I became interested in architecture at a young age as I enjoyed designing house plans and sketching elevations. At first, I started out on notebook paper and those Academie sketchpads, then my dad gave me some of his engineering quadrille pads from work, and then I progressed to learning mechanical drafting in high school; just as many of you did, I learned about proper lineweights from Francis Ching.
Once I started hardline drafting, I slowly began to lose touch with my freehand drawing skills. And that is a great loss. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.
In “Towards a New Architect- The guide for architecture students,” British interns Yasmin Shariff and Jane Tankard emphasize over and over again how important it is for one to maintain her freehand drawing skills.
Chapter One begins with a great quote:
“Not a day without a line drawn.”- Pliny the Elder
Bringing their discussion full circle to address today’s automated world, they write (p.4):
“Sketching will help inform your computer-generated drawings in many ways. It will help you decide line weights, views, massing and orientation. It will help you understand 3D projections and make you much more confident and skilled at producing effective renderings. The hand-drawn line has qualities and character that the computer will find difficult to replicate because the hand-drawn line is imbued with feeling and knowledge that is immediate and unique, planned and spontaneous. The machine can only go as far as it is programmed to.
“Sketching develops your hand-drawing skills making it much easier to enter into a discussion or dialogue with others in your team. You can think and explore. If you are fluent and confident you will be able to take charge in a way that a good speaker can run an effective meeting.”
Production of construction documents and learning and keeping up with new computer programs like Revit, Archicad, Bentley, et al does seem to take up the better part of most intern architects’ time. It’s important for us to keep in mind that the invention of new 3D software such as Photoshop, SketchUp, and Adobe Illustrator does not negate the need for us to continuously sharpen our ability see with our mind’s eye and communicate our ideas by sketching on paper.
Do you still freehand sketch? If so, do you have a favorite sketch book and set of pens?
Thoughtfully written and congratulations on your new blog! It’s simple, clean and very clear that a lot of consideration went into the design. Of course blogs are all about content and it’s clear we have a lot of well-written, relevant content to look forward to from you!
Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. I really appreciate your compliments and show of support. I couldn’t ask for a better first comment on my inaugural blog post!
I teach drawing at one of the community colleges here in the L.A. area and I always try to impress on my students exactly the point with which you sum up: that software packages will come and go, but freehand sketching and drawing is a skill that will always serve you well.
I quit buying sketchbooks years ago; I always make my own now, and I teach this to my students as well. It’s so easy to do – just pick out some drawing paper that is to your liking, decide on a size format, design a cover (the fun part) and take it all to your local graphics shop for cutting and binding. You have complete control! The cover can be as easy as spray mounting a favorite photo on a piece of cardstock or chipboard.
If you like to use pencil, then you can get a paper with more tooth; if pen and ink is your thing, then go for a smoother stock. I usually get a wire binding but plastic coils are also good, and sometimes come in better color options.
Congrats on the new blog! It looks great, and I look forward to reading more from you in the future!
What an awesome, creative idea to make your own sketchbook. I love it! Now that you mention it, I must admit that whenever I go to the Art Supply stores, I spend more time that necessary picking out just the right sketchbook and usually end up with something that I’m not completely satisfied with.
You’ve given all of us a great tip- to create our own. I’ll have to try that.
I think your students are lucky to have your unique input.
Thanks for your in-depth comment, it was brilliant.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your new blog. I especially liked how you became interested in being an architect at such a young age. I have seen your free hand drawings and, I might say, they are incredible. How well I remember those early drawings and eventually saw your work displayed for the freshman at Ohio State University. Impressive! I wish you well and l look forward to reading more from you in the future. Your layout is very well designed. Congratulations! Good job!
Great NOTICE!!! One should UNDERLINE the WHOLE article!!!
🙂 You can see mine sketches at…. http://www.istra-histria.blogspot.com/
and at… http://sgline.blogspot.com/ and finally… at.. http://www.sgcircleprojects.blogspot.com/
Srdjan Gavrilovic M.Arch
Thank you for your kind comments of support and agreement on this topic. The credit goes to the authors of the book mentioned in the blog post.
How easy it is to take our gifts and talents for granted– or worse, to devalue them.
I enjoyed viewing your sketches- quite a progression from pencil light sketches from historical perspective of Croatia to bold, modern design ideas in ink and color. Did you write the poems? They were very good.
Again, I admire your passion for great architectural design!
Keep up the great work,