Adebanji Alade bic ball point pen graphite Inspiration to sketch planes sketch Sketchbook sketches on the train Sketching Tips structure three-dimensional Tombow dual wash pen tube and bus

I am happy to get back to this again after a good long think on how I was going to share this HOT SHOT. I am really excited about this tip and I hope you are able to really grasp the full gist of what I am trying to communicate. This hot shot is all about practicing sketching with an understanding of the structure, planes or with the mind of “The Three-Dimensional” in anything you are sketching.  If you missed my last HOT SHOT, HOTSHOT 9 which had to do with angles and tilts, please click HERE.


 Seeing what you sketch in terms of a Three dimensional structure which you can mentally break down into planes also helps tremendously. You just need to think of the cube and see how everything can be carved out of a cube or a block.



This is one of the best ways of breaking down complicated objects, scenes or anything that seems a bit complicated. The way to develop this technique is to have the mind of a sculptor. You have to see the simplest forms of the underlying structure in anything you are about to sketch.

I first got a hang of the importance of this, while at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art. Prior to that, I never ever knew how this concept would have anything to do with an aspiring portrait painter. But almost every single tutor at Heatherley’s said it! It sounded like this, “Adebanji your painting is OK, but you are not paying attention to the structure of the head!” I needed to get out of just sketching, drawing or painting things that looked just flat! Fortunately with lots of practice and dedication, I got the full hang of it!

This is the demo used in the video with a few more additions

The ability to see the underlying structure depends on you, practice looking at anything and just think what the underlying structure would look like, do a quick sketch of it and get into the habit of doing this. If you understand the CUBE it’s concept of length, width and depth. You’ll see that everything around us can be broken down to a three dimensional basic shape. the simpler the shape the better. As you advance you’ll see more shapes and they’ll be of great benefit!

Sketch and sculpture for the Demo

I have got some examples of sketches I have done and how I would have visualized this concept before taking it on at the initial stages of the sketch.

EXAMPLE 1. A Dog I sketched.

I was at a Summer Fair with a stall some years back doing quick portrait sketches in 10 minutes. I had a good and comfortable time with the people, young and old, boys and girls and even babies. I was making real quick money too. Until one lady brought her dog! I was terrified, but I thought I’d accept the challenge. At the end of the sketch,  she actually paid me double! The secret  for me that day was breaking the dog down into basic structure planes as can be seen below.

Dog sketch- This was the quick sketch I did of the dog


Structure Breakdown of the Dog Sketch- This is how my first few marks would have been like. It would have been done very lightly before I got down to more definite forms and details.


EXAMPLE 2. Building Structure– I started this structure at Hyde Park Corner with the same concept in mind. Once I was able to distill it all into basic cubes, it became a bit more easier to approach.

Building Sketch 1- This is the Sketch of Statue at Hyde Park Corner


building sketch 1 structure breakdown- seeing it this way and starting it off this way made it easier to take on

EXAMPLE 3- Heads sketched on Public Transport

Head of man Sketch 1- The focus is on the guy in the middle, I purposely cropped it to feature a zoom into his head


man sketch 1 structure breakdown- Here again you can see the simple structure planes that would be going to my mnid when I see a face that would really portray such qualities.


man sketch 2


man sketch 2 structure breakdown- this is the quick mental breakdown of the underlying structure of the mans head, I sketched above.


I hope with a few words and more pictures, I have been able to share this concept effectively. If you have gained something or still have questions, please feel free to comment, like or share with the social media buttons below. I’ll be happy to answer any questions on this HOT SHOT!

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