Workshop H: Pointless Perspective and Coloured Shapes: A Practical Approach to Creating Three Dimensional Architectural Form

Instructor: Liz Steel (Australia)

Location: Singapore Art Museum

LSteel Av Paulista MASP Sao Paulo

Workshop description

Many people believe that you can’t sketch architecture without being a master of perspective, and others state that you do not need it at all. “Just draw the shapes”, they say.

As an architect I have a conceptual understanding of the laws of perspective, but when I started sketching I found it hard to translate this knowledge to working in a spontaneous way in a small sketchbook. The classic perspective explanations always assume that you have an unending sheet of paper with the vanishing points fitting on the page – but in reality that never works for me . And despite wanting to achieve a certain accuracy with my lines, I have had no desire to try to replicate drawing board techniques to my sketching. So over the years I have developed a (vanishing)point-less approach to perspective!

Perspective is an incredibly useful tool; a sound understanding of itÕs principles helps me see better and gives me a framework to achieve better accuracy. It is there to help, not hinder me, and it should never take away my joy of sketching. I think getting good shapes is more important than technically correct perspective.

In this workshop I want to share with you how I use shapes and perspective together – how a visual understanding of perspective allows me to enjoy the freedom of just painting shapes!

LSteel Regents St Mortuary Station Sydney

Learning goals

– to see buildings in terms of shapes
– to understand the importance of strong shapes to create a strong sense of three dimensional form
– to use perspective as a framework for tightening the accuracy of shape based sketching
– to have fun sketching architecture with loose and colourful watercolour washes

The workshop will be in two parts
1. Shapes
We will do two quick exercises drawing our subject building with shapes:
First, we will describe the building by negative shapes – sketching the sky, the surroundings or the openings to define the building first.
Secondly, we will map the light and dark – by only sketching the areas that are not receiving any direct sunlight we will achieve a strong sense of 3-dimensional form.
For both these exercises we will use watercolour, applying it in wet, bold brushstrokes and enjoying what the pigment and water does of their own accord on the page. We will then review these results and discuss the accuracy of our shapes and edges

2. Perspective
I will share my approach to perspective with lots of hands-on tips that we will then apply to our subject building. These include nailing the eyeline, patterns of converging lines, horizontal and vertical plumblines and the very important perpendicular.
Using different coloured pencils or pens, we will create a framework which will better inform our shapes.

We will finish the workshop with one final shape based sketch of the building from a different point of view.

LSteelOld Ryde Courthouse Church St Ryde

Supply list
* Sketchbook Ð with paper suitable for light washes/ mixed media
* Permanent ink pen
* Pencils – bring a general collection of watercolour pencils or coloured pencils
* Coloured media: Watercolour is the preferred medium but coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, markers could be used instead. Bring your normal watercolour kit- there are no special requirements for specific colours.
* Waterbrush or sable brush and water container
* Any other materials you have in your bag!
* Small portable stool (optional)

LSteel Ibrapuera Park Neimeyer buildings