Some 2016 Planning

January 1, 2016 | 4 Comments


Happy New Year Everyone!

I wasn’t necessarily going to do a blogpost today, but somehow I felt the urge to share with you how I spent the first morning of the new year.

To quote from my Instagram:
Trying to keep myself in a holiday mood I pulled out my UK maps to start planning for the big trip THIS year.  Now where shall I go? (apart from Manchester for the USK symposium) 

I then pulled out the two sketchbooks that took me a year to complete at the end of my first trip to the UK in 2000.

I spent an entire year doing research projects on all the buildings I visited (it was a three week visit to England and Scotland) and then summarised them in notated drawings – plans, elevations, axonometrics, sectional perspectives –  which I scanned and then added to (old-style) photo albums.

Here are a few pages from those two sketchbooks. They were all created from multiple photographic sources, maps and architectural drawings, and all done using an Artline 0.4 and 0.6 fineliner with pencil setup lines. One of my goals with this project was to improve my drawing and it certainly did!

I might be a shock for some of you to see such neat ‘Liz-sketches’ but I can easily ‘do neat’ when I am sitting at a drawing board.

Over the years I have spend a lot of time reading and learning about Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture and English Architecture, particularly of the same period (Jones, Wren, Gibbs, Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh etc). Back in 2000 was really up on all the different periods of English Gothic as well, but feel a bit rusty now. 

I particularly love the way the English were inspired by the architecture of Palladio. So it is exciting to get back to this subject!

All of these years of research and hours and hours of doing drawings like these are the big secret behind the speed at which I can now sketch complex buildings.

Anyway… I think that this first morning’s activity might be setting an architectural theme for the year- what do you think?

And just for the record, I have been to the UK 10 times (9 times to Scotland) and have visited many of the buildings on my architectural hit list – most before I was sketching! But these days I am more interested in urban spaces and streetscapes than just iconic buildings. This opens up the range of possibilities even more – oh no! How to decide where to go???

SketchingNow Online Sketching Courses: Foundations Self Directed course start today!


  • Adrienne Hamilton says:

    Hi Liz – would welcome an architectural course! I find I need a building in the picture when I sketch and find that is what I enjoy doing most. Shall look forward to doing another course with you!

  • Bob says:

    If you are coming to the UK to look at buildings then, please, take some time away from the big stuff and have a look at our vernacular the real buildings of the ordinary people over the last 1000 years. There is much to see (and greatly enjoy) and quite a lot is currently poorly documented. Shropshire is a good place to start and the towns of Ludlow and Bridgenorth are essentially medieval towns with a warren of back streets where fashion over the ages has added regency fronts and roccoco dorrways and edwardian bays etc….you could spend days just looking and sketching and each house offers something new. Then their are the medieval cities such as Shrewsbury and, a liitle further away, Chester (my faveourite city…i don’t live there sadly) here you can visit a bookshop with a medieval gothic basement/crypt then go up to the tudor floors and then up to the Georgian top floor…….

    …..Nearer to London you might visit Chatham Royal Dock Yard and visit the wooden 17th century buildings where the big wooden warships were laid out as oak ribs before tranfering outside to the dock and also the ‘ropery’ over 1/4 mile long and still in action……much to see and sketch in Chatham and along the Thames former industrial areas.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks so much for those suggestions Bob – I am hoping for some more vernacular sketching!

Leave a Reply