SketchingNow Foundations Questions

October 21, 2014 | 11 Comments

I am not intending for my blog to change and become post after post flogging my online course or other products… however my SketchingNow course is an organic extension of my blog and rather than reducing the daily content I have high hopes that it will improve it. My SketchingNow weekly sketching adventures around Sydney will be shared here (though of course the instructional component will be reserved for the Foundations class !)

So before I start on SketchingNow stuff…. here are my sketches from today.
Naturally I am thinking all the time about the course content and what prompts I will suggest each week.While this sketch of three bottles is not exactly any of the exercises from the course it is  a combination of various ideas.
Today I was thinking, how important it is for me to test out new ideas and really understand concepts at home with simple subject matter before trying it out on location. In a way that is the heart  of my SketchingNow approach. And what I was doing with those bottles I shortly afterwards applied to the above sketch of a lovely house that I pass on my way home from the gym.

Here are a few general questions I have received about SketchingNow Foundations…. most are a clarification of what is described in the foundations page rather than new information. Please email me or ask any more questions in the comment section.

Why have a course during Xmas/New Year? It is a crazy time of the year! 
– The festive season is full of exciting times that are perfect to be recorded in a sketchbook. The course has been designed to help you sketch regularly – or as least do something during this crazy time. There will be no elaborate exercises that require you to go out and track down a specific subject matter. Each weeks concept is best understood by a simple exercise that can be done in under an hour at home (after dinner with a cup of tea handy is perfect!) Finding this quiet creative time during crazy busy season is a good thing to aim for!
– Here in Australia (and other southern hemisphere countries) it is our summer break and a PERFECT time to have our sketchbooks out! I am hoping that many of my Australian readers will join and share their work.

What if I go away for a week or two with limited(or zero) internet – will I miss out too much?
– A lot of people will be busy and travelling…. so the course has been designed to be ‘low intensity’ only one concept a week. The lesson will be an instructional blog post which comes into your email inbox (video will be supplementary) – so you can carry it with you on your mobile device or in a printout, There are levels to each lesson which means if you have more time you can develop the concept further… but if you are busy you can get the main idea and be thinking about it all week.
– If you do not have internet access for a short period of time, say 2 weeks, as each lesson ties into the previous it will be easy to combine the exercises for two or three weeks into one – especially the object based exercises.  On occasions I will do that myself (exactly what I did today!)
– Over Christmas/New Year period there will be a least one ‘break’ week – where there is no new content. There will still be a lesson – a revision of previous weeks with examples of combining different concepts together. It will also provide an opportunity to catchup
– The final week is a review week which will represent a wrap-up and review of some participants work – another chance to catch up if needed.

It will be the middle of winter for me – what can I sketch?
– I will be giving indoor prompts as well as outdoor prompts each week – most of these outdoor prompts will not be buildings. But as the course is all about concepts you can always apply these to any subject that suits – I am sure that together we can come up with lots of ideas.
– I hope that it will not be too hard  for your northern hemisphere-rs to bear that we down under are at the beach!!!

I live in a rural area with no architecture here – it that a problem?
– This is not a dedicated architecture sketching course so there is no need to have lots of fancy buildings at your doorstep or warm weather for sitting outside and sketching them.
– The course is all about sketching the everyday – where ever you are!

Will I have to draw teacups? I am more interested in architecture!
(this is not a ‘frequently ‘asked question but I am sure that some of you have been wondering about it!?)
– You will not have to draw a single teacup!! I promise!
– However, I can’t promise that the course will be teacup free as teacups ARE brilliant subjects for explaining a lot of concepts. I will be explaining and demonstrating with a huge variety of subject matter –  naturally being an architect I will be drawing a lot of buildings but also simplifying complex scenes and finding small details that tell a story.

What about total beginners?

