Architectural Studies

Drawing Syllabus

ARTS 114

Drawing Architecture in London and Beyond: An Introduction to Urban Field Sketching

Instructors: David Lefkowitz (London) & Eleanor Jensen (everywhere)

Course Overview

Drawing will be a central component of your experience throughout our travels. The process of drawing develops a heightened awareness of the visual world. Drawing teaches us to observe, distinguish, and make relationships. Learning to draw from observation is in large part a matter of learning to see—to pay attention to details we often overlook, or conversely, to notice a bigger picture that is often obscured when we focus on a smaller part of a bigger whole.

We will focus on a foundation of drawing practices through observation of the built environment. During the formal course in London you will be introduced to basic drawing tools: line, form, value, space, perspective, and composition. Through practice throughout the whole term, you will develop technical ability and establish drawing as a creative, problem-solving tool. Course objectives include: an increased awareness of how we see our surroundings, manual skills in various drawing media, employment of direct observation and drawing concepts, and the development of a critical analysis for self-evaluation and also applied more broadly.

The Sketchbook/Journal

Everyone is starting with two sketchbooks, the smaller one we bound in the fall and the larger one that came with your kit. While these are interchangeable and both will serve as a record of your travels, use the one you made as your primary journal and the larger one to primarily practice skills. If you find yourself running out of space in either (which is likely to happen) pick up another sketchbook wherever you happen to be.

The sketchbooks will function as visual journals, a place to record observations and experiences. Consciously explore a range of drawing approaches. Create short, gestural sketches, as well as extended studies. Think about composition. Try to develop a steady habit of drawing, and the focus and thoughtfulness it requires. This course involves more independence and self-discipline than on campus. Always ask for prompts and feedback, when you need them. As we travel, make use of the portability of your drawing supplies and hone your attention to better see and understand new places.


It is not hard to meet the minimum requirement to pass this course, but there is an expectation that you will fully engage with the material. Midterm and final individual critiques will take place to discuss your progress. Results will greatly improve with dedication and practice, and the drawings will be a unique and special record of your travel experiences.


Formal class time weekday mornings January 10-23

Most days we will meet for class at 9:00 am at the Augustana Centre- International Lutheran Student Centre at 30 Thanet Street.


Color coded key to daily activity in London:


Sketchbook review/exchange–discussion about yesterday’s drawings (specific assignments)–small groups

In-class drawing time (sometimes)

Powerpoint intros

In class – drawing exercises designed to introduce concepts

Out and about – drawing assignments and suggested practice, bring to class next day to review. (See Sketchbook Prompts for more details)

*You are expected to also spend additional time drawing on top of the specific assignment. This work is totally open and up to you. If it’s valuable, spend more time working on the strategies focused on in class, but feel free to try other approaches.

Site visits- We will usually spend some time each day on site drawing, emphasizing the skills discussed in the morning.


Course Schedule

1) Wed. Jan. 10

Line–contour, proportion in 2-D–elevation drawings, basic structural elements

The Sketchbook-Journal/Looking at Drawings/Line

In class – pencil   varying line quality, proportion, measuring ratios

Out and about – elevation drawing of a façade/interior wall

Graphic elements on surfaces of the urban landscape- noticing details of the Already Flat-

Signage, shapes, symbols. Text- fonts, Design motifs- decoration, detail

British Museum

2) Thurs. Jan. 11

Line- proportion in space- translating 3-D to 2-D- overlapping, foreshortening, scale shifts

In class – pencil the Picture Plane, framing and cropping, translating three dimensions to two, still life set ups

Out and about – view through a window

Tower of London

Insider London: Sustainable Architecture tour (probably not much drawing-on-site time)

(coffee shop/pub drawing- still life)

3) Fri. Jan. 12

Value, shading- accumulated line for value– hatching, cross-hatching, accumulated line (directional mark)

Real Value

In class – micron pen still life objects –

Out and about – page (or more) of 12+ ‘specimens’- individual isolated things- depicted in pen, include shading using variety of approaches developed in class

Victoria and Albert Museum


4) Mon. Jan. 15

Value, shading- continuous tone

In class – pencil gray scale, simple still life forms

Out and about – long-ish continuous tone study of a sculptural or architectural feature

Westminster Abbey, Banqueting House

5) Tues. Jan. 16

Depicting Space, Linear Perspective- One point drawing

Space- perspective intro

In class – pencil one-point perspective practice

Out and about – one-point perspective drawing and 6+ thumbnail sketches

Tate Modern

Globe Theater

6) Wed. Jan. 17

(No morning drawing class)

Out and about – Two-point perspective- on site

Strawberry Hill House

Hampton Court

7) Thurs. Jan. 18

TBD- gesture intro?, perspective review

Gesture and the figure

In class – pencil gesture drawings of one another

Out and about – people in space- thumbnails and quick studies

Walk with ambulatory artist and mythogeographer Phil Smith – Hampstead Heath

8) Fri, Jan 19


Intro to color

In class – colored pencil – fruits and vegetables

Out and about – color and value study of an architectural feature using colored pencils

St. Paul’s, Temple Church


9) Mon. Jan 22

Intro to color- watercolor

In class – watercolor color mixing studies, more fruits and vegetables

Out and about – TBD

Chiswick House and Gardens

10) Tues. Jan 23

Watercolor continued

In class – TBD

Out and about – TBD

BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development)

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