Drawing like an Architect

Bob Borson —  September 1, 2011 — 81 Comments

“How good do you need to be at drawing if you want to become an architect”

“How can I be an architect – I can’t draw”

I wish I got one frequent flyer mile every time I heard one of those two questions … I would have like 300 miles. Okay, I should choose a different analogy but the point is that it comes up a lot. I’ve got a secret to share …. come closer …. closer….

You don’t have to draw well to be an architect!!

Sure it doesn’t hurt but let’s pull the curtain back and be honest here for a minute. Architects communicate through drawing – we aren’t making art. Surprise!! I don’t know that many architects that can draw really well and with the proliferation of computers, it’s a skill set that is rapidly disappearing.That’s too bad – it’s a good skill to develop.

Did you catch that I said skill and not art? Drawing – or sketching in the case of what architects need – is a skill that anyone can develop with a little training and some practice. If you’ve seen the t-shirts I’m making (go here if you haven’t, try to buy one) I have little hieroglyphs on each one that I drew and the shocker here is that I am not that good at drawing … but I’m not the worst either. Let’s start with something simple – the CAD Ninja hieroglyph


ninja drawings

The first sketch is a wire diagram where I blocked out the rough shapes. I can’t really draw hands of feet (it’s true – look at any of my “people sketches”). I then laid a piece of trace paper over the top and went over the shape with a single line to clean it up a bit. Lastly, I took it into Photoshop to make it the hieroglyph I used in my t-shirt design. Unless you are a 12-year-old boy, you probably won’t have practiced drawing 1,000’s of ninja’s before so working it through a process is how you get from beginning to end.


drawing icons in my sketchbook

Here is a page scanned in from my sketchbook. This is where I was sketching out some ideas for other hieroglyphs – none of these are drawn very well but you can probably tell what most of them are – that’s the communicating part of drawing. How does this translate into architecture? Let’s take a look at some real life, un-edited sketches I did yesterday in the course of doing my job.


Handrail Bracket Detail

This is the design sketch I put together to think through a handrail bracket on a project I am working on. The sketch conveys the different parts and how I think they should go together. The bottom drawing is the finalized construction drawing I drew on the computer. You can see that it’s not much different. The sketch is the fruit of a thought process – it helps me process all the different parts as well as identify potential issues that will need to be addressed. Case in point: when I first drew the sketch, I had planned on having the screws be set at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions – so that’s what I drew. As the sketch was coming together, it became clear that it would be difficult to access the screw at the 12:00 position because the support post for the handrail would be in the way. Typically I generate these sketches and can hand them off to others to process the remaining details.

Detail Section at Handrail

This is the counterpart to the first handrail sketch – you sort of need them both to convey to the contractor what is required. The point is that none of the sketches here are works of art despite what my mom would say if she saw them. I spent a whopping 5 minutes on these and they get the job done. Sketching is a way of communicating, a way of conveying a thought that is in my head down on paper. I wrote a post called “Your Sketches Speak for Themselves” back in April 2010 where I showed sketches that I had made almost 16 years ago. I still sketch the exact same way – no better or worse – but you can see how I communicate (even with myself) while making these drawings.

I am not able to draw masterpieces and I have come to terms with that. I am able to sit down with a client and with a pen and piece of paper draw in real-time in front of them the ideas and concepts we are discussing. It is a powerful communication device and one that I spend a bit of time working on – just so I don’t lose my touch. It’s important to me that I be able to draw devil horns and Mexican wrestling masks on the faces of people silly enough to leave pictures of themselves lying around.

Bob as a Mexican Wrestler

What you think about sketching? Is it important at all, is it a skill that you think will benefit your role as architect? What would you tell the high school kid who sends me the email that reads: “How can I be an architect – I can’t draw?”

Bob-AIA scale figure

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  • Brandon Koots

    I used to think I needed to be good at drawing to become an architect. But after reading your articles about this, I realized that I’m safe. I’m pretty good at visualizing my ideas and put them on paper. Thanks! Wonderful blog by the way. The best!!! Definitely fuels my love for architecture. Can’t wait to start studying architecture next year.

