Video: Sighting and Measuring Angles

September 2, 2016 | 19 Comments

I want to share this video with you today showing my favourite ways of sighting and measuring angles when sketching buildings out on location (click here if embedded video doesn’t play for you).

Many people make perspective a barrier to sketching buildings – is that you?

I believe that the most important thing is to simply build on your observational skills and ability to see angles more accurately and get them on the page.


I originally planned this video to be part of SketchingNow Buildings lesson 1. But I thought it might be better to share it publicly with a wider audience. Not to mention the fact that Lesson 1 already has lots of content!

So do you struggle drawing angles when sketching buildings?
What is the method you currently use?
Please make this article more helpful to everyone by sharing your approach with us in the comment section.


Click here for more about SketchingNow Buildings


  • Fabiana Boiman says:

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing it, Liz! 🙂

  • Hi Liz, thank you for the tips.
    Sometimes I use a different way of measuring. I hold the sketchbook in the air, and then I align my pencil with the angle, lock the angle and bring it to my paper. It helps to check the angles I have already drawn.

  • Carole Jurack says:

    Great tips … to break down sketching a huge building! I use the hand/eye coordination and find it is pretty accurate. Glad you mentioned that as one of your favorite tips! Counting the days until next week!!!

  • Suzanne says:

    A wonderful simple to follow video! Thanks!

  • Serena Lewis says:

    Fantastic tips, Liz….thanks!

  • diane harvey says:

    someone gave me a handy little tool made with a metal brad & two strips of card stock. it easily adjusts as you use it to measure the building angles and then carry them down to your sketchbook. problem is, i tend to forget to use it! (unfortunately, i can’t seem to post a picture of it here!)

  • Lauren says:

    Great tips Liz. Thank you. Using the clock as a reference is fantastic!! Looking forward to the class on Wednesday.

  • Excellent range of tips! I forget to use the clock option – usually checking the angle aligned with my pen instead (and often accidentally changing the angle between the air and my page!) But your visual guide for the clock here is inspiring me to use it, and would help me to keep a constant angle between what I see and what I draw.

  • Gail Bartel says:

    Thanks Liz!
    Perspective is one of that hardest skills I have to teach, I’m an elementary school art teacher. The hands of the clock will be an especially helpful technique even just talking to the students about where the angle should be.

  • Sue Chesley says:

    Thank you, Liz..I’m totally new to your site, but SO happy I found your blog! I’m relatively new to sketching, so will love to tale some of your classes. Can you tell me what kind ink you use in your fountain pen that is, I assume, waterproof? Thank you!

  • I can see, I’m sooo going to love the course commecing next week. Roll on Wednesday….

  • Excellent tips Liz! I’m like Chantal – accidentally changing the angle between the air and my sketchbook. I’m going to give your clock technique a crack!

  • Agata says:

    Thanks for sharing your tips, Liz! The clock technique is very helpful.

  • Christell says:

    Merci pour ces conseils.
    J’utilise plusieurs d’entre eux mais je n’avais jamais pensĂ© Ă  l’horloge. C’est un conseil fantastique que je vais adopter.

    Bonne journée

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank you for these tips! I struggle so much with perspective and am determined to figure it out. Cannot wait to try these tips.

  • Helen says:

    The clock method is very helpful. I also have an articulated ruler (bends in two) which is helpful for measuring and translating angles.

  • Anne says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am driving myself batty trying to accurately reproduce angles. By eye-hand coordination do you mean that you keep your eyes on the object rather than on the paper while drawing?

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