What do you want to see more of?

February 22, 2021 | 75 Comments

As I’ve gotten back into a regular routine of publishing here, I thought it was a good time to ask you what you want me to blog about.

I know that many of you always want more materials review! These are the most time-consuming of all, so I already have a list of different sketching supplies which I plan to write about. If you have anything specific (that I have used in the past 5 years) please feel free to add a request below.

So… apart from review articles, what do you want to see more of?

Please add your comments below! Thanks in advance!

Note: if you are reading this via email, please click on the link below and add a comment on my blog – thanks!


  • Martine says:

    I always love reading about your sketch outings and travels and see lots of sketches!

  • Laurence says:

    Thank you Liz for giving us the floor…
    I found that in your outdoor sketches, the plant (trees, bushes, lawns,…) was used (in addition to their own reality) either as a balance with the architecture of the buildings, or as an addition to another color, or as a transition between two sketches.
    I try to deepen this idea of the place of the plant in my sketches, trying to diversify their shapes, their textures, their colors, their positions…. I would like my trees to be more ventilated, my bushes more alive, ….
    I’d be happy to hear your approach. 🙂

  • Rob says:

    Hi Liz,
    Apart from enjoying your blog as is, I am always interested in the thought process. Why choose a subject, what to add and what to leave out and the reasons behind that.

  • Liz Lock says:

    I would love some guidance on how to make very, very simple but pleasing renditions of pen outlines of churches, doorways etc, Simple step by step help to just get a feeling of a quick, impromptu sketch would be brilliant.

    Thank you

    • Kirsten McCorkell says:

      Yes please from me too!

    • Debbie Shealy says:

      I need help here, as well. Quick sketching eludes me. I get caught up in trying to gain precision and consequently, slow way down.

    • Frederique D. says:

      totally agree… something related to the notion of sketch… just a few lines that give the essence of the object/subject…

    • Francine Élie says:

      This would be a good idea! I’d love to see demos about architecture and trees in not too fast speed videos.
      Thank you for your blog. I love your work very much

    • Fabienne Dreelan says:

      Yes pls me too – very, very simple building sketches like Liz Lock suggests, plus using the fude pen as Virginia suggests below;) I’ve just purchased a green fude pen like yours as I see it often in your supplies sketches… thx ?

  • Janet Wright says:

    I would like some more examples of rhythm in a sketchbook, and how a double spread can flow.,.,
    Also, would appreciate some tips on good colour mix for shadows….

  • Sabine Remick says:

    Hi, I would love to see more of your architectural sketches and learn about the different building styles. I recently sketched Notre Dame, and by just adding the iconic round window to the page, and looking up a bit of history (for the text portion), was so much fun. Learning something while sketching 🙂 who knew?
    Thank you!

  • Krystyna Bell says:

    I would love to see more on how you do your paintings so loosely and they always look like what you see. I end up overworking / second guessing myself most of the time and ruining my pages. Help please

  • Lynn Eby says:

    Good morning, I would like to learn more of the technique of adding ink to a watercolor drawing/sketch/painting. When I use my Pitt pen or permanent thin black ink to add to my watercolor, I feel like it is just outlining and that it looks like I colored inside the lines of the shape. I want it to look like it highlights and adds to the definition and understanding of the work but also not say this is outlining.

    • Mercedes Walton says:

      This would be useful for me too. I have switched to a fountain pen where i can manipulate a finer line but at times the line was still heavy. It makes a difference, in my sketches anyway, if I put the ink down first and then paint, or afterwards in which case I find the ink line tends to be thicker. I guess it is all in learning and understanding how your materials work with one another. Happy to be on this journey. 🙂

  • I really need more help with buildings and perspective. That is a very weak area for me. I have loved every lesson so far!! Thank you for the livestreams! They were so much fun!

  • Suzanne Spaid says:

    Love seeing what you are working on and reading about how you developed that particular sketch.

  • Jessie says:

    I love living vicariously through you when you travel! I know we’re not doing a lot of it these days, but I always love reading about your traveling and the history/buildings etc. you draw and study. You could take a walk down memory lane and take us on a trip to somewhere in one of your books…

  • Bill Brickner says:

    I would like to see more of how the artists’ mind works by seeing photos of what you are about to draw/paint with crop marks and why that was an area of interest.

  • Sherry says:

    I would like to see more videos of you painting.

  • Maggie Marszewski says:

    I still struggle with what to leave out…simplifying. I also would love suggestions regarding ink…..I cant seem to let go of my pencil…maybe just choose certain parts for ink? I think you covered this in some of your courses but would love a reminder. I took your suggestion of a virtual trip and did a month long review of trips my husband and I had taken. That was great fun. Have taken all your courses and loved them all. Anything you blog about is so useful.

