My favourite type of urban scene to sketch

June 30, 2023 | 8 Comments

A week or so ago I had a ‘zoom’ catch up with my friend Frannie from Belgium. We do this every few months and often sketch from photos of her recent travels (she travels much more than I’m doing these days!) This time she was just back from Scotland and so during our 2-hour call I was able to do these three sketches from a few small fishing villages in Fife.

I was concentrating more on our conversation so these are examples of what I call reflex sketching.

If you were to ask me “what is your favourite thing to sketch when out urban sketching?” my answer would be… street scenes with lots of overlapping shapes. The bottom two sketches in this spread are exactly that! I prefer these types of scenes to ones looking down a straight street with lots of foreshortening.

Here are close-ups of each sketch.

This third one was a little rushed and I didn’t do the middle-ground justice (forgot to zoom in to work out what I was looking at!)

It was really fun to fill a double-page spread with three sketches and it made me realise that when I go out sketching these days I typically do one sketch per spread. As I’m using an A4 book this means I’m working quite large. So in the coming weeks, I’m going to make a more conscious effort to work smaller and do multiple sketches on the one spread.

Doing these sketches has also got me thinking… where in Sydney can I go to find these types of scenes?

I do miss Scotland… but this year I don’t need to visit as ‘Scotland’ (ie. my sister and family) have come to me!

Finally – does anyone recognise these towns? I don’t have the names of them and would like to add this info to my page.



  • Lesley Childs says:

    The beach scene and the very red roofs like like Pittenweem, Scotland…

  • Armande Tremblay says:

    I’ve been doing oil painting for over 30 years, but lately it became harassing since I live in a RPA and do not have much space for an easel and all my stuff… So I saw your work and your comments about watercolor and decided to give it a try. I love your work il is very refreshing
    Thank you,

  • Kenneth Williams says:

    I thought Pittenweem at first as well. However, the curved tower in the background and the curving, walled street look very much like Culross.

  • Isabel. Patchett says:

    Oh Liz what beautiful scenes and the colours are so beautiful. I absolutely love your way of painting such scenes and I cannot wait to get to this stage of painting out and about , goodness knows how long it will take but I am enjoying the learning along the way. I am from Scotland then in the 1940’s-50’s for me, a small village called Kirkliston not far from Edinburgh but I believe that a freeway goes around the village now so have no idea what it would be like . I was so lucky to spend my early years in such a lovely place so these little paintings mean so much to me. I have seen many paintings you have done of Scotland so got the feeling that you love it there. Thank you for showing these to us Liz. Isabel

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