June 23, 2014 — 23 Comments

As an architect, I tend to communicate through sketching – which is starting to make me a bit of a relic. Most young people these days seem to work more on the computer and generate images that are created digitally, which I love, but I don’t want one skill at the expense of the other.

Bob Borson on Instagram June 22 2014

One of the extra-curricular activities I spend my time on is working with the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) – the state level component of the American Institute of Architects – as their Chair of Digital Communications. [Hmmmm … wonder how I go that job?] We are about to run another one of our coordinated hashtag events on Instagram.  This is my one of my most favorite social media platforms – and particularly so for architects. Let’s face it, architects tend to do some pretty cool things and despite the unworldly number of photos of coffee and craft beers, architects seem to have pretty interesting Instagram feeds.

Texas Society of Architects on Instagram June 22 2014

Our Texas Society of Architects event actually kicks off tomorrow on Tuesday, June 24th, but I wanted to give some of you folks some notice so that you can be prepared come tomorrow and play along.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take a picture of an architectural sketch you have created – the subject matter can be of whatever you want

Step 2: Post that picture to your Instagram account. If you don’t have one, take the plunge with me here and sign up. There’s going to be all sorts of cool things we are going to do this year.

Step 3: Add the hashtags #ArchiSketch and #TexasArchitects in the description of that picture. If you didn’t know, adding a “#” in front of a word instantly makes that word searchable. This means you can click on any word that has a hashtag in front of it and all the pictures that have that hashtag will come up for viewing. Depending on the level of participation, we might even curate some of the pictures into an article on the Texas Society of Architects website.

Step 4: Follow txarchitects on Instagram (you can follow me as well if you aren’t already). Just so you know, there will probably be prizes at some point.


For fun, I thought I would look back at a block of photos that I’ve posted to my Instagram feed that would have worked well with the #ArchiSketch hashtag. The vast majority of images I post on my Instagram feed are architecturally themed, and a large chunk of those are sketches that I create as part of solving the problems associated with my projects. I’ve mentioned about a million times (although I haven’t counted to see if that number is accurate) that I am not a particularly adept at sketching, I can do it well enough to convey a thought and communicate an idea, which I suppose actually makes me quite skilled at sketching.

ArchiSketch Bob Borson sketching tools

The rest of my afternoon is starting to look up – all that’s missing is a beer
Hashtags used: #sketching


ArchiSketch Bob Borson archtectural redlines

FYI – sketching with a black pen is always more fun than sketching with a red pen
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson base plate design

another day, another practical sketch. Working out a column base plate detail for a steel window
Hashtags used: #frommydesk #architect #sketch


ArchiSketch Bob Borson sketch book

Tried to sketch a little while I was on the plane this weekend – kind of ‘bouncy’
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson glass door detail 02

sliding door, steel frame, butt joint glazing detail … Fun to solve but a margarita would make it more fun.
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson glass door detail

thinking through sketching
Hashtags used: #architectural #sketch#detail #whatanarchitectdoes


ArchiSketch Bob Borson basement wall section

a different sort of teaching sketch … this one’s for the contractor
Hashtags used: #sketch


ArchiSketch Bob Borson Cabana

just not feeling it today …
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson concrete bench wall design study

old and new on the same page
Hashtags used: #sketching


ArchiSketch Bob Borson deck handrail design

sketching out a deck guardrail so that it’s simple yet has some architecture to it – and owner wants a curb at the edge
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson desk wall design study

quick sketch of an interior bed wall – I think it reads well enough
Hashtags used: #frommydesk #sketch


ArchiSketch Bob Borson floor plan schematic

Working sketches this morning, walking a coworker through design dimensions
Hashtags used: #sketches


ArchiSketch Bob Borson Jardin de Tuilleries

Sketch from spring break – last time was #Paris, now it’s time for London
Hashtags used: #sketch #London


ArchiSketch Bob Borson playhouse elevation study

A peek at my playhouse this year – detailing and execution will make this sing
Hashtags used: #sketch


ArchiSketch Bob Borson lobby design study

nope – this ain’t it. Good thing I only spent 90 seconds on it sketching
Hashtags used: #sketching


ArchiSketch Bob Borson floor plan sketches

This is what 3lbs of sketches looks like
Hashtags used: none


ArchiSketch Bob Borson window elevations study

Not all projects are big and fancy, sometimes It’s a simple window package redesign
Hashtags used: #sketching #fast #whatanarchitectdoes


ArchiSketch Bob Borson trellis design

spending the afternoon sketching through a trellis detail – way more fun than processing pay apps
Hashtags used: #architect #design #sketching


ArchiSketch Bob Borson Nobu design sketches

Some days, being an architect is so awesome it’s hard to imagine I get paid to do this
Hashtags used: #architect


I know there are a lot of Instagrammers out there, and I hope you will participate in our hashtag event. Just remember to use the hashtags #ArchiSketch and#TexasArchitects (no spaces between words).

