An Architects’ Guide To Sketching

Ahead of our’s and Norwich University of the Arts’ Big Draw event at Norwich Castle on Saturday 21st October, here are some top sketching tips from staff at LSI and Norwich University of the Arts.

Trevor Price, Partner, LSI Architects

  • To ‘warm up’ try drawing without looking at your drawing.
  • Squint your eyes when looking. This might give clarity to what you see.
  • Don’t try to fit everything you see into your drawing.

Trevor Price Sketch Norwich Train Station

Trevor’s sketch from Norwich Train Station.

Ana Rute Costa, Lecturer in Architecture at Norwich University of the Arts

  • More than representing the reality, sketching is an interpretation and analysis of it.
  • Make yourself comfortable,
  • Select the perspective/elements that you want to represent/understand,
  • Establish a dialogue between you, the drawing and the reality and have fun!

Ana Rute Costa Sketch Norwich River Wensum

Ana’s sketch of houses along the River Wensum, Norwich.

Derek Jackson, Graphics and Visualisation Manager at LSI Architects

  • If you find the blank sheet of paper intimidating, use pen – it forces confidence!
  • Don’t expect instant perfection. Top artists practice for years to get good
  • Embrace mistakes – it’s the best way to learn

Derek Jackson Sketch Norwich Castle Mall

Derek’s sketch from Castle Mall, Norwich.

Richard Bassett, Architect at LSI Architects

  • 2 thirds looking / 1 third drawing
  • Try using a viewfinder to frame your view (cardboard frame)
  • Keep your mistakes – a drawing is a series of corrected mistakes

Richard Bassett Sketch Book Hive London Street

Richard’s sketch from London Street, Norwich.

Iuliana-Elena Gavril, Lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts

  • First, select what you want to sketch.
  • Second, realise the compositional potential of what you want to sketch
  • Third, visualise what you want to sketch on your page
  • The first five lines are always the most difficult ones.

Iuliana-Elena Gavril Sketch King William Court Greenwich Entrance

Iuliana’s sketch of the Greenwich Entrance to King William Court, Greenwich.

Rupert Kitchen, Partner at LSI Architects

  • Draw what you see, as opposed to what you think you see
  • Think about composition before you start sketching
  • Don’t try to draw every detail – a good sketch is selective, showing only the information you want to describe.
  • Always consider shadow – to add depth to the sketch

Rupert Kitchen Sketch Birdcage Norwich

Rupert’s sketch from the Birdcage, Norwich.

Chris Lappin, Architectural Assistant at LSI Architects

  • Look twice, draw once.
  • Draw lightly at first to get proportions, then fill in the details.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not a ‘like for like’ representation, we are not cameras. It’s about the suggestion of place.

Chris Lappin Sketch Norwich Castle

Chris Lappin’s sketch from Norwich Castle.

Debbie Cushing, Graphics and Visualisation Assistant at LSI Architects

  • Use your pencil to judge the angle of a line – Hold your pencil along an edge of a building and copy this angle onto your paper.
  • Use your pencil to measure – for example if the walls are half a pencil and the roof is quarter of a pencil you can work out their relative sizes.

Debbie Cushing Sketch Norwich Mousehold Heath

Debbie’s sketch from Mousehold Heath, Norwich.

LSI and NUA staff will be on hand to provide tips and advice on sketching as we invite people to join us on Saturday 21st October at the Castle to help create a sketched panorama of the Norwich city skyline.