Perspective for Sketchers: A new online class with Stephanie Bower

I love sketching alleys and lanes, and Denver has many of them. When I was there a few weeks ago I sketched this one off the 16th Street mall. It was late in the day and there was a constant stream of waiters and line cooks who appeared from restaurants on either side of the alley for a cigarette break. One point perspective into a narrow space has always fascinated me. I love observing the light, colour and shadow on the buildings as they move further away from you. But with that fascination comes some trepidation about drawing the shapes correctly, including the angles on the buildings as they recede.

This summer at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore I attended Stephanie Bower‘s lecture “Good Bones”. It changed the way I look at the world. I understand the basics of perspective but until I watched and listened to Stephanie explain it, it didn’t seem simple or easy. She has a way of simplifying the theory in a way that is very adaptable to plein air sketching. And I believe that’s because she loves perspective drawing and that comes through in the way she teaches. She made me want to sketch perspective instead of avoid it. Stephanie has recently lauched a course on called “Perspective for Sketchers”. I highly recommend it if you approach vanishing points and horizon lines with some hesitation. Have a look at her blog where she offers a discount link for the course.


15 Comments on “Perspective for Sketchers: A new online class with Stephanie Bower”

  1. Stephanie Bower says:

    Oh Shari, wow, I am pretty much speechless. Thank you so very very much, I am really so honored by what you wrote and this post. THANK YOU!!! S



  2. I agree. Architects are taught this differently than artists and this is because we are taught structure. We are sketching our own designs from day one in perspective, until it becomes a familiar way of seeing the world: one point, two points, and then there are all the other crazy exploding axonometrics! It is so simple, must be, because so many architects take to it naturally — I think the confusion comes because of the way it is taught. I am also sending folks to her class!


    • That’s great to hear that you are another fan Katie. Yes, I think artists and architects look at the world differently. I had this discussion with Gail Wong — another architect and USk instructor — when we were in Barcelona. I look at the world in flat shapes and she looks at it in volumes. Very different approaches. When I was taught perspective in school it was so dry and didn’t seem to have anything to do with actually looking at the world. It was all very academic and not at all useful and that is what makes Stephanie unique. Her approach is very practical.


    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you, dkatiepowellart! I wish Architects were still taught to sketch, but most are not. I’m really hoping some architects and students might find their way to this Craftsy class…


  3. Tony Underhill says:

    I watched Stephanie’s course too and agree with everything you say about it – all of which comes through in your sketch.


    • I’m so glad you liked it Tony. I think she explains everything in such a friendly and approachable way — not dry, boring or technical. I keep telling her I see the back of her head every time I look at a scene because that is how she explained it in Singapore. She overlaid a photo of her head on top of every drawing and it made it so easy to understand.


  4. Janet Agulnik says:

    Hi Shari I bought her class a couple of weeks ago and found it to be very helpful. Of course i have yours as well!! Janet

    Sent from my iPad



  5. joantav says:

    Well done! The perspective and the shadows are so good. I’m planning to sign up for Stephanie’s class too.


  6. TR Duncan says:

    this is beautiful Shari, I even love how the ‘blossom’ of water could be efflorescence coming through the concrete. Beautiful colour depth and clearly a love of nailing the perspective.


  7. Julana says:

    I also watched it this week, and found it to be a great class. Stephanie makes it interesting and comprehensible. Perspective is one of the most intimidating aspects of illustrated journaling. I think Paul Heaston also offers a free Craftsy booklet on it.


  8. Louise says:

    I decided to register for Stephanie’s class. My buildings look very wonky … which is a nice way of saying ‘awful’. I began to think I should be taking cartooning instead of sketching, Either that, or I should work for Frank Gehry. Perhaps Stephanie can straighten out my buildings and my efforts. I tend to think in volumes too. Translating that to a two dimensional surface has been a challenge for me. Thank you for posting this info about Stephanie’s class. I am in awe of the excellent sketches on your blog, Marc’s, Stephanie’s, The Urban sketchers, and others. with some determination and persistence maybe I can make progress. With grateful appreciation …. Louise


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