Elements of Architectural Sketches

The first step is straightforward, find a building to draw. I happen to adore Victorian Architecture so I googled St. James Court in Louisville. It happens to be the home of a world-famous art show annually.

I first drew it roughly in .02 ink pen (you can buy a cheap illustration pen set for $12.00 such as Micron. Or google illustration pens.) One of the great things about these sketches its that messiness is what makes it beautiful, using sketchy lines is to your benefit.

One trick is to use a ruler just on the vertical lines, intentionally extending them beyond the intended perimeter. It adds authenticity because in architecture these lines are later used in sketches for the blueprint drawn at different angles.

Small foliage details give it a sense of place. An alternative being the *start* of neighboring building. For these elements I brushed in a watered down layer of sumi ink (water color works great too) . after brushing in the silhouettes I roughly traced the lines facing the house which is the subject, letting everything outside the house *fade*.

Rendering comes next, from the shadows on the pavement to under the window frames, depict the light. I did it in layers, shading lightly at first and then going back over my darkest darks again until it was balanced and the contrast was evident.

Next I took a 5 point illustration pen which is much thicker, and retraced my lines with more confidence, framing the darkest edges. The wet paper made the lines far more intense.

Lastly I used my .02 pen to add diagonal lines for shading, and added another layer of shading.

For some of these steps, order is irrelevent, it really depends on you and you’re style. It is easier than it looks and I hope you try it!


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