It’s been a great year of sketching, alone and with others and to end the year I've spent the last four Fridays at The Rocks, Sydney in Liz Steel’s Sketching Architecture class. Her knowledge of the subject, experience in travel sketching and attention to detail is amazing, but it’s her generosity of spirit and entertaining anecdotes that make these classes so fun.
Starting with the basics, which I never mind, because every time I do I get to learn more about why and how we draw, it quickly progressed to using lines, line weight, crossing corners, cross hatching, patterns and the numerous ways to make marks. There are so many ways to draw, but in the end it comes down to “drawing what you see”. All these are great reminders or a great place to start, because Liz doesn’t mind how much experience you have, in her classes everyone’s got something to learn.
Mapping out, eyeing in, set-out lines, outlining in ink, talking to the subject and talking to yourself if need be are all tips she teaches with ease. I've learnt many of these over the years, but it’s nice to do it all again in the comfort of the Tea Cosy Cafe classroom and on location with others who afterwards generously adopt the Urban Sketchers motto to “share but don’t compare”. You can read more about this first class in the posts Liz wrote on her blogs here and here.
The ASNC Building, The Rocks, Sydney. 8th Nov 2013
You can read more about this class on her two blogs here and here
The Baker’s Oven, George St,The Rocks, Sydney 15th Nov 2013
We also learnt great tips on drawing what’s called “entourage” which for me harps back to my training as a Landscape Architect. What is interesting is that drawing to communicate imaginary spaces or buildings so they can be built is quite different to capturing the scene before you. Once on location, the eye-line becomes very important, as does the VIP or very important perpendicular! If you'd like to learn more on this vast topic, Liz has written some helpful info with diagrams on her blog posts here and here.
47 George St, The Rocks, Sydney 22nd Nov 2013
Finally in Week 4 we covered the topics of tonal value, colour and capturing visual texture. Once again through in-class exercises, we learnt how and where light falls, bounces and is hidden. What is shade, what is shadow and how light source impacts the composition.
After giving some tips about palette selection and arrangement, Liz demonstrated a variety of techniques from watercolour to mixed media. I am familiar with many of these from studio painting, but it was nice to see her using them on location to capture the visual texture of buildings. She has posted more about this class in her blog posts here and here.
The last day was overcast, so there were no cast shadows to be seen, not much shade on the buildings either, but I enjoyed drawing with markers. I have not used my markers much since university and was amazed after all these years the Chartpack AO and Copic markers still work, although the AO was a little smelly! They also bled through the paper, so if you use them, be sure to pop another sheet of paper or tissue underneath and certainly don't draw on the back of a drawing you treasure.
Rooftops - Susannah Place, the Rocks, Sydney. 29th Nov 2013
I have to say, my Lamy pen has been my break through purchase for the year, especially when you consider all the dreaming and doodling I've done with it too. It's so happy in it’s cadmium yellow!
It really has been a great year meeting and spending time with a group of local people who enjoy doing something I love. Liz’s online connections as well as the private facebook group she has set up for her students have been wonderful to be part. After completing my Sketchbook Project sketchbook last Summer, I am really looking forward to taking these new techniques with me into my 1000 words for Summer project which begins it’s 5th Year this week. If you'd like to see what I do, pop over to my facebook page.
What a big year 2013 has been!
DEDICATION: I would like to dedicate this post to my mother who sadly passed away whilst I was doing this course. Her love of architecture, especially Georgian architecture was not lost on me whilst I visited her in the hospice each week after class. She spent much of her life preserving the architectural heritage of Sydney.