Best books to learn good architectural sketching


I want to know what books are good to learn how to sketch well on architecture, and if you can also recommend books about diagramming that would be helpful.

Dec 19, 12 10:39 pm

Francis chings Architectural graphics is my favorite

Dec 19, 12 11:05 pm  · 

For diagrams, visual thinking/presentation of statistics etc, I recommend getting Edward Tufte's books.

Dec 19, 12 11:08 pm  · 
1  · 

As for architectural sketching, did you mean books on perspective drawing? or just sketching/drawing in general? or more geared for industrial/product design?  or more technical instructions on drawing architectural documents (orthographic, plans, sections etc)?

Dec 19, 12 11:11 pm  · 

The best book to learn sketching is a sketchbook. By the time you fill up all those blank pages, you will have increased your sketching abilities. Absolutely no other way to go about it.

Dec 20, 12 11:02 pm  · 
boy in a well

I'd recommend Zoolander's Blank Book for Architects Who Can't Sketch Good

a modern classic, as noted above.

Dec 21, 12 12:21 am  · 

agree with threadkilla... want to get good at sketching? must sketch everyday.  

I was doing an internship in Italy last year and made it a point to get out in the city and do atleast one sketch a day... You should've seen the improvement I made when I compared my first drawing to the last.  In the end, I could draw lines so straight and close to each other, you'd think i used a ruler to draw.  Proportions when drawing from observation became so accurate compared to the always distorted drawings when i started out.

Dec 21, 12 1:48 am  · 

Moleskine and a fine pen.

Dec 21, 12 6:59 am  · 

Those books are all good.But I also need to know some books to learn how to diagram well in architecture.

Dec 21, 12 4:27 pm  · 

Visual Notes for Architects and Designers, by Norman Crowe and Paul Laseau

Sketching on Location, by Matthew Brehm

But really just do it. You'll get better by practice and critique (from yourself and from others)

Dec 21, 12 5:59 pm  · 

My problem is really that it is hard for me to start to design by sketching. Like these examples by famous architects: 



I am not saying that I have to draw like them, but I want to design my buildings sketching in 3D perspective like they do. That is hard for me. 

Dec 25, 12 1:36 pm  · 

You wanna hear something crazy? I would revoke licences from people who can't visualize their ideas by putting pen to paper. I had people who couldn't do just that tell me that I need  'more drafting' in my portfolio, after I had explained to them how I figured out the manual/mathematical way to draw panoramic perspectives (4 vanishing points for any object in cylindrical distortion, 6 in spherical). Seriously, if you don't know and understand what's going on between your brain, your eyes, and your hands, no amount of BIM software is going to make you a good designer.

Btw, all of the examples you show violate the rules of proper 3D representation in two dimensions, with an extremely high probability that the authors of the drawings broke them rules on purpose. Take away that conscious departure from Cartesian drawing standards, and your last two examples look like stuff I could, and did draw in grade 5, about 5 years after I made drawing a habit. Drawing anything, trees, monsters, Disney characters and batman villains, cars, people, and all sorts of buildings... just the act of drawing as a habit needs to be as compulsive as smoking tobacco can be as a habit.

Then, when you learn how to assess dimension with your eye and pencil, and you get a feel for conventional perspective construction, then you learn the rules. But I tell ya, once you get tired of playing by the rules, that's when drawing can get either real hard or real easy. But by then you know the difference between what was easy and what merely looks that way.  If you look through Aldo Rossi's drawings, you can tell the point in his career when he switches from drawing hard things to drawing hard things looking easy, to easily drawing somewhat hard ideas.

Dec 25, 12 3:12 pm  · 



So, What do you recommend to do? And what books are helpful for me? Thanks

Dec 25, 12 5:27 pm  · 

the advice above about just doing it is the best.  if you really want to learn to draw well there is no choice but to get a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and go to it. at first you will suck, and later you won't.

i would add that the goal is to get to a design, by any means you can, so don't fret overly much if you can't draw.  there are lots of ways to get where you need to and drawing is just one of them.


if you really must have a book (still not recommending it ) the least damaging is something like "drawing on the right side of the brain". it's really a book of warm-up exercises that train you to not be so scared of drawing, which is a good thing.

beyond that, try to be self-aware and spend a fair bit of time on drawing stuff, and in a few years you'll be great at it.

Dec 25, 12 7:45 pm  · 

I'm reading The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck right now. It might be worth picking up. Its making me want to sketch more, and being in Chicago, I have no excuse not to do so (except for the cold).

