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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

San Lorenzo Chapels

2004 San Lorenzo Chapels Florence

I love notated drawings... here is a very neat sketch of mine from 2004 - comparing two chapel in San Lorenzo Florence

Monday, November 21, 2011

More sketches from the archive

2000 Ely West Front
Ely Cathedral
2000 St Stephens Walbrook
St Stephens Walbrook
Following on from my last post....There is a big difference between sketching from the comfort of your desk and sketching out on location. Here are some of my typical ‘desk sketches’ dating from 2000. These are sketches that I did from photos post trip to the UK. I thought naively that I would be able to do this kind of sketch on location as easily as I could from the controlled environment inside my studio.

I did approx 50 sketches like these of elevations, plans, sections, small axonometric studies and detailed sketches from the buildings that I visited during my first trip to the UK in 2000. These two pages were my favourite....but there were a lot of pages with distorted perspectives and over hatched sketches. I might put them together as an issuu edition one day.....

Friday, November 18, 2011

The passage of time

2005 'first' SKETCH - buildings in Hobart Tasmania

A sketch from 2005. Perhaps my first ever on location sketch (ie. where I sat down specifically to do a sketch as opposed to uni assignments or little doodles)This was one single sketch that I completed during my week visit... done sitting down in a bus stop opposite these two buildings.

This is what I wrote in my photo album at the time about this experience

"It was in the sun and so was beautiful temperature wise. The lanes of cars whizzing past was perhaps the least attractive part but I didn’t really notice as I opened my notebook and actually attempted to do a sketch of the two buildings opposite me.The sketch was pathetic - but the experience of actually looking and then recording a building on location was so novel for me that I think one of the highlights of the trip! It was also a bit of a break through in my ideas about how to look, learn, record and enjoy architecture.
I spent more time looking at the Butler building but this one was quite nice as well! I more considered it in contrast to the more elaborate building to the right.
I realised after attempting this sketch that I would be better off sketching diagrams and details rather than try to draw the whole elevation accurately - this is just too hard for me to achieve on location - at the moment anyway, till my skills improve!"

I find discovering these kind of early adventures with sketching fascinating and often strangely ironic! I was a fanatical photographer at the time and this sketch was such hard work.

So of course a few days after re-discovering this sketch...I did a very quick sketch of it....
111116 Getting Tasmania Out of My System 1
Of course, these days, I just do this kind of sketch as a matter of course... while there are a few interesting quirks with this facade, I would not call it 'hard' now!

ah... practice practice practice.... anything is possible (almost) when you have desire and dedication to hard work.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Relaxation vs Experimentation

111931 Venice Sketch Therapy
Another attempt

Here are two versions of the Doge's Palace in Venice (sketched from a photo)
The first one is an example of how I relax in the evening - give me a very complicated building and a good cup of tea (Lu Shan Oolong?)and I am very happy. my hand just seems to do its own thing... and then I have a bit of fun splashing some colour around.

The second version I tried to think before I sketched. As my notes indicate I am currently exploring ways of more expressive sketching. There is a tendency to try to draw every detail or part of the building - so here I was trying to be selective.
I intend to try again as one this second sketch I realised that I need a better view.

Venice Breakfast

While thinking about my time in Venice in Sept 2010- here is a photo that I came across yesterday of me in action during breakfast (one can't draw architecture all the time!?)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am ALWAYS sketching architecture

Whether it is out on location....
111105 JMWedding 02 Outside church
St Matthews Manly from my cousins wedding on Saturday
111928 Luna Park- Just for fun
111928 I ended up drawing the Opera House anyway!
An hour at Milsons Point ...having fun sketching the Luna Park gates and then a very quick opera house sketch witn my new 3.8mm pilot parallel calligraphy pen (I never get sick of sketching this buidling!)

..... Or just some relaxation sketching after dinner.Trying different techniques and pen/colours....

111027 My usual Barouqe sketching therapy

111027 Basket Case Baroque

111026 Borromini in Pilot Parallel

111102 A little bit of Corb

.... Or a doodle at work
Italian work doodle
(from my Italian desktop calendar) while waiting for something to print
This is an example of my standard work sketching style - my bread and butter sketching that I have been doing for 20 years done with an Artline 0.4 black felt pen. Before I discovered watercolour I was totally addicted to cross hatching- it is the way that I think when designing – and it wasn’t until I started drawing my food that I started to restrain I hardly ever use it.

It doesn’t matter what you sketch as long as you keep sketching. Whilst I much prefer being outside sketching, I find it very useful to be constantly sketching and experimenting from photos in training for on location sketching.