Windows and other details

June 23, 2021 | 2 Comments

After Monday’s article, I decided to track down the other recent ‘details’ page that I mentioned. I realised that I never shared it here on the blog and think that it’s worthy of its own post.

These super neat sketches of mine (a bit out of character hey?) were done for a 3-day workshop I taught in Feb 2020 called Sketching Sydney: Buildings in Watercolour. Wow! that feels like a long time ago!

They were part of a session called Constructing Volumes: Thicknesses and Depths and show a number of windows and other details from the lovely Sydney Hospital Courtyard off Macquarie St.

The secret to making your building sketches look more solid and less like cardboard boxes is to start drawing thicknesses and depths. For example, a window is not a simple rectangle – it is set into a wall, has a sill that often projects, and has framing members around the glass. If you are looking at a window obliquely you might not see any window at all, just the thickness of the wall.

This is something that we look at in detail inside my Buildings course, but it also relates to Edges Lesson 1. Those of you who are going through the course at the moment… Did you notice the note about changes in plane vs changes in colour!

Thinking about Edges, I just found two old articles which are really relevant to what we are looking at right now in the Edges Group Run-through:

Ah! it’s so great to be going through these concepts again. And this coming week we’ll be sketching our food while thinking about hard vs soft and strong vs weak.

But getting back to the topic of windows… it’s so important to think about them in relation to the thickness of the wall and to make sure our sketches explain this. Is this something that you do?


  • Tina Koyama says:

    “Drawing thicknesses” is one of the things I remember from your workshop in Paraty! 🙂 I don’t often draw buildings to that level of detail, but I do notice thicknesses, especially of the roof where it sticks out beyond the building (like over a porch), and I remember your words about how everything has a thickness.

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