  • Andy says:

    Lots of great ideas from people here. I especially like the ideas about how to draw lively plants and more on your architectural drawings. I personally love the idea of a sketchbook as a place to investigate and understand something more deeply. Much along the lines of your earlier sketching devoted to understanding buildings. I myself am drawn to of the nature journal tradition, as practiced by John Muir Laws and others today. Every time I try to draw a plant with some question in mind, for instance, I learn something. Do you have thoughts on thematic sketchbooks? (or portions of sketchbooks). I can imagine different topics: furniture design ideas, herbals, every plant in my garden, every Victorian house in my neighborhood, buildings by a single architect etc. Advice? More examples from your wonderful sketchbooks?

  • Nick Cronin says:

    I appreciate learning what gear you use and prefer.
    It is interesting to see the comparisons between different paint brands/colors/etc. Your content encourages me to make time for sketching!

  • Cath says:

    How to use color in shadows

  • Barbara Gabriel says:

    I’d like to see new sketches using the techniques and ideas from class lessons (I realize this encompasses a lot of work for you!) Every now and then it really helps me too see an old lesson from the Edges class or Watercolor class reiterated on your pages.

  • Joe Gracia says:

    Thanks, Liz, for asking for our thoughts.
    I would like to better understand how you pick your subject. I am flummoxed by what I perceive is a shortage of “sketch-worthy” settings around where I live, but when I look at your photographs of scenes you have sketched, many of those scenes would not have struck me as “sketch-worthy” either. Yet you converted them into energetic, compelling sketches. How do you do it?

    • Anne Marie Percival says:

      Good suggestion Joe…..me too

    • Yvonne Frindle says:

      Agree! Choosing (or framing) a sketch-worthy scene is an art in itself and I would love to learn more about this.
      (Personally, too often I find myself making such decisions based on my considerable technical limitations rather than my visual instinct/preference, which is a whole ’nother story!)

      • Fabienne Dreelan says:

        Yes great suggestion Joe & totally agree with you Yvonne – that my choice of what scene to sketch would be very limited due to ‘technical limitations’!! Lol!!

  • Barbara McCafferty Weeks says:

    I always love seeing your work and would love to know more about what inspires you, the thought before and after the sketching.

  • Hi Liz, I was gifted your “Architecture” book for the holidays and would love to know more of your favorite structures to sketch, especially structures good for beginners to practice. Thanks!

  • Harris Levitt says:

    Hi Liz, I took your class over the summer and really grew by diligently following the curriculum. Now I am trying to focus on a personal style. I think reviewing various urban sketchers approaches to their work and their styles would be interesting. Yesterday I looked at Francis dk Ching’s blog and saw that he’s moved into very loose watercolors from line and was curious as to why.

  • Susan Rogers says:

    I would love you to talk about how you decide what to sketch when you go to a location. How much time do you take to find the right view? I often make a decision based on where I can sit or some other reason that isn’t based on where the best view is. How do you handle this?

  • Elizabeth Ellsworth says:

    Hello Liz,
    Thank you for the GREAT sketchbook design class. I learned so much and my sketchbook shows it!
    It would be great to see a blog post or two about what you take to be the most common “sketching errors” or “not so helpful habitual ways of seeing” that beginners like me tend to make. I know that there’s really no right or wrong when it comes to sketching. But still 🙂
    I would also second Harris’ request (above) for some thoughts about personal style.
    Many thanks!

  • First, I would like to thank you Liz for a great Sketchbook Design class. It was so well organized and full of information that I will definitely need to revisit. Your dedication to your students and passion for your craft is most apparent.
    Liz, my question for you is what, if any, is the difference between CARAN D’ACHE museum watercolor pencils and Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils? I already have used the Inktense but not the CARAN D’ACHE.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

    • Yvonne Frindle says:

      One key difference that I’ve observed (apart from the Inktense colour palette being biased towards very intense/bright hues) is that the Inktense pencils are formulated to be permanent when dry: they behave more like an ink wash in that they won’t rewet. Whereas the Museum range are more like Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer range and other regular watercolour pencils in that they can be rewet and have the potential to interact with layers placed on top. How you like to work and the effects you’re after, e.g. if you like to glaze one colour over another, will affect your preference.

      (I have also read that Inktense colours, despite being “permanent” in the sense that they won’t rewet, are more fugitive, in the lightfastness sense, than regular watercolour pencils, which at the time made me think they might be dye- rather than pigment-based, but that was some years ago now and Derwent says the current range is pigment-based.)

  • Barbara Chandler says:

    Good Morning Liz !!!! I would like to see more demonstration on buildings… 🙂

  • Paul Koontz says:

    Hey Liz,

    Fun to have your blog buzzing again. Here’s something I’d love to hear more from you on….

