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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sub_urban Sketching: More on Roofs

Here is a sketch that I did (once again from my car) on Monday morning while waiting for an appointment.


I took a photo of my starting point and have made some notes of the things that I look for.
 A few comments
- I always look at the ridge (the flat top to the roof) and see what angle it is and whether it changes level.
- I also look at the bottom of the roof and make sure I follow it around. Often this is at the same level... but it also can jump around as well.
- I never draw every brick but when the mood takes me will indicate brick coursing (the horizontal banding) in a fine ink line or as I did here a watercolour pencil
- My watercolour is doing strange separating things on the roof... Love these accidents
- I did a bit of finger painting on the trees (so beads of water/paint were not drying in time so I smudged!
-... I love how I can see the hint of a teapot and cosy sketch on the previous page - not sure if you can see it but I can!

I intend to do some diagrams of basic roofs in the next little while.

And here is another quick sketch I did yesterday (filling in time again before another appointment - have a few of those this week!) There are a few curious things about this house which is why I drew it....I wasn't particularly following any system (except I started from the top again) What is curious is how they have split this house into two and a very weird entrance to the left side close to the bay window. I am rather pleased with the lovely watercolour effects that is happening in some of the washes on this page . and particular the glow in the shadow under the gable. More on this later!

A note on sketching locations:
Sketching in the car has its limitations. It IS very hard to be able to find a spot to stop outside a good view so often I have to compromise on the house/ view that I want to sketch. Then the steering wheel does get in the way and there is not quite as much space or comfort as you think there is. I am starting to get a system for it.
Far better is to get out of the car! Like I did yesterday and walk a few houses and sit on the gutter (between two cars) and sketch. But of course when it is raining and freezing cold the car is better than no sketch.

Once again please let me know if you have any questions that I will add to my list and get around to answering sometime....


  1. Hi Liz, when you say 'perspective measure using hands of clock' what does that mean? Thanks!

    1. Sorry not to reply sooner Jill.... instead of using perspective setup I achieved the right angle by just thinking what angle it is in relation to a hand of a clock. Does that make sense. The angle in question is about 7.30-8.00

  2. Hey Liz, my question relates to the shadow areas. If the house is yellow, would you lay down the shadow areas first, using a complimentary colour, or how do you approach shadow areas such as under verandas and awnings, etc... Also, if it is a brick house, how do you darken the shadowed areas?
    Liz, Thanks for sharing your tips, especially for those of us who are unable to attend your workshops.

    1. good question Mike.... will definitely post more on that!

  3. Hi Liz, Just wanted to say that I love your sketching. I particularly loved you Barcelona Diary. Thank you for the joy it brings to me. Cheers Tom

    1. Tom - thank you so much for you kind words. I am glad that I am able to share the joy I experience doing it!!!

  4. Hi Liz,
    I am wondering if you have ever considered an online course for those of us not in your area? I love your work. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thank you, Liz,
    Love your work, and appreciate the steps how to do the Art.