Tips for getting the most out of Buildings



This is a self directed course – you have access to all lessons and can work at whatever pace you like.


Maybe you might like to designate a set time each week for reviewing the lessons and of course for doing the homework too, or perhaps you would like to review the whole course first before starting any of the exercises. It is completely up to you!


Although originally designed as a weekly course, every lesson in this Buildings course has a lot of content and I now recommend spending two weeks for each lesson! I don’t expect that you will all be able to get everything out of each lesson in two weeks. You have unlimited access to the content, so you can come back to the lessons whenever you want!


My recommendations:

  • Don’t try to master everything in the lesson in a week! You can’t really absorb it all in seven days… or even in one month. You need the time to work it out for yourself and absorb it into your way of working. I think it is better to get the general overview and think about the lesson’s concept and then move onto the next so that you are getting the full picture. It is like reading a book and then going back to re-read and study parts in detail.
  • If you don’t have time to do the outdoor exercise (or feel too nervous to go out sketching on location) you should be able to pick up most of the important concepts by only doing the indoor exercises for each lesson.
  • Think of your creative journey as a spiral – going round and round and coming back to concepts over and over again. Don’t think it is a linear line where you tick off one skill after the other. I explained this in Foundations Lesson 12 or at the end of this blog post.
  • Although each lesson builds on the previous ones, you do not need to have mastered or completed the previous ones to do the next exercises.

A few of my teaching mantras


As in any online course we will have large and very varied group doing the Buildings Course so it is important that we create a supportive environment, one that will help us learn in a fun way. So here is my mini lecture to you!


We share but not compare
I can’t stress enough the importance of this attitude, especially for beginners. Don’t compare yourself with people who have been working at their craft for years. We’ve all been beginners, we’ve had many failures and struggles and continue to do so! We all still have so much to learn and re-learn. Be Inspired, not overwhelmed, by the work of others!


We have confidence in being ourselves
I’ll be sharing a lot of my work but I don’t want anyone to try to sketch ‘like Liz’. Be yourself! I’ll show my approaches in the hope that you’ll find things to personalise and incorporate in your own work. Trust your own responses and preferences!


We commit to “doing the hard yards”
We are all on a journey and there are no shortcuts.. There will be ‘stumbles’ along the way so the more you enjoy the process of learning, the better.


We accept it is only a sketch
I do believe we should be careful that every mark is deliberate, not a careless scribble, but in the end it’s only a mark on a page. What’s the big deal?


We love our mistakes
Mistakes are good and are the most effective way to learn and progress. Accept them and learn to love them because they’re yours and no one else’s (a loose quote from Picasso!)


We make friends with our Inner Critic
Every time we put pen to paper we do battle with our Inner Critic (IC). I don’t think it ever goes away! The more I sketch, the higher my expectations are, so I still often fall short. However, I prefer to think of it as BANTER rather than battle. I don’t ever want to silence or strangle my inner critic. My IC tells me a lot of truths I need to hear (eg. “You’re rushing and need to slow down”) but I don’t take it seriously when it accuses me irrationally. Ask your IC why it expects instant perfection and see what it says! I don’t ever want my IC to go away because I love the banter and I love asking it why. You might be surprised how helpful your IC can become after it is trained. A few more thoughts about this on my blog here and here.


But as always – the most important thing is to be committed to learning, but not to take it too seriously… and above all…

Have fun!