigh2 says:

    Liz, I'll add my thanks for all that you have given me in the first Foundations course last fall, I'm still going back and repracticing the techniques and ideas. I've signed up for the Edges course and I can't wait for tomorrow, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, anticipating the presents to be opened in the morning after Santa has paid his visit. I'm a retired corporate manager who spent the last 12 working years in an immensely interesting job at Harvard. I live in a suburb of Boston with a long-time friend, I try to travel to Europe annually–sometimes on retiree income, it has to be biannually. I sketch quite a bit, I paint with two groups on a weekly basis during the fall-winter-spring season, one in Plymouth, Massachusetts, one in Cambridge, Mass.–the latter group has been painting continually, first with an instructor and then on our own, since the early 1980s. Art has become a large part of my life. I've an outlet for my "good" paintings and have sold nearly 100 over the last 10 years. I've won a few minor awards, and spend a lot of time reading sketching posts online. I also have signed up for the Craftsy course of Marc Taro Holmes. I rely on your experience and sketching wisdom, and again, I can't tell you how much your instruction has helped me along with my developing sketching skills. THANK YOU!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Ros- glad you are enjoying it!
    I only run one course interactively… the others will be self directed (work at your own pace) and I did provide a break in Foundations to allow for that. This year has been very compressed… and I do plan to separate the 'self directed schedule' for Foundations with my 'live' course in future!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Barkleigh!!!!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks so much Susan- glad to meet you!!!!

  • RosC says:

    Hi Liz, I'm currently doing Foundations and learning so much. I love this newly discovered enjoyment and dare I say, new skill. I want to let you know that I am sad that Edges is running concurrently with Foundations as I would have loved doing the interactive course with you. It's impossible for me to tackle both at once (confess I'm behind with my classes as it is and going like the clappers to catch up). Just a thought. Thoroughly enjoy your blog and generous advice. About to invest in De Atrementis ink for my new black Lamy Joy. Cheers, Ros.

  • Nice Article. Thank you for sharing.

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