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Sketching in Berlin June 2011 Part 1

December 3, 2015

On my visit to Berlin back in June 2011, while traveling through the city, I was mesmerized by the recovery of the city while thinking back on the disastrous war eras. I managed to sketch a few iconic architectural pieces of interest that intrigued me as the suffering of the city ran through my mind.

Perception of these views and the scales to draw them in my sketchbook, are important strategies that I  consider before contemplating any on site sketching. These relate to the scope of  the views that I envision, and also the composition of the scenes that helps me to expresses the themes of my sketches.

Here’s a simple explanation on how I think about my process. First I usually survey the scene to discover axonometric views of objects that will assist me in translating the 3D scene onto my sketchbook page. Next, I visually frame the view, for example, to include parts of buildings with lines that extends to the horizon and to the vanishing points. This allows me to set the framework of the composition and which could help me tell the story.


Reichstag Dome 2

The high-tech construction of the dome above the Reichstag,  seems to express a contrast between the war and post war architectural eras.


Brandenburg Gate 2a

The Brandenburg Gate, also known as Checkpoint Charlie during the cold-war years, reminds me of the monumental years of conflicts between the previous two Germany. I was particularly in awe by  the significance of this edifice.


While the architectural “anarchy” of the Jewish Museum sent me into a peculiar disturbed personal mood which I found difficult to understand. I knew what to expect in the exhibition, yet at the initial sensation of experiencing it, I was cast into a sadness and wonderment at the atrocities of that time period.

Jewish Museum & Stair 2

The entry stairway too, with it’s purposely irregular flying structural beams, seem to signify the horrible human torture during the war years, and as a symbol of what one will encounter passing through the exhibition. Too spellbound with the emotional contents of the exhibition I failed to bring myself to make any sketches of the building interiors.

  1. Love your sketches Errol! Berlin has lots of great places to draw architecturally. Keep it up!

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