Join Will Kemp for an in-depth discussion in this video Thinking in straight lines: One building at a time, part of Foundations of Drawing: Urban Sketching.
- So one of the best ways to start drawing buildings. Is to look for a subject that's got a limited depth perspective. So rather than looking down a road that goes on forever and ever into the distance, try looking down side streets, where you just have one building width, and then a flat building at the end. And this creates the essence of it, it's a bit like a box. So you've got the edges that you're looking within, that are going into the center.
And then the back of the box is a side of a building. We're going to build up our first drawing, thinking in these straight vertical lines, one building at a time. And then see how the pieces all fit together. I'll then introduce tone into the line drawing and that will really help achieve a balance in your composition. So working within a frame work of vertical lines, can really help us in our first simple drawing. And later in the course when the sketches become more complex, we can still use the same principles of a vertical framework within our sketches.
I've chosen this view of a side street in Cornwall, the tones are nearly black and white which makes it easiest to concentrate on the shapes. And it's a fairly symmetrical scene. So I'm just looking for a vertical line to start with. So I'm going to start with this line here the dark edge. So I'm not worried about the height of it just to get one vertical line in.
And then the next vertical is this one across where I've got this white gap. And you'll notice already when I'm doing these vertical lines they're not exactly straight. There's going to be a slight wobble to them when you're doing the drawing. And this is absolutely fine. And this is something to get used to when you're out-sketching. To, feel free to be loose in your drawings. So you get the basics down of the drawing, without being too precious about the lines being perfect.
So the next line here, the edge of this building. And I just continue along, looking for these vertical lines everywhere. Think, just make a couple of marks. So just with the square edge of a piece of paper.
One mark there where the side of this light hits. If you take the line across, it's quite close to this edge here. So I've got a couple of points there. And then down to the bottom here. Draw that in. If you want to you can take another couple of lines say one from the top here, just as we're just starting just to slowly get used to this technique.
And now we've got those lines in, we're going to swap to the pen and I can be more accurate with the height of the vertical lines, in relationship to the reference image. So for example on this line, I'm only going as high as I know the roof is going to start and stop. And this line here, when the building goes right off of the page, and just comes down to the pavement level.
And then on the windows I'm following the vertical pencil line that we've already drawn down. But I'm only drawing the pen where the window shapes would be. So it's a great time to be just a bit more accurate in your observation of the vertical line shapes in the image. So now I can start with the horizontals. And the most obvious is the rooftop here of the far building. And then I can continue the horizontal downs I've got this little window ledge on the front of the building.
And again the pavement edge and that just frames the building in the distance. And now I can then, start to draw in the angles. And this is why it's so important to get the heights right to start with. Because, essentially what we're doing now is just connecting the lines together. And when you're introducing the angles it will often be a mix of drawing the angles in, and then some of the most obvious details.
So I'm always working from the larger outside shapes to the smaller inner shapes. For example the small squares of this window pane within the larger square rectangular shape of the building. So you can see how the simple inclusion of angles really helps to give that sense of perspective to the building on the left.
And the drain pipe and the window shapes on the top right here, really have this nice abstract pattern to them. So it's like looking for the pieces of a puzzle a framework together. Then just creates a nice balance in your composition. So now I've got this basic structure I can start to be a bit more free flowing with my lines.
Just to, put in this light here, and a few details. And this will just help to take this basic structure that you've drawn out and just add more life to it.
So this is the basic line structure of this quick sketch.
- Choosing your materials
- Building structure into your drawing
- Sketching architecture
- Capturing panoramic views of a city
- Drawing people in cafes
- Sketching movement
- Bringing it all together in a start-to-finish drawing