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I think I've forgotten how to draw

manamana

so while I was putting together my portfolio for grad school, I had a strange thought as went through many of my old freehand sketches and renderings.

I can't draw like this anymore

Somehow, after entering the working world, I lost the habit. I just don't sketch much anymore. it's rare that I need to for work, probably less than a day a month of sketching plan ideas in the initial project phases, or the occasional funky detail working out that happens before jumping back into CAD.

I need to go back to basics, here. What were some of the freehand exercises that you went through in your drawing classes? I need a refresher course in perspective sketching. Or maybe I just need to start doing it regularly again.

I have some binding supplies left over from grad school portfolios, I think I'm going to get some loose sketch paper and bind up some cheap alternatives to those $15 moleskines. I just need to find some paper - something thin that a felt tip won't bleed through real easily. suggestions?

 
Feb 3, 09 12:01 am
binary

heavy bond paper or cardstock

Feb 3, 09 12:13 am  · 
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holz.box

my handwriting and lettering have gone to crap.

but busting up your hand will do that.

Feb 3, 09 12:18 am  · 
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Hasselhoff

Probably end up spending $15 for decent paper.

I never took a drawing course. My scribbles are pretty much only legible to me. I can draw ok, but my sketches are more like secret code to myself. Actually, I'd say my sketch book is around 70% words and stuff glued in. Although, I was working out details by hand and it was blowing my coworkers' minds. My pre-arch background is a BS in Geology, so I guess maybe I have a more technical drawing style (maps, charts etc).

I got a big mess of vellum once. I was working at Utrecht and the rolls of vellum were packed with wrinkled vellum. It was a good, 10ft or more of vellum that I took home and ironed. It came out really nice. Sure, not smooth enough for final drawings (we didn't draw by hand in school anyway, except when I did the DS+R/LTL method on 1.5 projects) but it was really nice scratch paper, and I would sometimes "draft out" my ideas when I got stuck. Anyway, back to the story, I wanted to bind that into a book, but the supplies would have cost too much since I didn't have any equipment.

Feb 3, 09 12:21 am  · 
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manamana

I was thinking I might alternate layers of vellum and paper, so I can sketch on top of a bad sketch and correct things. Maybe two layers of vellum then a sheet of paper, for multiple revisions.

Feb 3, 09 12:35 am  · 
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liberty bell

mana, go out in the world and sketch buildings. That's really the best exercise I know. I also like doing blind contour drawings of my hand or stuff on my desk - it always seemed like a good synapse workout for me!

Feb 3, 09 9:26 am  · 
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peridotbritches

Do you want to revitalize your drawing skills or fill your portfolio with 'archisketchy' stuff to make it seem like can pull it off?

Feb 3, 09 9:33 am  · 
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wurdan freo

the reason you've lost this skill is because it is no longer a basic requirement to be an architect. I would spend my time learning revit instead.

Feb 3, 09 9:53 am  · 
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Gabe Bergeron

Any medium can be fine, if you take pride in it and treat it like a craft - make even mundane digital drawings into something you like. Otherwise, how're you spending your time? Pulling a factory crank?

Feb 3, 09 10:10 am  · 
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Hasselhoff

I love vellum. I like the feel and the sound. During reviews in grad school, I would zone out and draw the negative space. Or draw cartoons of classmates.

Feb 3, 09 10:43 am  · 
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chaos3WA

why are you glamorizing hand drawing? just use rhino to work out an idea. then it'll be in 3d.

Feb 3, 09 10:54 am  · 
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Philarch

Every time I draw, I have a fear of having gotten worse at it. But usually, it comes back after a couple sketches. Once I didn't sketch for a year, and the newer ones were so much better. I think the way I see and approach subjects can improve without actual sketching.

Sometimes, its not your technique, hand-eye coordination, or how you see. Sometimes it does come down to what medium you are best at. For example, there is a certain combination of paper and ink that really is best for my style/pace. It does take a while to get that combination back.

Feb 3, 09 11:31 am  · 
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citizen
"why are you glamorizing hand drawing? just use rhino to work out an idea. then it'll be in 3d."

This may the end of an era, Folks... unless Ryan is being ironic. (In no way a criticism, only a recognition of generational change.)

Feb 3, 09 12:34 pm  · 
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Dapper Napper

I'm in the sameboat as manamana, I try to sketch something or work out a detail and its just sad. I can't get my hand to do what my mind is telling it to do. Relearning how to draw is definitely on my to do list. I also do the contour drawings like LB does which helps my reconnect with the actual act of drawing.

Feb 3, 09 3:54 pm  · 
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la_la

i had a similar experience manamana! im bad at drawing now too - its kind of sad. my favorite freehand drawing excersise works best with silly friends: you just draw a continuous line without looking down at your paper {portraits are the funniest}

Feb 3, 09 4:15 pm  · 
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okram

I feel mana's pain: I too click CAD all day at work and never seem to sketch. I once had a sk bk made of mylar and chip board, coil bound at kinkos. It was so easy to be loose and free w/ ink because I could erase completely from the wonderful surface, if I didn't like the start of a drawing (not that I condone erasing f-ups). Turned out some of my favorite mind's-eye sks in studio with that thing. "I would hang them over my toilet", as a great ol' prof used to say.

Feb 3, 09 4:35 pm  · 
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liberty bell
the reason you've lost this skill is because it is no longer a basic requirement to be an architect. I would spend my time learning revit instead.

why are you glamorizing hand drawing? just use rhino to work out an idea. then it'll be in 3d.

There's a difference between representing an idea you see in your head and recording something you see that exists in the world already. Those 3D programs are great for the former; hand sketching for the latter.

