SketchingNow Buildings – 6 week online course from Liz Steel on Vimeo.

SketchingNow Buildings

Essential Concepts for Sketching Architecture

Registration is now closed, but Buildings will be re-offered as a self-directed course in 2017.

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When you attempt to sketch a complex building:

  • Are you unsure where to start?
  • Do your angles always look wrong?
  • Does your finished sketch look like a cardboard box?
  • If you add colour, does it turn out too heavy and flat?
I have designed this course to tackle all these challenges and to

empower you to have fun sketching architecture

without the need for technical perspective!

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for people with some drawing experience who want to improve their sketching of architecture.

– If you are a beginner, I recommend that you work through my Foundations course first.
– If you are an seasoned sketcher, there will be plenty of content for you – in particular I will be sharing ways to speed up your architecture sketching.
– If you are an architect or an architectural student, this course will open up your visual thinking to new ways of sketching buildings.

As this is a concept drawing course it is suitable for any way of working – whether carefully and deliberately or faster and looser.

NOTE: This is not a watercolour technique class. However with my predominant use of ink and wash you will pick up a lot of tips along the way.

Why is this course special?

– one essential concept per lesson, each lesson building on the previous
– in depth content – the concepts are clearly explained and then applied
– specific assignments each lesson designed to explain the concept

– quality video demonstrations of indoor and out on location sketches
– an indoor and outdoor exercise each lesson so you have a chance to really
understand the principles before going out on location

I want to share all my tricks for sketching buildingswhich combines 20 years experience as an architect with the obsessive sketching that has filled over 150 sketchbooks.

How will the course work?

The course will be run through a private WordPress site.
– Each Wednesday during the class period a new lesson will be posted.
– The lesson will be rich in notated drawings and on location sketches as examples along with over 30 minutes of video demonstrations.
– Questions on each lesson will be answered in the Classroom and then summarized in a weekly Feedback post.
– There will be a private Flickr group for sharing the work. A Flickr group has been
specifically chosen for the course community as it provides everyone with the means of
creating their own portfolio of work. I think this is very important so you can review individual sketches in the context of a body of work and the development of each participant rather than just relying on a collection of images in a group setting.

Teacher Interaction

– All questions about lesson content will be answered on a weekly basis.
– Instead of critiques on individual work each week a special feedback post (published on Tuesday) addressing the major questions and issues from each week’s lesson. This way the instruction will be more efficiently shared with the whole group.
– Detailed critiques of a selection of individual’s sketches in the Review Weeks.

What each lesson contains

1. In-depth instruction with optional downloadable pdf of the whole lesson.
Each lesson contains a single concept that will be
– Clearly explained with notated diagrams
– Demonstrated by a specific exercise – high quality video demonstrations in the studio or out on location
– Applied and expanded upon by use of examples from my sketchbooks over the years – from simple applications to more complex (perfect for the ‘seasoned sketchers’!)
– Two assignments. One exercise based on photo reference and one outdoors:
applying the concept to a more complex scene

2. A fresh step by step demonstration from the streets of Sydney.
During the 6 week period, I will be out having new exciting sketching adventures in Sydney, showing you how I put the week’s concept into practice with a specific step by step demo. I will be checking out new suburbs and of course finding the best cafes in town! I will not only be sharing my approach but I will be sketching along with the class and exploring my beloved hometown in a new way.

3. Feedback posts
At the end of each week, I will put together an additional post that summarises the weeks’ activities and questions. Addressing common issues via notated diagrams/sketches and bullet points for the main queries. This is the most efficient way of sharing my feedback with the whole class, so everyone can benefit.

4. Review Weeks
In addition to 4 content-rich lessons in week 3 and 6 I will do detailed reviews of a number of sketches that have been shared into the Flickr group. This will be a chance to pull everything together and learn from each others work. The first Review Week will also give everyone the chance to catch up on the first two lessons before Lesson 3 comes out in Week 4.

5. Extras, surprises….
As the content is put together during the period of the course, there will be something extra added.

Course Outline

  1. Seeing buildings in edges, shapes and volumes
    (building on the Foundations concepts)
  2. Constructing Volumes – adding and subtracting elements, thicknesses and depths
  3. Working in a structured way
  4. Mapping light and dark when sketching architecture

Please note: The focus of this course is to understand buildings in a visual way. A solid grounding in these fundamental skills will enable you to understand and use perspective much more easily, and to draw buildings in the context of more complex street scenes and public spaces. So for this course we will be focus primarily on studying isolated buildings. I have plans for doing dedicated courses on perspective and sketching street scenes  in the future.


Full listing is available on registration.

Basic requirements:

  • a medium to hard pencil (HB-2H)
  • a fine pen – such as a 0.3 fineliner or fountain pen (EF or F nib) with permanent ink if you plan to add watercolour washes over the top
  • some form of colour (watercolour pencils or watercolour paint or coloured pencils or markers)
  • paper suitable for your choice of medium

All lessons and videos will remain accessible indefinitely – you can come back and review them over and over, whenever you like!


Read some reviews of other SketchingNow online courses here.

Registration is now closed, but Buildings will be re-offered as a self-directed course in 2017.

Please join Liz’s mailing list to be the first to hear

(hit return to subscribe)


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