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, April 24, 2014

Sketching architecture with Watercolour pencils

In the last week (or two..since my last post here) I have been continuing to experiment. And out of the blue I got out my watercolour pencils..the very night of my previous post in fact! I had not seen that coming at all.

Well it wasn't quite that random- I was prompted by Koojse's coloured pencil exercise of Week 2 of Sketchbook Skool to get out my (watercolour)pencils (WCPs). I don't have any serious set of normal coloured pencils. Although I use WCPs regularly in association with watercolour paint I rarely use them on their own mainly because I just LOVE paint and water so much. So decided it was time to really get to know them better on their own!

Of course the first sketch I did was a tea cup but them the second subject was a baroque facade

… and then I did a step by step of a bigger sketch. I am working in a very similiar way with the pencils as I do with ink and wash. Draw all the edges first and then lay in the colour- leaving plenty of white for the sunlit area. And then adding the areas of shadow. I am very bold with my use of pencils and then easy with the water! After I had applied the water I needed to go back and add some more details.

BTW I will be holding some workshops in Tasmania next month - using both watercolour and WCPs...more details here

Friday, April 11, 2014

Linelessness - painting buildings shapes not edges

One of the things that I love about keeping a sketchbook and sketching regularly is that you never not what direction your art might take. The regular habit puts you in the space that can lead to the unexpected. Last week, I started keeping a food diary and decided to paint with no lines…

This week this state of linelessness has taken over…and interestingly extended to my architecture sketching.

What is really  fun about this is that it is so different from my normal approach of clearly defining edges according to the architectural form of a building. This week I have just been playing with shapes. In the delightful tension between painter vs architect, I think the painter is winning at the moment!

My first sketch was from a photo (I am heading to Tasmania for some workshops next month) and I was drawing with paint here and trying not to describe every element the same way. Really trying to make the most of the power of the white on the page as well.

The next sketch was a local Federation house (in Mosman) and I was really concentrating on drawing shapes or the negative shapes to describe form. Working Very wet as well.

My third sketch is a Tasmanian building from a photo again… and this time I started with the openings and worked my way around from there. The very last thing that I did was to add those paint lines that describe the architectural details - the columns and the moulding details.

And finally, yesterday, I did two versions of a local house. (ok...the second version has some watercolour pencils lines in I have not totally abandoned my indeed intend to)

I took a photo after my first step - once again drawing shapes first and not the important edges.

Who knows what I will be doing next week….

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What has happened to my architecture sketching???

yes, once again, I seem to be missing in action when it comes to regularly posting on this blog. But to be honest, I have done very little architecture sketching this year.
Lots of teacup and cake sketching and lots of sketching on Cockatoo Island which is often more about cranes and texture. If you missed it, the Cockatoo Island focus was in preparation for a big 2 day workshop I taught with Paul Wang from Singapore (more here)

However, this title does not just refer to my slackness in posting here… it is also poses the question of the style of my architecture sketching… it is getting looser and looser and more colourful...and more fun!

I think the change is seen in my teacup sketches as well - more about it here. (Oops this blog is supposed to be a tea cup free zone!)

I am playing with paint and watersoluble pencils, mixing up the order of colour and line… and basically just having fun and working in a state of play. But behind it all is my foundational working method of working from overall form to details.

I haven't even been doing any late night Baroque sketches- something I used to do a lot of … this is the only example in months and months!

Even my SOH sketches are going crazy!!! (SOH = Sydney Opera House)

And if you haven't noticed I feel totally free at the moment from the dreaded p-word (perspective)!

Someone asked me in a workshop I taught on the weekend how the architect in me coped with abandoning perspective rules!!

That is a good question…one that I will answer in a separate blog post soon (I promise!)
I am starting to get focused on my trip to Brazil in August where I will be teaching at the 5th International Urban Sketchers Symposium. My workshop is called "feeling the edges, a tactile approach to sketching architecture' so there will be more activity here... seriously there will be!