Why sketching is an important tool to any architect.
Is sketching or drawing irrelevant in a world of technology?
Architect-academic Michael Graves disagrees: “architecture cannot divorce itself from drawing, no matter how impressive the technology gets. Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design.”
The ability to sketch (with or without technology) enables you capture ideas as they flow, to record the thought process at the time of inspiration when the hand comes into accord with the heart.
Sketching also offers a very effective means of communication for conveying ideas, concepts or solutions quickly to colleagues, clients or contractors.
So, whether you want to visualise your thoughts more or enhance your communication skills, here are some tips for improving your technique your skill in drawing.
Copy and trace
In developing your skills you can — as an exercise — learn a lot by copying the drawings of other illustrators and designers. Tracing helps you identify how certain effects are achieved. Using a grid helps you examine detail and technique.
Record your progress
Keeping a sketchbook and making a habit of taking it with you wherever you go means you can sketch whenever you want. This record of your work is a good motivator as you assess how your skill develops over time.
Attend a class
A taught class or course is surefire way to learn from an expert, to develop and improve your style and to get inspiration from others.
Alternatively, online tutorials and resources provide a great breadth of tips, skills and information and inspiration for all over the world. Bob Borson’s ‘Life of an Architect’ website offers a great deal of professional detail on, among other topics architectural sketching and is well worth a visit.
Draw what you see, not what you think you see.
This may always be a challenge but it is important for speed and efficiency to be able to sketch rough at pre-concept stage. With time and practice, your rough will become smooth!
Practice makes perfect
Draw when you can and wherever you can. Practice drawing different shapes, forms, and textures. Start simple and build, over time, to complexity through setting setting goals for speed, legibility, consistency etc. Experiment with different tools such as pencils, pens, felt tips, and styli. Practice on different media such as paper digital tablet and even your smart phone.
Sketching is a skill that requires practice. It is method of communication for which speed and efficiency can always be improved. Sketching is an important part of the process that starts with inspiration and through a visceral connection results in a building. Regardless of ever evolving technologies, drawing is and will remain the basis for emotive design, so don’t put the pencil down just yet.
“The initial sketch is always an emotion, not a concept” - Samuel Mockbee.