Dec 25, 12 8:13 pm  · 
chatter of clouds





i don't think drawing is taught well in architecture schools, not traditionally and not currently.

traditionally, you are expected to have completed  good drawing course/s prior to entry into architectural school and you are therefore asked for samples of freehand drawings.

currently, i don't think many schools have a clear and regularized expectation - possibly because somehow, digital comes across as having undermined, in substantial ways, the sovereignty the hand had over the design and its drafting. but this is needless in my opinion. the hand has its place and the keyboard/mouse as well.

in my opinion, one intensive year should be sent on drawing and sculpture/modelling techniques exclusively - hand and digital (programming, drafting, tablets..etc). this is to level the ground for entry students - one of the worse things aboout architectural education at its onset is that some students seem gifted only because they are better able to reach out to ideas via representation/drawing techniques. they had a priviledged background with respect to this area. there is no need for some student to feel the architectural equivalent of a unanesthetized cesarian section when others seem be undergoing an easier less painful childbirth.

instead, we get these programs accepting students into programs expecting them to start producing near perfection with little aid and then designing without growing into the tools of the trade first. 

and anyway,  5-6 years education in architecture is too uneconomical. we're not well paid to warrant such a long span. 3 years is enough and then bring back the paid apprenticeship along with supplementary courses.





Dec 26, 12 12:50 am  · 
chatter of clouds

also, if i may, piero1910, in my opinion books are far too easy to buy and there is nothing that guarantees that they will do much to further your sketching abilities.

i suggest you find a good realist-art teacher, one adept at teaching the basic principles. especially teachers who teach from a structural understanding. one who will inculcate these basics into you, lesson by lesson. its very enjoyable, relaxing and social. books can then be used as supplementary material.


Dec 26, 12 12:59 am  · 

there is no one book that will make you sketch like the next Steven Holl or Calatrava.  You need to go on amazon and search for books on Perspective Drawing, Designing, etc and practice it... Read, Read, Read, wide and varied and hope that all these skills will someday come togethar in your mind to draw anything creative.

Dec 26, 12 8:19 am  · 

I would suggest Design Drawing by Kirby Lockard. You will have to do some serious reading along with the drawing.  To bad  utube doesn't have films of his classes. He could really get it going in front of a classroom full of students.

Dec 26, 12 8:33 am  · 

My favorite sketching is offcaurse my own 3dh, where a sketch of Solids, just build as if core volume, space between surfaces, are replaced by a coomputer gerneated easy assembled, building core framework.

No reson to examine if this "realy work", as what it promise, are your sketch, transformed into building elements all registrated in a database with volume, weight, everything that make that particular frame real by being ccut from sheet materials on a N.C. routed but cheap 2D laser cutter manufactoring the building parts. 2dh is it called and has been promoted "here" for many years.

Sorry but I have to explain ; 3dh unfortunatly are _better_ than I can promote it to. It do deliver just any structure even an artistic skilled student can produce. I wonder how many architecture students who can't use some sort of 3D Solid modeler but transforming the structure into boring database was never the idea with computers. I also agrea, that the limited perception, of "placing" graphic representations of the tables, doors, windows, are a way to ensure you get the right things and pay for it, "building" a house.  But computers are much better than that -- you don't need doing things in a fasion, as the old methods and Logistics were re-written into computer code. Computers can much more than that.

They can generate a buildable  assembly framework, and frameworks in different scale and direction consisting of different scale 3dh structure, can bind just any structure together, ensuring absolut gurantie for strength, low cost and aswell as being a revolution in construction, this is what architect students allway's wanted also when I started with AutoCAD 2,6 and later 3DStudio.  --- even the next image, I airbrushed using 3 stencils, painted from a 3D drawing I once produced from a 3dh structure ;

B.t.w. the image, beside all the pictures I produce with airbrush, can be ordered so it make a wallpainting up to 70X100 Cm. It is multilayer Stencils and easy to use, I even give a free airbrush with it, when you order one of my wallpaintings.  It was painted with this as inspiration ; a simple 3D "web" Easy to build but allmost to Trivial, and first of all, it do not display the real advanteages of 3dh in the right hands., Sorry it is proberly 20 years old ;


Anyway this is what I mean ; in this tread I read a serious drive to design. The handdrawn sketches is lovely and nice, but this also make me wonder. Wonder what would be possible with the right tools in the right hands.