  • cray.giraffe

    Well of course there are many software available to be used nowadays but most of the tutors in my school (I am an architecture student) still prefer sketches.. of course I agree that the ability to sketch well is very important because we have to communicate through drawings (especially design development process). BUT the worst is that sometimes I couldn’t draw what is inside my mind :'(

  • adi

    hey !! i am a hardworking student ! but i dont knoe how to draw ..and also my imagination skills are weak ….should i go in for architecture ? i am good in motivating people and being a leader….so should i go for management ??? PLEASE REPLY !!

    • wilson

      Yeah go for management.
      Since you are demanding already =)

  • jeff jefferson

    I like your sketches but also the computerdrawings. Wat program do you use?

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  • http://escapingwithbooks.blogspot.ca/ Leanne Yang

    Hey, I’m heading into 11th grade and I am looking into Architecture. I’m one of those high school students that can’t draw, not very well anyway. I love photography and have dabbled in graphic design, but other than that, I have nothing for a portfolio. I honestly don’t know whether or not I want to pursue this any more, but I also don’t know what else I would want to do for university or as a career in general.

  • swaq

    I just passed architect entrance but my drawing skills are really poor. Should i try for architect or not ?

    • Clive Walters

      Few people can just sit down and draw. Drawing is a skill, like any other and requires instruction and practice. Start by getting a book on sketching at a library (remember books?) and do the exercises. There are a few rules about pencil craft (holding and using a pencil), proportion, perspective that are easy to use. Then, keep sketching what’s around you.
      Architects basically think visually, but they organise information, communicate with people, and develop an acute awareness of how people use buildings. Sketching helps with thinking visually, but I don’t know of any ‘app’ that wil do this for you.

  • Clints

    Technology can do alot of things already, so even if you cant draw that good, there is an app or something to do it for you right? I will be taking up architecture, however, still not that good at drawing.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      technology can’t draw for you – you will still need to virtually build a project in one of those programs to output a 3D image. Sketching is simply about practicing – so practice a bit.

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  • Chantel

    Hey I’m only in 7th grade but I’ve already got my mind set on being an architect when I’m older but I don’t know how to start practicing what do I do?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      since you’re in 7th grade, I would recommend that you start by just paying attention to the built world around you. Start looking at everything and try and see how the spaces work, how things were assembled, and whether or not they work.

      • Silver

        I agree with this. I usually use roblox to up my skills with these things, but if you really want to make it less complicated, try drawing the very room or area around you for a bit, then draw an imaginary room or area for a test.

        If it doesnt look good, do it again until you are satisfied and proud of your work. At least thats how i do it.

    • Anthony James Velazquez

      hi im an 8th grader right now and i dont know wht to do niether i am a very poor drawer

      • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

        you are incredibly young and your skills haven’t been developed. I don’t think I was good at drawing my any measure until I got to college. Besides, you’ll get better at drawing the longer you do it.

  • guest

    someone once told me that drawing skills and being talented at it means that you have other skills that is important for being an architect, is that right ??

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I haven’t heard that specifically but I would imagine that the comment might be referring to a persons ability to visualize space – certainly a good skill for an architect

  • Sandra Perry

    Just showed your blog to my son that was discouraged by his first drawing assignment in Architectural Drawing…Thanks so much….this gave him the courage to go on!!! Mom of a college kid

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      just reinforce that drawing (sketching) is a skill that can be developed through practice and time.

  • Ben Ling

    Hey Bob, I’ve been looking for a font that looks like the one they use in Autocad. Can I ask you what font you use in those drawings. I assume you are a Mac guy.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      architxt.shx and archtitl.shx are the fonts

  • Vitruvius

    That’s why architecture nowadays sucks because of architects who are not artist. No talent at all.


    Five years ago I decided to switch to interior design from being a schoolteacher
    and my worst fear was not being able to draw a single thing. My art
    grades at school had always been a disgrace. Well I started tracing on
    top of photographs first, then colouring a bit with markers and, with a
    lot of practice and seeing that I can get better, I have come to being
    able to sketch my interiors free hand. I am no artist and never will be,
    but I can tell you this, with love and motivation, anyone-and I mean anyone- can do it!

    • DLShow

      I love your drawing

  • http://www.facebook.com/deepikavasudeva Deepika Vasudeva

    Thank god. There are people who can’t draw but are in this profession.

