Sketching Architecture in Brazil... coming up!

July 31, 2014 | Leave your thoughts

(Firstly – so great to get all those comments from my post yesterday about the giveaway. It is so lovely to hear from people for the first time- it means a lot to me!)

Sigh… so much going on at the moment. Apart from planning my own classes, and preparing for the enormous week coming up as teacher of Week 6 “Seeing’ for Sketchbook Skool … I am preparing for a trip to Brazil for the 5th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Paraty as one of the instructors. I am one of only 5 people that have been to all 4 previous symposiums and this is my second time that I have been chosen to teach. I am just so excited and honoured not only to travel to a part of the world I never expected to visit, but to share my love of sketching architecture again!

My workshop is called Feeling The Edges – A tactile Approach to Architecture. You can read the description in full on the Symposium blog but here is the main part

Trusting your own personal response to a building is far more important when sketching architecture than achieving absolutely accurate proportions or perfect perspective. I don’t think so much about the bricks and mortar as I do the skill that designed and put it all together. The act of sketching becomes more than just observing an inanimate object – it generates an exciting personal connection with the mind (and often genius) of the original creator and even the culture of a different era.

I am after a more tactile experience than simply abstracting the shapes of colour – I want to feel the edges, handle the volumes and understand the forms that are creating the drama of light and dark I am seeing.

In this workshop I want to share my approach to becoming acquainted with architecture and how it enables me to sketch in a more expressive way. Concerns about perspective are secondary to exploring and responding to the character of the building – understanding its structure and forms, edges,  thicknesses, details and feeling it in a tactile way.

We will be exploring these ideas with one of the signature buildings in Paraty- Santa Rita. You can see some of my thinking doodles above and a sneak peak at my handout (now finished – yay!)


Over the last few weeks I have looking for a church in Sydney (roughly in my local area) that I could use as an example. After much google searching I found one.

Chester St Uniting Church in Epping.  Although stylistically it is radically different from Santa Rita the basic elements are the same.

This is the sketch of did of it yesterday  (for those of you following my sketchbook testing this is using the Stillman & Birn Beta paper which I love – but still in the process of getting to know it as it behaves quite different from the moleskine watercolour) I am hoping to get back to sketch the church again in the next fortnight and do a more expressive version.

Here are three of the diagrams from the handout as a little tease … Of course I will be posting as much as I can during the trip so that those that can’t make it to Paraty can follow along.

BTW my week coming up with Sketchbook Skool contains a similar approach…so those doing that will get a feel for the Paraty workshop (sorry for the pun!)

And finally just a brief word on the ‘dreaded p-word’…

I do think that an understanding of perspective is important but it is not essential… understanding and responding to the building is want matters most. If you are interested in my approach to teaching perspective check out this report from last November when we were “Sketching Architecture in the Rocks”

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