Thursday, 17 August 2017

How to tackle BIG Buildings!

It took me a while to get my head round the scale of the architecture in Chicago. It was not just that everything is so incredibly tall, although that was tricky enough: how on earth do you fit all that stuff onto your page?

It was also the relative sizes of the skyscrapers. You think one building is high, then you realise the one beside it is nearly twice as high. So, if you fit the tallest one in your book, the slightly less enormous ones become pretty small, which of course means you have to draw everything else super-diddy size!

And then there's the problem of all the windows. SO many windows. Hundreds, thousands... I wouldn't want to laboriously draw them all. Apart from anything else, it generally makes your work look terribly fussy if you do. And who has that kind of time?

So, I spent my time in Chicago gradually learning how best to 'code' the architecture, how to say more with less, to give the impression of all those windows with different marks and patterns.

Plus, I learned to come to terms with the fact that sometimes you have to cheat, as I did here, and make very different height buildings much nearer in size, so they'll all fit in...

Or you have to just get used to the idea that you quite often have to chop stuff off. Hey ho.

Once I loosened up a bit, I had a lot of fun with this more playful approach. It reminded me of when I first discovered that I could take incredible liberties with scary buildings, during a workshop with the brilliant Inma Serrano, at the symposium in Barcelona.

I got quite carried away with the this looser freedom, when trying to capture the ENORMOUS Buckingham Fountain against the impossible Chicago skyline:

It was much the same at the Talking Heads, filmed-concert evening I spent with ace sketcher and fellow instructor Stephanie Bower at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (which looked like nothing so much as an exploding, metal monster). We had a picnic and a bottle of red wine and all was well with the world. We both love Stop Making Sense and whooped and sang as we painted (the red wine may have helped with that):

The whole 'coded windows' approach fed well into my workshop too. Since I was already teaching about mark-making, I incorporated the idea of giving an 'impression' of what you see, rather than drawing the reality. This was a demo sketch I did for one of my groups in Lurie Garden, exploring just how little you can get away with saying:

Next time: working up the courage to paint Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, more commonly known as The Bean!


Ellie Patrick said...

They're all wonderful to study - from hardly any marks to lots but with no real detail in the windows - really instructive. Thanks for sharing. Love that pastel background on the tallllll one!! ps I've been sticking bits of torn paper and sketching over - you have much to answer for!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks you Ellie. Glad you like them. Have fun with your collage!

Suhita said...

This is a super post: packed with so many different ways to experiment with buildings. It's great seeing the progression of how you get more and more adventurous with those buildings in your sketches too.

Ratna Chaudhary said...

I want to have nver tried drawing buildings ,your blog is inspiring me now 💕

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks guys. I'm DELIGHTED if I have inspired you to try something new Ratna!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic sketches, Lynne. Looks like you had a blast! :)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes, it was great fun :-)