  • Combustible Rabbit

    Awesome article i’m in my last year of high school this year looking to become an architect and iv’e been scrambling like crazy to try and get my drawing skills up to scratch.It’s a great relieve to know that i don’t have to be able to draw a masterpiece to be able to do the job,but seeing as you’re an architect and you’ve studied just one slightly off topic question,How important is math really in the proffesion both to get accepted into university and in the job itself?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Math is fairly important but for what I do, I rarely need anything more than addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The math I did in school was 10x more challenging than anything I’ve had to do in the 21 years since I graduated. Just get through it and you’ll be fine.

  • rainbowsandsprinkles

    Really great post! I do agree with you that drawing is a skill and some people are better at it than others but that can be said of all creative pursuits (arts, music, or anything that requires practice and tons of brain power). I actually think that architects are better at communicating through their drawings/design work than the majority of graphic designers regardless of skill level in drawing because there’s so much more that needs to be conveyed in blueprints than there is in a print ad. Designers with an architectural background can pretty much draw/design in all creative fields–by the looks of it your t-shirts are awesome! I’m a big fan of architects who end up going into textile design…there’s plenty of them who design such amazing textile patterns because of their command of design, color, and communication. If you don’t mind me asking, what pen do you use for your sketch work and on what paper? The inkflow looks very even and smooth and doesn’t seem to bleed through the paper. Thanks!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I have recently switched pens but in the images above, it was a “Sharpie” Ultra Fine Point. However, they do bleed through the paper. Now I am experimenting with the Papermate Flair M – pretty happy with it so far.


  • subgenius

    nice article, an often overlooked skill for architects…..by the way, no way for contractor to determine mount height on rail detail (since t/rail is noted) 😉

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      there are loads more drawings that are associated with this stair – these were just the handrail specific drawings

  • Evgenia

    “The point is that none of the sketches here are works of art despite what my mom would say if she saw them.” !! oh, How this is true :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.goff.5 Jason Goff

    I’m really glad to read this article, and a lot of the comments were spot on as well. Given enough time I can can draw a pretty decent picture, but my quick sketches are exactly that, quick sketches, but you get the point. I’m a second year student in studio with some seriously gifted artists. What I’ve noticed is that the people with epic art skills have more difficulty with the clarity and intent of their drawings, it’s almost as if they are so focused on rendering them realistically they forget the reality they’re trying to convey. I’m the oddball (or maybe old guy) in my class as I prefer sketching and hand drafting to digital methods, but for me I just feel more connected to the development process with a pencil in my hand.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Jason – there are a lot of people who feel exactly as you do … and they have been architects for a long, long time.

      Good luck in school

  • mariam

    hey bob ,gud job there. i love designing new stuff and drawing i’m mad about drawing and stuff but i have a huge problem when it comes to maths and i know for an architect maths is really important.I am 16yrs i am wanna be an architct can you please help me with this problem. and what subjects do u think i should opt for in11th class.

  • Tshepo Mogari

    That is true words there is nobody that is perfect like a life quote i use “Life isnt about finding yourself Life is about creating yourself” sorry about the stars i dont know how to do it because im typing on a samsung tablet

  • KostantineP

    well well well… that’ s what i say to my students… All of them continuously ask me how is it that i can sketch so good! Well of course it ‘s practice and some geometry as well. Nothing more! But, Bob, i am really interested in your scetch cad fonts… Name it for me please!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      architxt.shx and archtitl.shx – if you don’t have any luck finding them, send me an email and I will send them to you

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cheryl-Mason/100000472410081 Cheryl Mason

    Since I started  Senior High School,i have been searching the suitable job for me.I’ve been through my engineer and archeologist phase,but since i want to study in the National Technical University of Athens (not the one in America) I abandoned the idea of the second one.And then,last year to be exact I met an old architect and got me into architecture.I admit i always had a thing for building but I abandoned due to my complex,despite that  I decided to set Architecture as my aim and started trying to fix my mediocre grades and this year I went from a 75%-80% up to 87% and I am not aiming for more 90-93% due to the Greek education being so difficult to deal with  (and when I say difficult,I mean as in you have to learn a bunch of stuff that isn’t explained so If you don’t learn every kind of exercise by heart you are going to fail).I also started taking art classes for free-hand drawing and architectual designing and while I have some potential I am so messy all my designs turn out to be a dirty bunch of crap.I practice and I am better now with the pencil but I am still having problems when the pen’s time comes.But the biggest problem is that my friend keeps reminding me how much better she is at drawing and design,even though she is aiming for engineering and I am feeling that I am unworthy of the position that I might or might not gain at the university,when there are such naturals out there.It’s difficult to know whether I really want it or not because at this age it is a little bit difficult to know what a job is actually like.I don’t know what to do.By the way do you have any tips for the pen? And lastly I want to congratulate you for your informative site and say sorry for all the babbling. 

