I typically don’t give it a lot of thought – as soon as my architectural sketches have served their purpose, they get thrown away. I don’t consider them valuable or even worthwhile to keep. Am I crazy? (with specific regards to this particular item)
Unlike a lot of firms, we do have several stacks of flat files in our office and starting about a 3 months ago, I decided that my sketches might live on in these archives.
Why? I’m not really sure if I’m being honest. Keeping my sketches seems a little odd to me and I am trying to make a slight mental shift in my thinking, so that my sketches go from temporary thoughts destined for the waste bin, to archived treasures worth hanging on to forever.
So, keep my sketches or throw them away … I am struggling with that idea.
I know when the shift in thinking happened – on September 29th, 2014, I wrote a post titled “Architectural Sketchbooks” and in that article I featured the sketches of my business partner Michael Malone. He’s been sketching for decades and while most of his drawings are archived within sketchbooks, he has a number of them stashed away within the flat files of our office as well. As I was searching through his sketches for possible images to use for that article, I was very nostalgic for all the sketches I have thrown away over my professional career.
While a vast majority of the sketches I create aren’t worth hanging on to for any sort of extended period of time, it would be nice to be able to look back at them after a chunk of time has passed. Besides, it would make things so much easier for the people who will want to archive my life for the Museum of Bob Borson (affectionately known as MOBB).
All of this is fine and well for crazy architects like me, but am I alone in thinking that these sketches are worth keeping? It’s not like they are art, they are created as part of a problem solving process. I will concede (to those architects out there that think everything they touch is art) that they are artistic – but that’s about as far as I can go.
Is this floor plan sketch art? Hardly, I think it’s a stretch to even say it’s artistic.
This is a sketch I did when working on my “Lantern Playhouse” … is it worth keeping? I do like it despite the fact that I didn’t create it to live beyond the weekend when I drew it.
Or does it?
It exists digitally on this website. Is that any different from existing in a flat file? I can still go back and look at it as often as I want … assuming that I can find it. As I sit here and write that last sentence, I am looking across the room at an old computer of mine that hasn’t been turned on in several years. My wife wants me to recycle it but since I haven’t gone on there and cleaned off the hard drive, I am a little hesitant to get rid of it. What treasures exist on that computer that I’m getting rid of? Pictures, old resumes, project files, scans of sketches – you name it. I am really good about creating digital copies of stuff but finding it later – or even remembering that it exists – is a different matter. My memory probably isn’t going to be getting better in the future, I’m kind of counting on it getting worse.
My wife Michelle: (walking into kitchen) What are you doing?
Me: (standing over the kitchen sink eating ice cream directly out of the tub) Huh? What’s that?
Michelle: You are eating ice cream at 9am. I told you to stop doing that.
Me: Sorry, I didn’t remember that. (taking another bite)
Michelle: You just took another bite! Quit it!
Me: Quit what?
I can promise you that I WILL have that exact conversation with my wife at some point in my future.
This is really the sketch that started it all – Michael sketched this over 33 years ago and this digital image was made from the original. Pretty cool in my opinion.
This is MY flat file, I have claimed it … for now. I am going to give this little experiment of keeping my sketches for posterity a chance, even though I don’t know what I will do with a massive pile of trace paper drawings. I have thought that it would be nice to frame one or two of the important ones from a project and give them to the homeowners as a move-in present – although that seems a bit presumptuous. Based on the size of this flat file and the speed at which I create these sorts of drawings, I figure I have about two years before I’ll run out of space.
I curious – what do you think of keeping sketches? Do you keep yours – or if you are not an architect – do you think you would want to keep them if you had any sketches to keep?