Photography doesn't do a good job of recording because it distorts things (as interns trying to draw existing conditions have learned). Hand sketching means learning what it is you're seeing as you have to see what it actually is to understand it.

I know it seems like us old timers are "glamorizing" hand drawing skills, but why limit yourself when this is a tool that is free, easy, and impresses the pants off clients in a meeting? ;-)

Feb 3, 09 4:43 pm  · 
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citizen

...pants off clients in a meeting

LB, are you channeling Puddles?

Feb 3, 09 5:22 pm  · 
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JCT81683

Im in no way an old timer, but i think the benefit of being able to sketch on paper far exceeds the ability to use rhino or any 3d modeling program.

No one ever said sketches have to be artistic, but its the only way to quickly convey the idea in your head to your boss or coworker for discussion.

I agree with LB, to truly understand a place, or a space we have to draw it.

Feb 3, 09 5:34 pm  · 
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peridotbritches

"why are you glamorizing hand drawing? just use rhino to work out an idea. then it'll be in 3d."

Its surprising to me how angry this statement makes me. I am 25 - I've gone through school and work in the field. I draw by hand everyday in different ways. My employers sketch between themselves and for clients. I've never seen ANYONE clamor out a computer to demonstrate an idea that didn't also involve an incredibly lengthy conversation to fill in all the gaps in both their knowledge and in the informative nature of the '3d idea'.

What makes me angry about the above statement is that is suggest an unconscious desire to do less work and get more out of it. That anyone just flippantly thinks this is the necessary future of design is beyond stupid. I am beginning to see, within my generation, a subtext of laziness among designers and students to forgo any personal investment in their own talent, their own spirit, and just let the fucking computer do all the work.

Lets just bypass all the skills and experiences and challenges which make your life have meaning. Perhaps its a bit to emo, but the desire to produce with out 'process' is unforgivable.

Feb 3, 09 5:39 pm  · 
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peridotbritches

"No one ever said sketches have to be artistic"

What does that term 'artistic' mean? More importantly, what does it mean for it to be used in the way you are using it?

Feb 3, 09 5:41 pm  · 
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peridotbritches

The meaning of the term 'draw', as I've ranted before, means 'to draw forth' - it has to do with essence. That requires your entire person, body, mind and whatever else, to act in concert towards a chosen aim.

There is NO essence in a digital model - it is not part of the world we share and inhabit and it is in no way equal to a mark made in the world. There's so much about percpetion and relationship which is thrown right out the window when the attitude of a designer is "the computer can do it better so I don't have to".

Feb 3, 09 5:44 pm  · 
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citizen

Wow, Greenjeans, you go!

As one of the old curmedgeons around here, it does my heart good to see the youngsters get how important hand-drawing is.

Feb 3, 09 5:51 pm  · 
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liberty bell

peridot: you rock. Very well said and I agree, I sense laziness as well as fear. I have a colleague who is one of the smartest people I know, has amazing visual abilities, can sketch a detail in 3D of any damn connection in the world. But put a naked model in front of this person and s/he panics because life drawing was never a skill taught in school for this person, so it scares him/her.

Note I said drawing is a "skill". It is. Anyone can learn to draw, and draw well, just like anyone (including me) can learn to use Rhino. Talent isn't really necessary.

("Greenjeans", so cute!)

Feb 3, 09 5:56 pm  · 
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peridot is my new hero.

Feb 3, 09 9:23 pm  · 
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binary

i can sketch a really close to scale detail of a connection faster than a person can cad it up and add hatches...(forget the whole copy/paste system in architecture)... shit, i'll even double over some lines to make it 'pop' a bit .....

Feb 3, 09 9:30 pm  · 
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won and done williams

i thought hillary versus obama was bad. nothing polarizes this site faster than digital versus "the hand."

come on, guys, these skills are not mutually exclusive.

Feb 3, 09 9:37 pm  · 
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n400

starting to remind me too much of this thread:

http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=14444_0_42_0_C

maybe someone out of practice could draw something to bump this thread:

http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=67720_0_42_0_C

or find something on the net to bump this one:

http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=83525_0_42_0_C

or another thread of sketches/drawings

Feb 3, 09 9:52 pm  · 
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some person

Sketching over a computer-generated wireframe or elevation is my favorite type of thinking in the office right now. The computer-generated underlay gives some measured certainty to the sketch without constraining it.

Feb 3, 09 10:00 pm  · 
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simples

manamana...for me, sketching has been like riding a bicycle...you might get rusty, but once you force yourself to intensively draw again, you will find yourself back at top form!!! as an exercise, i like to keep a sketch pad near my workspace, and from time to time, I sketch whatever I am working on beautifully...exclusively for myself, as the designer having a conversation with the design...not only it's a good exercise for sketching, but also a great way to re-energize yourself and refocusing on the essence of what you are working on...

(then i take'em home and show'em to my wife...they end up in the refrigerator sometimes!!!)

Feb 4, 09 12:21 am  · 
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simples

sorry for the tangent, but i just watched penelope cruz being interviewed on TV...now, i feel like sketching something beautiful!

Feb 4, 09 12:22 am  · 
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peridotbritches

"shit, i'll even double over some lines to make it 'pop' a bit ....."

Love it, you are hired!

Feb 4, 09 9:28 am  · 
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le bossman

geez i pretty much only sketch for work these days. the last several jobs i've had involved lots and lots of sketching. killing entire rolls of trace in a couple weeks. i'd rather work ideas out on paper and then plug 'em into the computer. on paper you aren't limited by the bias of commands and tools offered by whatever computer program you're using.

Feb 5, 09 11:24 am  · 
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Emilio

n400, you forgot the ever-popular

http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=74501_100_42_2150

now there was a lively discussion...

Feb 6, 09 4:27 pm  · 
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