Whether sketching buildings or humans, Drawing Lab students learn to attack their studies with the same key strategy: Find the basic structure of your subject before going to a finished drawing.
Drawing from observation can be a meditation on how surface planes fit together to make a house or depict the forms of hands and feet. This drawing meditation also helps us understand the underlying architectural frameworks that hold these surface planes together.
Being able to visualize the architectural framework of a building or a human figure is what makes our final work look realistic. Drawing from observation is the sketcher’s way to take notes on the basic structure of things—on the surface and below.
It is delightful to see students forge ahead while practicing our block-sketch-draw method as we help each other solve various challenges along the way.
Taking time to measure proportions with angled directional lines and dominant shapes becomes an enjoyable habit of accuracy. Blocking in surface planes, as shown in the study of the foot, is the crucial stage of a drawing. It makes it easier to finish with accurate contour lines and modeling (shading) with light and dark values.
Alternating between doing sketches of buildings and people can give you a powerful perspective on drawing from life. What makes you a well-rounded drawing artist is knowing that the architectural structures of buildings can inform your architectural studies of the human body and nature.
By studying the basic structural similarities in everything you see—and don’t see—you will achieve accurate, successful drawings.