Learn how to break down buildings into basic shapes for drawing
I want to share with you my process of drawing buildings using simple shapes. As a self-taught artist, this method has worked wonders for me and I hope it will inspire you to approach your own artwork with a fresh perspective.
Before You Begin: Sketching Tips for Beginners
If you’re a beginner or simply exploring a new artistic style, this blog post is perfect for you. You’ll learn how to create stunning artwork of your favorite holiday destinations, homes, and more. Let’s start by discussing the materials and resources you’ll need for sketching.
Reference Photos: Capturing the Essence
To accurately depict a building, reference photos are essential. Since I am drawn to European architecture, I often rely on reference images. I recommend using 1-3 photos to avoid copying exactly and ensure up-to-date details. If you have the opportunity to visit the building in person, even better!
Pro tip: If you can’t find suitable photos through Google, check Instagram or try Google Street View for an alternative perspective.
Gather Your Materials: Keep It Simple
Getting your materials ready is a straightforward process, regardless of whether you prefer using paint, pens, or pencils for your urban sketches. Here are the essentials:
- Sharpened pencil
- Black pen for inking
- Coloring medium (paint, pencil crayons, pastels, etc.)
Start with the Big Shapes, Add Details Later
Now that you have your reference photos and materials ready, it’s time to start drawing. The key to my process is starting with the larger shapes and gradually working towards the finer details. This approach alleviates the overwhelm often associated with intricate drawings.
Let’s Draw Habit Coffee in Victoria, BC
To illustrate this process, I’ll be using Habit Coffee in Victoria, BC as an example. Looking at the building, you’ll notice it’s a basic square with minimal windows and no intricate details. Begin by drawing a square as the foundation.
A work in progress
Continue adding the rest of the building’s features, breaking it down into proportions if necessary. Although a ruler can be helpful, I encourage you to develop an eye for visualizing proportions intuitively. It’s a valuable skill that applies to various subjects, from buildings to faces, plants, animals, and more.
Next, add the smaller details such as windows, doors, signage, and lettering. As you progress, observe any reflections on the windows, sidewalk lines, and foliage, if applicable. Multiple reference photos will aid in capturing these finer elements accurately.
Adding final details
Once you’ve completed your drawing, you can choose to outline it with a pen or ink. The final result will be a captivating sketch ready to be displayed or further enhanced with additional artistic techniques.
The Final Drawing: A Masterpiece of Precision
Here is the finished inked drawing of Habit Coffee, a testament to the process we followed. The art print showcases the beauty of the building and the skill applied in capturing its essence.
Looking back, starting with the big shapes and gradually adding finer details has proven to be an effective approach for all my architectural drawings. I hope this blog post has inspired you to create your own paintings or drawings, whether it’s Habit Coffee or any other building that captures your imagination.
If you’re new to watercolor or eager to learn more tips and techniques, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Basic Watercolor Techniques. Don’t forget to share your creations on Instagram and tag me (@andie.laf.designs) so I can celebrate your hard work!
Thanks for reading, and happy creating!