– I have designed the course for beginners… we go at a slow pace and I will take time to explain the core concepts and show you how at apply them.
– Art isn’t easy – it doesn’t come naturally to any of us – but if you understand the foundations you will know how to develop your skills… and you will have more fun!
– What I will be teaching is the framework and I will encourage you continue to work on and research more these concepts during or after the course (depending on your time availability) I strongly recommend going through Betty Edwards “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”  and/or Bert Dobson “Keys to Drawings”
– There will be a mixed group in the course so it is very important that beginners do not start comparing themselves with others that have been working at their craft for months, years, decades!

Are there any ‘live’ components to your course? sessions where we can participate in real time?
– No ‘live’ online sessions – however I am trying to finalise some workshops in Sydney during the period to provide participants with hands on location sketching. These will be announced in my November newsletter due out Tuesday 4 Nov.
– Lessons will be put together the week before so it will be ‘fresh’ and provide me the opportunity to adjust content if needed.

Will all your course content & any sessions be accessible via ipad?
– The lessons will be posted to the SketchingNow wordpress site in a private classroom. So it will read exactly like the website does now.
– Video will be embedded vimeo videos. The videos will be supplementary – the core content is the written, images and notated diagrams.

Is there a limit to enrolments?

– I do not intend to close enrolment before 12 Nov.

When will you offer the course again?
– I have no immediate plans to offer a re-run of this course – I have a number of future courses planned for next year which will use the Foundations content as a basis. This course is unique.

Will there be a watercolour lesson each week? Do I need to buy a watercolour kit to do the course?

– The course is sharing foundational concepts for fast sketching on location but is not a specifically ink and watercolour technique class. I will be doing demos with ink and watercolour (but not necessarily every week with watercolour) so you will pick up a LOT of tips over the 12 weeks.
– I believe teaching concepts empowers you more than just techniques.

When will the material list be posted so we can go shopping????
– There are not a lot of requirements (copying text from the sketchingnow site below) but a more detailed list for those that want new toys will be posted later this week.

There are no specific requirements however basic recommendations are a medium pencil (2B or 4B), a permanent fineliner pen 0.3 size and some form of colour (watercolour pencils or watercolour paint or coloured pencils).
I will be demonstrating using a range of materials – mostly ink and watercolour – but it is more important to use what you are familiar with. More detailed material list will be provided in the class blog on registration. There will be no need to go and spend a lot of money up front getting any of my art tools!

Please contact me directly if you have any other questions about signing up – paypal etc.

Subscribe to my mailing list for my monthly newsletters including first notification of my new SketchingNow Online Sketching Courses and face-to-face workshops.


  • You are always so full of information Liz. But the sketches and information makes your blog wonderful.

  • rosjenke says:

    Great post. I'm really looking forward to the course. I have one question – do you have a source for pens in Aus. I have an old fountain pen with Quink ink that leaks like crazy – drives me nuts but I would like to sketch with pen and ink. Thanks Ros

  • Nukiart says:

    So looking forward to this course and yes, as a Canadian, I most definitely will be envying you the beach!

  • Linda says:

    I've bought a pair of fingerless mittens for the course. (Yes, I'm in the cold area—) I
    s it possible for you to list the materials this week? I'm specifically interested in the color]ed pencils you suggest and watercolor colors.

  • Karen says:

    I just purchased Betty Edwards' book so was glad to see you recommend it. I just started drawing this summer (took "Seeing"), so I'm quite a beginner. I'm so looking forward to this class, and have enjoyed your blog ever since Sketchbook Skool.

  • Liz Steel says:

    excellent Karen – looking forward to you being part of the class. And you cant go wrong with working through Bettys book!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Go lInda!!!! working on the list now!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Nukiart! it will be hard I know…but will be sending you virtual and visual sunshine! I cant wait!

  • Liz Steel says:

    HI Ros – a lot of us use the lamy pen – Larrypost or the Art Scene can help you. If oyu mention my name they will know (esp Larry Post!)

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks Crimson leaves – and especially thank you for all your lovely comments- every day!

  • Lawrence Goldfarb says:

    Can you tell how to set up for sharing sketches during the course? BTW thanks for trimming my pallet to 6 plus 2 others I just couldn't drop. Great for those color challenged guys.

Leave a Reply