    You talk often about how you’ve trained yourself to draw quickly and have shared a lot about how to avoid getting bogged down…big shapes, darks first, one line drawings, etc…all super helpful.

    You have taught so many workshops that I’m sure you’ve seen techniques at a more granular level that can help people speed up, without losing control. 🙂 What to capture and what to skip…faster penwork without getting sloppy…

    I have all your courses (except the new one) and I know you must feel as if you’ve talked about this endlessly. ?. Something like ‘3 Best Tips For Sketching Quickly Without Losing Control’ would be great.

    Thanks for continuing to lead and inspire us,


  • Heather Crellin says:

    You talked about deeper investigations to potters pink and ultramarine blue. I dont like my Daniel Smith ultramarine blue and sennelier is harder to find. WN potters pink rewets horriblely. How does sennelier compare?

  • Heather Crellin says:

    Building anatomy? In a recent interview you talked about getting better at drawing animals by learning their structure. I have done alot of this and am very comfortable with animals. And you said learning buildings was similar. I guess I have no idea where to start. Buildings are still super scary. (I did start by buying your book. Still kind of scary to open it)

  • Frannie Chomé says:

    Hello Liz, I enjoyed so much your Sketchbook Design course. My winter January month that is often rather dull was the best January in years thanks to your course. Thank you! I love the way you overlap elements or sketches on your pages. I have not been able to sketch anything that really overlaps. Just like when I try to put the main focus away from the center, it almost inevitably goes in the center. Same for juxtaposition, the sketch or the element I want to add seems to want to be far enough from the rest on the page. Any tips on how to succeed juxtaposition?

  • Judith M Plummer says:

    I would like to see some of the “shorthand” techniques you use for cornices, capitals,,friezes and balustrades etc.
    Being overcome by detail, seems to be a problem.

    • Melissa S. says:

      I agree! Any ‘shorthand’ to increase speed and suggest the look that becomes enough, rather than mired in detail!

  • Jamie says:

    I have always loved the very day sketches, and how you document your life with your sketchbook. I would love more on that. It is what I want to do with my own sketchbook, and I find great inspiration in seeing and reading how others capture their everyday moments. How to make a sketch fit five minutes, or how to keep in mind that the parking lot view on an errand could be a good option, etc. How to make it happen even, or especially on busy and challenging weeks.

  • Lin Frye says:

    I love this idea too….

  • Maggie says:

    I think it would be fun if you would post a photograph of something (architecture, still life, food, outdoor scene, etc.) and ask us to sketch it, say in ink, before your next post. Your next post could be YOUR version sketched in ink along with your thought process. Then you could ask us to add watercolor to the sketch and next day you could show us how YOU did that.. Or ask us to do the sketch using watercolor only. Hopefully you get the idea. I learn a LOT by struggling with something first on my own and then seeing a new/better/different way of doing it. You could sprinkle this sort of exercise in every few weeks.

  • L says:

    Thank you for asking us.
    I would love to learn more on how to handle/draw shadows……when to incorporate shadows, how much to include, when not to, what colors to use, etc. Shadows seem to be the difference between a good drawing and a very good one.
    One more request- how to loosen up without becoming abstract.
    Many thanks!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Wow! thank you everyone for all the great suggestions!

  • Frederique D. says:

    I would like to learn how to incorporate characters in urban sketches… not in very small and oversimplified but as full-fledged elements of the life scene… so their size can vary from “small” if they are in front of a cathedral… to “medium” when it’s a market scene or a street, café, etc… I don’t feel ready to make it the main subject of my drawing yet, but why not 😉 Characters are elements often present in urban sketching and yet not so easy to apprehend… I tend to do often too much or too little when I try to integrate them in my drawing.
    Thank you for looking for ways to accompany us in this great adventure that is drawing… your advice, your enthusiasm and your good mood are precious.

  • john lai says:

    hi Liz
    how about an individual mini workshop offerred as a separate session showing step by step demonstration incorporating some of your fav techniques of combining sketching in ink, paint and mix and brush work for a favorite urban scene that we see in its completed form at the beginning and then your workshop session retrace the steps involved in completing that sketch that in the field would take (say) 30 minutes. ( that would mean probably an hour or more on the average for most to complete). not a 6 week series but a couple hours commitment.

  • Susanna says:

    I really appreciated watching you sketch the very complex cityscape in the last demo of Sketchbook Design, Lesson 4. In Watercolor on Location (I think it was this course), it was so helpful learning how to simplify skyscrapers. I noticed you sketched the distant tall buildings in the SBD demo this way. I’d appreciate you writing about some other tricks to simplify buildings when faced with a complex scene out on location.
    [Sketching Design was a terrific course!]