True it also make me sad to know, what great wins have been wasted, staying with a decend perception, a wrong image of "the structure" and the impac of this what happen in architecture, have great meaning for how our whole economy develob. 3dh is "allmost to good", beacurse the "problems" atleast some members here wanted to exist, never realy was there, -- but staying with manufactoring the critics against something wonderfull, kept the best of those participating in architecture debats, even trying it out. Drawings prove 3dh allready good enough for a lot structures but just becaurse some people can't figuree a thing out, that don't mean it is defect. Othervise ask the students that follow ths discussion what they mean, that is how I want to address it --- I moved on from 3dh, but I have NASA's words plus some chinese company's word for, that 3dh can be the future --- it "work", if it don't work good enough, the concept are sound enough to be made better. Just the idea that sheet material can be manufactored from Local materials make it exceptional -- it's not pre-made house blocks but a way to build, that is so much more efficient, that many more houses can be made, by building them on site. 

Sorry if the text drift a small bit into my own dreams about how architecture, should work. Belive me it is possible cheaper, even with a better logistic and use of the most cutting edge digital production to build what someone can sketch, like the handdrawn sketches in this tread. ---- a simple laser cutter can cut sheetmaterials, for just any building structure you will need. Even better it is so much different, from how things have been done, 3dh is simply a new way to percive a structure, to be able to acturely build it.


I think what I said describe my attitude, about sketching. I more or less forced myself to do as little as possible before making it into a digital image.  When I paint I acturely sketch for a bigger image. I also love painting huge images and done so since last time I was here, promoting my 3dh idea. Meanwhile I made a lot of StreetArt, but that you must find on the web or F.b. 

Hope someone have feedback about sketching a way, so what you sketch realy can be produced, "here and now.", or said another way, all building parts in the puzzle that will build the house, the ship, plane or whatever what will profit being build as a structure.

Dec 26, 12 12:53 pm  · 

See, you're missing my point entirely PerCorell.
Whatever automated system of digital structure delivery from 'any sketch' you came up with 20 years ago may be able to allow someone with no manual skill and an untrained eye to quickly fabricate anything they might imagine, but I see that as one of the roots of the problem.

You seem take the sketch as an end of one line of thinking, then force a versatile structural logic on it, maintaining faithfulness to the form of whatever is sketched at the expense of the concepts that may be driving that form...Sketching isn't supposed to yield something 'lovely and nice' - renders and your stencil paintings do that - which can then be dumped into software and out comes a somewhat rationalized version of your "blob-du-jour". 

At it's best, sketching is a methodology for recording one's observations of the world around them (that which one sees), a methodology that can also be applied to recording one's ideas (that which one thinks and imagines) as legible entities in the observable world. It's a way to communicate visually.

I bet you don't get a lot of people looking for books on how to read and write, speak and listen. Learning proper perspective construction is like learning the logic behind western music - you get 8 notes and you train with your instrument to be able to hit those suckers, go nuts!; except that you get anywhere between one and 6 points to vanish your lines into, and you train with your instrument to be able to do just that, go nuts!

The sketch isn't an end in and of itself, it's a means to an end. It's a way to order information like site constraints and climate, materials and construction systems, spatial effects and organization, etc. on the fly, in real time, with minimal processing delay other than the split second it takes for your brain to process visual information, and send the signal commanding your hand to make a move. 

Dec 26, 12 5:40 pm  · 

"The sketch isn't an end in and of itself,.."

Perhaps it should be? And perhaps the architect should sketch other subjects besides buildings?

Feb 4, 19 9:53 am  · 

Percorell:  Do you carry your computer everywhere you go and whip it out when you need to do a quick sketch?  what do you do when your computer batter runs out while you're camping surrounded by wilderness? xD

Dec 27, 12 7:22 pm  · 

those images are damn ugly btw... why would anyone want to spend hours on that?  you could've done a few dozen quick sketches first to see what works best before investing so much time doing that

Dec 27, 12 7:24 pm  · 

3 - D comes in many perspectives. Meaning, basics lead to Geometry, asymetrical designs, shapes and sizes.  There are many remote possibilities to hone into excellent architectural design and its basics. Remember, we are all individually unique, however it is practice which delivers the same result.  Lots and lots, and lots of grueling, hand and mind numbing practice. Then you will find that your brain has grown accustomed to the perspectives of  architectural grouping and design.

Jun 20, 20 4:27 pm  · 

is there anyone who has master degree in one of the fields of architecture? I want to get my master degree and I need help about fields, job opportunities and everything 

Jun 8, 21 1:34 pm  · 

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