  • Guest

    I’m currently writing an essay on whether an architect has to be a good painter/sculptor (artist). Would you mind if I quoted some bits from this post in it?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Sure – help yourself :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583463261 Ferdz Reyes

    nice one bob!  let me say that i am one of the first one to jump in to 3d studio and made a living out of it.   i was reunited with some college coleauges lately who have not migrated to the computers and stayed with free hand sketching.   how sorry i was when i tried doing some freehand sketch then find out i cant anymore. :(  this made me realise i need to go back.  been sketching everyday since :)

    oh and those friends of mine,  they’re getting into digital presentation now. 😀

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      putting yourself in a position where you only know one form of the other has it’s downsides. Good in one version and serviceable in the other is good enough I think depending on your role in the office. Clients don’t see me create 3d work in front of them like they do when I sketch. I try and know both forms just to cover my bases.


  • Airmail1423

    how can i be an architect, i’m bad at math?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      do you understand gravity? It’s all downhill from there

    • yash gupta

      no @efe0b43a4286b5a64cc96dbab76a73eb:disqus its like doing pushups with one hand….. if u love architecture don’t worry u will sought it out!!!!!!

  • Bernvall

    Im currently a student in BSc maths & Physics, and i completely love maths and physics. However im having doubts about what jobs i can do after since its mostly theoratical! So im thinking of going into architecture, and then in the 4th year choose Structural engineering….becuase im not really a creative or artsy person (even though im sure that during the course youll learn how to be creative and what not), but i feel im better in solving problems and calculations. What do you think i should do?

    quite a late comment 😛

  • http://twitter.com/EdemSays Edem T

    True, architects aren’t (in the main business of) making art. But you have to agree all artists’ sketches can pass as art. Yeah, we’re cool like that. :)

  • http://www.lscarpetandflooring.com/blog/item/different-flooring-options-explained/?category_id=1 Erica | Flooring Los Angeles

    Really cute drawing… :) I don’t really have a talent when it comes to that, my friends can’t understand my drawings. Luckily there’s Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. 

  • Richard

    Quite true Bob. I’m afraid my mother is the oil painter, and I the guy who can only change the oil in my car…I was never much of a drawer, yet I loved architecture and always tried to draw what I saw…Badly. For the most part i depended on my photographic skills to record what it was I wanted to recreate later on. My successes came when I learn how to use AutoCAD and discovered the talent I had seeked was all in 2D, not 3D. Now I use Revit and the fine folks at AutoCAD have given me a tool I can look damn good in regardless of how poorly I can draw. Now if only they could do something about my colour blind problem…

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’m quite sure if you asked AutoDesk they would sell you a upgrade package so that you would no longer be color blind. Of course, you would have to update the software every year…

      • http://twitter.com/AlexStandiford Alex Standiford

        And the software would slowly try to kill your precious command prompt.

    • http://twitter.com/AlexStandiford Alex Standiford

      I’m no architect, but I am a mechanical engineer.  I too suffer from this bad sketching issue.  I tend to draw so small that by the time I’m done sketching my paper just looks like a blob of ink with arrows pointing at it saying “screw” and “pinion.”

  • http://twitter.com/Splintergirl Amy Good

    Oh my word!  You and the devil-in-an-apron!  Wow.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      it’s a Mexican Wrestler mask – my daughter wanted me to ad the tail (she wanted a horse’s tail but I didn’t want to draw that so we settled on what you see here)

  • http://twitter.com/lenorahamilton Lenora Hamilton

    I’ll admit, I’m an architect who “can’t” draw. And I know it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I don’t. I keep telling myself that I’m going to make time to practice regularly, but I just don’t quite get around to it. Why? It used to be fun to sketch when I was a kid! Somewhere in the course of architecture school I became embarrassed by my lack of ability. It also doesn’t help your confidence any when someone actually feels the need tell you you’re a shitty drawer rather than encourage you.
    Part of me feels guilty when I do actually pick up pen and paper…”This isn’t productive! I’m just going to draw it on the computer anyway – why don’t I start there and save time?” Tempus fugit! But I know I’m cheating myself as well as the end result. There is something inherently rigid about computer drawing where the evolution of an idea is completely lost.

