Sketching Architecture: It's all about structure

August 30, 2017 | 5 Comments

Even when I am sketching loosely (that’s 99% time of the time) I always think of structure first.

I did this post-sketch analysis of the Fine Arts Building in Chicago to explain what I saw at the time just when I started to sketch it. In the class I taught for Sketchbook Skool 2 weeks ago I explained the process of doing thumbnails but I have a more elaborate process – my seven step system which I explain in SketchingNow Buildings.

This building had the type of design that I adore sketching – lots of variations within a fairly simple grid. Or so I thought at the time.

In fact it had a more complicated grid and more variations that I initially observed and it would have been better for me to have done a little more analysis before I started! It would have been a perfect subject for using my seven step system. But, oh well, you live and learn!

If you are interested in my Buildings course, click here for more information.


  • Tim Malloy says:

    Liz – I’m a recent subscriber to your blog. I’ve also just begun working through your fundamentals course and am enjoying it very much. I’ve been trying to put my finger on just what it is that I enjoy so much about your sketching style and it came to me when looking at the drawing in this post… Your work reminds me of what Miles Davis used to say about playing jazz – the notes you don’t play are every bit as important as those you do. Thanks for offering your insights in your bogs and courses…they’re a real treat for me!


  • Nice to see your analysis of the building, Liz!

  • Debi Kistler says:

    Just started taking your buildings course and I am so excited! I have been drawing buildings for years, but don’t attempt really complicated ones because they overwhelm me. I love the analysis of your “HOW” in drawing a building with this much stuff going on.

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