This blog is devoted to my architectural sketching adventures and musings about the integration of architecture and sketching.
I hope not only to share my own on-location architectural sketches but provide tips and methodologies for sketching and understanding architecture.
Also, most importantly, I wish to explore ways in which, in a digital age, we can not only defend but
promote freehand sketching within the architectural profession.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do you need perfect perspective to draw architecture?

Yes, it would be nice if we could draw perfect perspective like some artists out there... not to name any names but two instructors at the 2nd international Urban Sketchers Symposium certainly know what they are on about - see here and here ... yes, it is something that all artists 'should' understand. But I would strongly urge everyone not to be put off drawing architecture because of 'perspective'. Paris01_04 Garnier Opera
For many years I have avoided drawing buildings in perspective... Paris05_04 ND Front
in Paris, I tried whenever possible to sit straight on to a building and add people in the foreground to give a sense of space - or if not in a central position I avoided a 2 point perspective as much as possible. 0802M_04 Dekum
Last year in Portland, on my extra day after the Ist USk Symposium I was itching to do a nice complicated building.... I sat in a cafe and sketched the Dekum buidling. This was not actually the view that I was looking at but an abstracted elevation (front on view) from what I could see. This is a very useful architectural exercise(converting what I see into what it actually is- reverse perspective at the top of the building) and I drew some people in the foreground to explain the fact that I was in a cafe. I was pretty happy with this sketch Portland, The Dekum
Later that day, at dinner, I saw Gerard Michel's wonderful version of the same building! He was sitting on the pavement and actually drew what he saw...suddenly I felt like I had 'cheated'. Silly thought but still seeing perfect perspective has funny effects on people. 0806F_04 Soho
So, inspired by the work of Gerard and also Lapin, as I continued on my travels I tried more and more adventurous perspective views. In New York I tried one of this one point facade perspectives and found this was in fact easier than I expected and a LOT of fun!!! 0813F_02 Jenners
On other occasions I just did what ever my hand and pen wanted to do... 0923T_03 PalazzodelPodesta
In Bologna... I started our visit doing the classic elevation with some foreground 0923T_08 Medieval Bologna
And then later in the day had fun with 'organic' perspective... my term for when I just do what ever I feel like without establishing a horizon and vanishing point/s 0924F_04 Colonnade
And then the next day I set up a proper perspective.... this was very satisfying. (Having my great friend Eza by my side had a big influence on me as she loves drawing everything in perspective) So anyway... I haven't really answered the question but just rambled away in my usual way... but I do intend to address this burning issue in more detail and in a more structured way in future posts


  1. Liz,
    This is good stuff and I'm finding it interesting as well as instructional. Thank you for doing this.
    Frank Bettendorf

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