    An architect’s sketches tell a story. Oh, and I love telling stories! I’m going to draw something today.

    Thanks for the inspiration Bob.

  • http://mjvala.tumblr.com Mike Vala

    I thought I could sketch fairly well – until I got to architecture school… then I saw some true natural talent in some of my classmates.  However, I’ve survived so far, even without the natural sketching skills, because like you mentioned, with practice those can be adapted and improved.  It does seem to be more about being able to get your point across than being able to draw a perfectly straight line or perfect circle…
    Also, I agree with the comment earlier about CAD vs. hand sketching – there’s something very fluid about drawing with pen/pencil on paper that’s not available (currently) in the computer.

  • http://twitter.com/architectjohn John Hubb

    Speaking of sketching! http://www.unplggd.com/unplggd/computers/wacom-inkling-ballpoint-ink-to-digital-illustrations-154940?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+apartmenttherapy/unplggd+(Unplggd)

    Hmmm BoppHubbRepp… I’m intrigued.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I saw the Inkling yesterday (scoreboard) it looks very intriguing…

      The firm name need to be ReppHubbBopp – for the simple reason that the the ending ‘b’ in “Hubb” will roll that much easier into the ‘B’ in Bopp. Don’t be fooled by the bracketed douple pp’s in Repp and Bopp. Go with the mouth flow. Besides, I know what I’m talking about – remember this:

      “How to Name you Design Firm”

  • Judith Repp

    Au contraire, Bob — you draw very well!  I am something of a pen freak … what pens do you use?  I worship at the temple of line weight — and you have it down! 

    On a side note, if John Hubb and Dustin Bopp are amenable, I propose we start a firm named BoppHubbRepp….

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      thanks – I appreciate that. Need a Ninja drawing?

      Also, see the comment above re: your firm name suggestion… I had a thought.

  • Anonymous

    “I am able to sit down with a client and with a pen and piece of paper draw in real-time in front of them the ideas and concepts we are discussing. It is a powerful communication device……”

    Nothing’s more true than that statement. Freehand sketching in that kind of format is an extremely effective way to communicate and has become an indispensible part of my design process. Years ago I started experimenting with smaller scoped projects the idea of developing the design concept from scratch in a design charrette eyeball to eyeball with the client. At first it was a little scary. Kind of like having the lead in a play but no rehearsals. But the clients loved it!! The sketches piling up in ever thickening layers of bumwad in front of them shaping the concept, ideas being rejected, ideas being accepted, ideas being modified with more bumwad overlays. All of it right in front of them with them being a major participant.

    I’ve gotten to the point of using sketching in that format for entire houses. For example, did one a few weeks ago. At 8AM, armed with just bumwad, a scale, pens and coffee we started. At 2PM and a few hundred bumwad sketches later, we had a fairly detailed concept nailed down. The rare “straight” line, when needed, is made just using the edge of the scale with right angles being eyeballed. Everything is freewheeling freehand.

    Real time sketching (I like that term Bob!) is an indispensible tool to successful conceptualizing any project.

    I like looking at other architects sketches (nice ones there Bob) and it’d be great if there was a way to post them here for those interested.

    A very nice addition to your blog Bob. Thanks!


    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Doug – great comment.

      I love sketching in front of the client – it almost seems hypnotic (like I’m some sort of snake charmer … but that’s just a hobby).

      I haven’t copyrighted the term “Real time sketching” so feel free to use it without royalties.


      • Anonymous

        It is kind of hypnotic. Of course for it to work one has to be pretty fast creatively on their feet which has nothing to do with sketching ability.


      • http://www.facebook.com/miguelvillegasballesta Miguel Villegas Ballesta

        I love sketching despite not being my strongest skill, but I think developing projects real time in front of the client really can undervalue our work and lead them to think that our ability is “doing those cute sketchies”.

  • http://www.arq-e-tec.com Arq-e-tec

    Like a teacher of mine used to say, drawing well is 10% skill and 90% practice.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      that sounds about right to me. I think I’m 10% skill, 45% practice, 45% watch TV.

