Sketching Architecture In Brazil... and Sydney too!

February 11, 2014 | 5 Comments

Well I guess most, if not all of you know that I am an architect and that I just LOVE drawing buildings. For me, sketching architecture is not scary or dull/boring… it is a lot of fun. It doesn’t move and doesn’t complain if you don’t get a true likeness. I don’t worry about achieving perfect proportion and these days rarely think about all those ‘scary rules of perspective.

Instead I just love feeling the edges with my pen in my hand, and getting to know the character of the building in an exploratory way.  By doing this, I engage and connect in a real way with the people that designed and built it (or even that paint it crazy colours!).My work is becoming freer and more exploratory the more I sketch… and this means I am enjoying it more and more!

I feel very strongly that perspective is not the main point! What we as sketchers should focus on, is understanding the way a building is put together, its volumes, its structure, its opening, its details… the rhythm that these elements create and how its edges help to create drama with light and shadow. When we understand this, perspective is then a tool to help us see these edges in space …but if we can’t distinguish between the hierarchy of the edges, perspective can become overwhelming.

I am very excited and honoured that my workshop “Feeling the Edges: A tactile approach to sketching architecture” has been accepted for the upcoming Urban Sketchers Symposium in Paraty Brazil! I am very excited!!! (oops…I have already said that!)

The details of my workshop will be posted on the Symposium site soon, but I do plan to share ideas and my warmups leading up to my big trip to Brazil right here and on my sketching architecture blog.

The workshop is based on the foundation Sketching Classes and Workshop that I did in Sydney in November. I had a lot of fun sharing my ideas with a heap of local sketchers here and was quite blown away by the work they all did!

If you are in Sydney and free on Saturday 22 February, I will be holding another session of my 
Sketching Architecture: The Rocks workshop. 

This workshop is suitable for all levels as we start with lines and boxes before moving on to real buildings. We move around The Rocks area – a wonderfully interesting part of Sydney, with a range of different styles of buildings, history and culture.

I am really looking for to running the workshop again and have some new material and at least one different building to sketch.

If you are not so keen on sketching buildings all day, but still want a day sketching in The Rocks,  on Saturday 01 March, I am running another workshop “Exploring the Rocks”.

This is like a travel sketching workshop in your own city – capture the essence of The Rocks in your sketchbook in one day. I will be sharing my core concepts for sketching on location – how to start, how to focus, how to simplify, how to use ink and watercolour together. We just might manage a cafe visit in this workshop as well!

Both workshop have spaces available! Please email me if you are interested.


  • Jodi Wiley says:

    Liz, your description of sketching architecture here is like poetry. Beautiful! And I love the title of your Symposium workshop. How very exciting! Congratulations on the workshop – I'm sure it will be amazing!

  • This is a wonderful post. I love to draw buildings and houses too. People often comment to me how nicely I've captured the perspective, and I don't tell them that I often just 'eyeball' it, rather than measuring every angle and line for precision. I think you're so right, that it's the essence of the structure that we want to capture, the personality, not the technical aspects so much.

  • Liz Steel says:

    thankyou… I haven't really warmed up yet with what I could say about why I love architecture!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Katherine. Your work is so beautiful … using the rules of perspective helps you see better but it is right before us! Character is better than accuracy!!!

  • I love your blog! very beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing

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