Sketchbook - Building and Interior Illustrations (Liverpool Cathedral)

Last month I visited Liverpool for the first time (a friend was having her wedding reception there), and somewhere that really interested and inspired me was Liverpool Cathedral. It was finished in 1978, took 74 years to build and turns out it’s one of the biggest in the world! If you haven’t been before, it’s pretty spectacular… Its vast structure looms over the city and can be seen from pretty much everywhere as its on a hill. Inside it’s quite bare compared to some others I’ve been to, and its main allure is the spaciousness, the sheer height of the ceilings and the noble archways throughout. There’s a gorgeous (and massive) stained glass window at one end but what captured me the most was the light and shadow cast by the pillars and archways…

These are pretty rough sketches (I think I like the first one the best) but what I’m really enjoying about blogging is being able to post these rough illustrations somewhere, mostly because its actually makes me do them in the first place! As you can probably tell from my portfolio, portraiture is my favourite subject, but what I’ve been trying to do over the last few months is break away from that and improve other areas of my work. One of the main ones being interiors, perspective and interesting angles/compositions. I’ve come to realise that there is actually quite a large gap in my knowledge when it comes to these things… I can clearly remember being taught the fundamentals of portrait drawing as a child and again as a student. About the formula for mapping out a face and where the highlights/shadows should fall and even though I can remember being taught it, it’s now so ingrained in me that these things just come naturally to me when I draw a face now. Furthermore, when I worked as a memorial artist and my job was often to paint portraits, which meant I learnt (through lots of practice) about the tools and tricks to capture a likeness. On the other-hand, I think I must have been ill for when we were taught about perspective or maybe we weren’t ever taught it, but I certainly can’t bring to mind the same formulas when trying to draw a building or sketch the inside of someone’s living room.

So I’m kind of having to go back to basics a little bit and learn through doing. I don’t have a physical sketchbook, I find them a bit restricting and prefer to just use single sheets of paper. Once I’ve got the line work down, I’ve found I’m really enjoying using Photoshop to quickly add block shading. It’s really helping me to understand where light and dark need to go in order to successfully create a feeling of depth in an illustration. I think that’s the main thing about drawing/sketching/illustrating/creating, it’s about really understanding the shapes behind what you’re drawing and then learning how to translate it.