  • Melissa S. says:

    I especially love your breakdown of sketching individual subjects-whether begun with pen, or by shadow approach. SO helpful to me, so always more of that. Also, I want to steer clear of theory stuff, but eventually know it must catch up with me, so I will throw foreshortening out there. Any simple way to approach that? Thanks Liz!

  • Justine Semple says:

    Thank you Liz for all of your blog posts and online courses … .you are incredibly generous in sharing all your knowledge, skills and tips. I am always learning but found your ‘Colours in my Palette’ series incredibly helpful. Seeing the possibilities from such a limited palette was so helpful. I understand that it is not a simple (and very personal due to individual preferences) process to arrive at a smaller mixing palette, but, I would love to understand the how’s and why’s of colour choices. I was stunned to read somewhere in over the years in your blog that you are always hesitant to add a new colour because it takes so long to get to know it and how it works with the rest of your palette.

    I would love to learn more about the audition and selection process of paints…. and how to not fall in love with all the pretty colours and options and get completely mesmerised by all the possibilities.

  • Lynley Mattes says:

    Lots of great suggestions here. I’d like simply to see a photo of the teacup or subject you’re sketching so we can see ‘the real thing’ in comparison, and can see what lines/shadows/patterns etc you emphasise (or not as the case may be)

  • Carol Costa says:

    I’d like to see more tutorials where we can watch how you go about constructing a painting.

  • Yvonne Frindle says:

    I always enjoy reading your comments about architecture and architectural history as that’s an enthusiasm I share, and with that your observations about the challenges or possibilities involved in sketching particular buildings.

    I would second the suggestion of self-contained mini-workshops to complement the longer online courses (in which life can sometimes get in the way). If that idea appeals, one possible theme:
    Mastering the dagger brush. (Not because I think we should all be blindly copying this choice of yours 🙂 but because it seems to me there’s a real knack to using it – even more so than other brush types – and without some mastery it’s impossible to decide whether to incorporate it into one’s kit or not.)

  • Julia jacobs says:

    I would really love to read your comparisons between different colours. As well as seeing the difference in how the same colours work from different brands. For example I have wondered what is the difference between French ultramarine and ultramarine.

  • Cora Brown says:

    I’d like to know more about your personal journey as you switched from being an architect to a self-employed artist/teacher doing work you love. I’d also like to know more about your journey as an artist. What are some of your big breakthrough moments?

  • Pat Foster says:

    As is true of may others who have already written, I too have greatly enjoyed all three courses I have taken and found that it definitely helped to get through the past year! I am also finding that drawing pen and ink sketches of buildings are the core of my interest and have decided to enroll in the your Buildings course and run through it on my own. I’ve painted and drawn for a long time and am so grateful to have a skill I can fall back on just about any time. I will be looking for your blog posts and other comments that enhance my architectural interest and keep those creative juices flowing. Thank you for all your hard work on these courses!

  • Ingrid Hajek says:

    I realize I’m more and more interested in mixed media sketches. Still I love watercolor and ink and for sure I will stick to its usage. But mixing it up with markers or watercolor pencils or pencils/chorcal only secondary sketches or with watercolor brushes or what else there is, not now discovered by me is very tempting to me. Probably I just love colorful fun sketches? 🙂 But also some of these tools are easy usable on site what makes it interesting. So I would like to know if this is something you experiment with, too? If yes, it would be fantastic to learn from your experiences. (Maybe even one day not only in a blog but in a mixed media class? 😉 )

  • Lucy says:

    Hi Liz, I just started to sketch with watercolor, and as a self-teaching beginner (with 3 little kids all time at home!!!) I am completely lost. I just put together a watercolor palette and already I am finding out its limitations and bad combination of the colors – despite my previous research. So maybe something on color, the color wheel and how to set up and decide on colors for a beginner? Something more than just the red- blue – yellow range.
    And my second big problem is, when I finally do decide to sketch something, I have a hard time deciding how to go about it on paper…….how to approach the subject, what to pick to sketch…
    Not sure wheter any of these problems are a good suggestion, but I would sure love some advise to this….
    In any case I am looking forward to anything that you come up with anyhow 🙂

  • Did you see that DeAtramentis added more colors to the document line? Especially ones that look like colors you have been mixing. I would love to see you try them out since I know you are a big fan of this line of ink and might want to get your hands on them. I haven’t found anyone trying the new inks anywhere.

    I really like the posts where you think about how you use your materials and getting to know them and remembering to use your less loved supplies.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Hannah – I’m actually going through all my inks at the moment… so your comment has prompted me to check out the latest colours in the DeA document range. Hmm, yes, quite a few more since I last looked… but not sure any of them are ‘must-haves’ for me!

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