Art and architecture

This past week our family went to Irvine for a few days. I had the opportunity to do a lot of drawing.

I am going through Rob Alexander’s book Drawing and Painting Fantasy Landscapes and Cityscapes. One of the best ways to learn is to draw from the other artists, studying their styles. So I have been going through the book drawing some of his drawings to figure out some of his techniques.

Here’s a quick landscape that I drew in 30 minutes:

I was able to learn more about how he drew snow, the winding of the water, and how he used the city on the cliff as a focal point. Hmm… I think my perspective is a bit off as the trees on the right sure looks small compared to the trees on the left. This was a pencil drawing.

The next day, I sat in the lobby of our hotel and drew the plants, with the atrium kind of hinted in the background. This one took about an hour to sketch in ink and paint in watercolor.

I am not too crazy about the pink balconies. This is what happens when you don’t know your watercolor paint palette too well! After I put it on the paper I realized it was way too bright, but I just went with it.

Here’s a photo of the scene I was looking at.

Besides simplifying the plants, I took some artist’s license and removed some of the railings, furniture, etc. It was the first time I did a drawing in ink with the intention of just using watercolor paint to tint the photo — most of the dark areas in the plants are really shading from the marker.

Next, I tried studying a fantasy city by Tom Kidd.

This was done in my sketchbook with mechanical pencil (all I had with me on this trip!) and took around two to three hours.

This photo looks huge but the original drawing of the city in the book was only about 4 inches tall. So I just really made up a lot of the details because 1) they were hard to see in the book and 2) I didn’t really have patience to recreate all the details. But I learned a lot! I learned:

1. Tom Kidd is an amazing artist.

2. There’s no way I could ever make up cities like this.

3. I am way too ADD to do drawings like this regularly.

4. I need to study architecture more.

One of the reviews I was reading on Amazon for another book said to draw fantasy architecture it is really helpful to learn details of different styles of architecture. That evening, after dinner, our family wandered over to Barnes and Noble and I was thrilled to find this architecture book in the bargain section!

It is super cool because inside it talks about different elements of different types of architecture.

Drawing from my imagination has always been a challenge for me. This is stretching me in new ways as I learn how to draw from my imagination better. In order to draw from imagination better, it means I need to study drawing real elements better first. I am looking forward to this challenge!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

2 comments to “Art and architecture”

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  1. Carmen Lin - June 27, 2012

    Now that you’re interested in architecture drawing, I wonder if you’d be interested in (European) churche? I have a book that I do not remember the title, but it is a collection of famous churches in Europe (might be something like Churches of All Ages). If you’re interested, I can lend that book to you. I’ll just need some time to look for it when I get home.

  2. A Yee

    A Yee - June 28, 2012

    I always like to look at pictures books! I won’t have time until August though. I am in crazy Breakaway preparations now!

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