May you always have your favorite pen with you,Bob AIA signature

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  • Bamgbopa Folarin

    can some1 in Nigeria also participate?…well, for the fun of it

  • Bamgbopa Folarin

    i like the sketches, really gears me up to improove mine too, i just get tired or bored cos i cant seem to get the right markers and pens agian, was at an architectural store some days back in lagos here and seems sketching tools are going extinct, everybody just wants to use the computer and get rid of the job. sigh

    • Oshodi Tolulope

      Go to Artworld in Yaba, they even built a bigger store stuffed with archii literature, and good art/ archi supplies too!

  • Although I am a structural engineer, I sketch details often to make the structure fit into the architectural concepts. Rarely will I load up AutoCAD to layout a detail unless I require a level of accuracy. Many times I have sketched out structural details and email them to the architect to help them sketch their ideas.

  • Dzintars Berzinskis

    I like doing hand sketches for the concepts, and other purposes, but i wanted something that i can use, to import the sketch well in PC without scanning, so now i got a drawing tablet, though small, to see how it works out 🙂 Like a mix between tech and hand.

  • Bob,

    As a recent graduate of architecture school – I’m proud to call myself an avid sketch artist. Now, my understanding of detailing is lacking a bit, but that is to be expected so most of my drawings tend to be more general. I constantly find myself sketching just to understand ideas, forms, and various concepts and my firm looks to me a lot to prepare and execute sketch renderings for clients and projects. I find it is a great trait to have, and as a young person it helps me stand out – but that’s not what I am in it for. I’m in it for the love of the fresh marker smell – duh! I’ll have to start posting! follow me @coryissharp

  • Eric Drivdahl

    Love it! Keep on sketching!

    • Bamgbopa Folarin

      wow, this is serious work/time…you actually took time to detail the doors still

  • Great to see these sketches Bob.

  • Every time I see you post about sketching, it makes me want to pick up the pen and paper rather than use CAD (or sketchup or Revit, whatever)… and then I spend more time and effort than I should trying to make a great sketch, when an adequate version would suffice. You make it look too easy – nicely done.

    • I only show about 1 out of every 100 that I create – most suck but they help me work through my thoughts. Most of my sketches are created as a by product of explaining something to one of the people sitting around me in the office and they walk off with them when I’m done. Don’t worry about making a great sketch, worry about making one that does the job – that’s all that matters.

      Thanks for the compliment Mike, I appreciate it,

  • Glad that I joined instagram recently and started following you Bob – I always enjoy your sketches.

    • Thanks Elrond – I am glad you joined as well. Thanks for leaving a comment and for the continued support and engagement.


  • Guest

    I personally love sketching, sketching is the part of the work process I
    enjoy the most, but I’m still not sure about the whole Instagram
    I’m not old fashioned or anything, I tried to use instagram
    before, but all I could find was some selfies and duck faces everywhere!
    it was like ducks apocalypse.
    truth be told, I was reading today
    about using Instagram for something more useful than letting people know
    what you had for lunch, (yes I read about that today,- just before
    you posted this article- what a coincidence ha!).
    If I can come up
    with a good purpose for Instagram and put it in use, I’m sure I can
    manage to maintain a decent account. thanks Bob

    • Since you are in control of the accounts you follow on Instagram, you can ignore the ones that focus on selfies and duck faces – there are a lot of visually stunning and engaging accounts worth following. It’s a nice way to get some creativity into your day, either through your own devices or through others.

  • Kerry Hogue

    cool sketches Bob. my talents are not quite there to participate. good luck with the program though.
    so I think I can outdo you as a relic. I have no idea what an instagram is or how to even start. I also think a tweet is a sound a bird makes. and facebook is a collection of portraits.
    so maybe not really a relic, as much as not really interested in those things and my last ditch attempt of irrelevancy.

    • I wouldn’t say relic … you on this site leaving comments so that technically puts you ahead of a lot of folks. We’ll just say that your still getting started and leave it at that, until you decide to take on the next bit. You should look into Instagram, “fun” isn’t the right word for it, but it is engaging and is a good medium for architects – it’s obviously a very visual platform.

  • Tina Ryan

    just not feeling it today …#nohashtags

  • Michael Hampton


    I think your sketches are amazing and you are incredibly adept and talented at it. This is coming from someone who loves to sketch. It wonderful to see that an architect, such as yourself, is still practicing this art form in a world of computer generated drawings.

    Keep it up. Your sketches are very inspiring!



    • Thanks Michael – too kind. I keep thinking that I’ve become fairly adept at sketching the way I do, but I can’t help but think I need to get better at it. Wonder if that means I should take a class or something (that doesn’t sound like work but wonder what I’ll have to give up in order to take that class?)