  • http://twitter.com/architectjohn John Hubb

    Sketching allows me to process my thoughts in a more orderly fashion and is much faster for me as a problem solving tool.  I think it has to do with physically putting lines down on paper.  It makes you think about it more.  You aren’t removing yourself a step or 2 back from the drawing process like you do in CAD or SketchUp.  Though they are great tools, when you press a button, things happen automatically and your brain is never as involved as it would be if you hand sketched something.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      that’s about a dollars worth. 

      I might disagree with you about drawing caricatures – I think as long as you are drawing, I wouldn’t suggest anything needs to be changed. The skill level will eventually evolve and the sketchers ability to draw what they actually want will come along with it. My point is that you should start drawing for no other reason that to help you through a process of design, not for presentation or for someone else’s benefit or understanding. If you know what you’re drawing, that a good place to begin.

      • http://twitter.com/architectjohn John Hubb

        I will buy that.  I just wasn’t able to sketch effectively until I learned how to draw, and really learn how to see details in things and then put them on paper.

    • Anonymous

      “Sketching allows me to process my thoughts in a more orderly fashion and is much faster for me as a problem solving tool.  I think it has to do with physically putting lines down on paper.  It makes you think about it more.  You aren’t removing yourself a step or 2 back from the drawing process like you do in CAD or SketchUp.  Though they are great tools, when you press a button, things happen automatically and your brain is never as involved as it would be if you hand sketched something.”

      That’s eloquently said. I missed this the first read thru when I chimed in below.


  • http://twitter.com/URhomeboyy David Langley

    Architects in my view are primarily in the business of communication and interpretation.  The ability to communicate your interpretation of what the client wants is essential.  Just as important as sketching the ability to communicate your ideas through speak is greatly underrated.  “The gift of the gab” can often fill a client with more confidence and a mute with a fantastic image.  To much architects shroud their limited engagement with the clients real brief with an image.  Being an architect to me is a job very few will ever feel close to perfecting, so making sure i learn broadly is the most important to me.  I try to learn something small every day, and thats good enough for me. Great read Bob thanks

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      The verbal communication part of this can not be undersold. I hope architects will one day stop talking like architects (unless they are talking to other architects … that’s just fun to watch). Once that happens, I think they will discover that people will actually start listening a little more often.

      Cheers – great comment

  • Dustin Bopp

    The other important thing to remember is that hand drawing is a skill — not some mysterious innate talent.  Sure, some people are naturally inclined to draw well.  But, like many things, it’s a matter of training AND practice.  A whole lot of practice. Just read Betty Edward’s Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for evidence (and some great instruction).

    Regular drawing (or sketching) is something I keep promising myself to do on a regular (daily?) basis.  Not because I need to practice (I’m pretty good at it) but because in this age of multi-tasking and multiple demands for my time and attention it seems like its the only time I can achieve a true flow state where time and worry disappear and I just do.  It’s taught me that the only true way to be productive (and even enjoy what I am doing) is “single-tasking.” Now I just need to follow my own advice.

  • Dustin Bopp

    The other important thing to remember is that hand drawing is a skill — not some mysterious innate talent.  Sure, some people are naturally inclined to draw well.  But, like many things, it’s a matter of training AND practice.  A whole lot of practice. Just read Betty Edward’s Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for evidence (and some great instruction).

    Regular drawing (or sketching) is something I keep promising myself to do on a regular (daily?) basis.  Not because I need to practice (I’m pretty good at it) but because in this age of multi-tasking and multiple demands for my time and attention it seems like its the only time I can achieve a true flow state where time and worry disappear and I just do.  It’s taught me that the only true way to be productive (and even enjoy what I am doing) is “single-tasking.” Now I just need to follow my own advice.

  • Anonymous

    Really good post! The new students have just started at the Architecture school in Stockholm and one of the most frequent questions that we older students get are the “How good at drawing do I need to be” and “Is there much math” questions. Usually I just have to show them my sketchbook and they feel alot better.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hah – pull the curtain back a little and the fear goes with it. I don’t want people to walk away from this post thinking that it’s not important to be able to draw – just the opposite. Drawing forces you to think in 3 dimensions – a skill set all architect have to master. I truly think the better you are at drawing, the better you are at thinking in 3d.