Improve your Sketching Skills
Sketching is an extremely valuable skill in the architecture profession, and one that is certainly getting lost amongst our new technologies of 3d software and so on. However, you can demonstrate an idea with a sketch in a matter of moments, you can’t do the same thing with SketchUp. A sketch allows the client to get an idea, a feeling of what you are imagining their building to be – sketchup and other softwares leave the client feeling you have already made solid decisions and that there is no room for change. It is so important to learn and improve on this wonderful skill, and below I have noted some ideas that will help you become a master at sketching. As with everything though, you get out what you put in….
Draw! Practice gets you everywhere.
Just keep on drawing. Whenever you have a quiet, dull moment, draw. As they say, practice makes perfect, and they are right. The more you draw, the more you’ll improve, and the more useful your sketching skills will become throughout your course, and your career.
Start off by drawing simple shapes, try different angles, different sizes. Try shading these shapes, try different drawing tools – pens, pencils, varying thicknesses, markers and so on – get a feel for your style and how you interpret what you see.
Take your time!! You won’t get anywhere if you try and rush a drawing. At first that means you need to take your time to develop your skill. That may mean you keep on coming back to a sketch and working on it – but in the long run its worth it. This is where I fall down. I am extremely impatient and always look for instant results. As such I have never managed to really improve my sketching skills to their full potential as I never invest the time to practice. This is something I am working on now!
Get inspiration from others.
There are so many different sketching and drawing styles, and you can learn so much from seeking these out. Find different shading techniques, or different line styles, see what you like and develop your own style.
Pinterest is a great starting point for getting some inspiration – see the link below to our pinterest board dedicated to sketching.
Take your sketchbook everywhere.
Even if it is a small pocket sketchbook, make sure it is always on hand so you can scribble an idea or sketch a building. Maybe if you are waiting for a friend in a coffee shop, you may start a new trend of sketching instead of dragging out your phone!
It is a difficult habit to get into but by using spare moments to practice, you will start to feel natural, and gain confidence in your sketching ability.
Sometimes its good to challenge yourself to throw perfection out the window and do a quick sketch out and about. This challenges you to develop different sketching skills.
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Go to a drawing class.
Some people won’t feel this is necessary, but your university may hold drawing classes, in which case there is no excuse. You will also find some local art galleries or colleges hold drawing classes, which is a great opportunity to hone your skills, and meet new people other than students on your course!
Draw a drawing.
There is a lot to be learnt from how other people draw, particularly the likes of Da Vinci or Michaelangelo, so find some of their sketches and have a go at drawing them.
Try the grid method – where you measure out a grid over the picture you are copying and another grid on your paper as a guide. This breaks down the image into small areas, and stops you second guessing how the lines should be drawn and makes you study the image in more precise detail.
Draw from life.
Draw anything. Start out with simple objects, take note of light and shade, try different styles. Then build up to drawing more complex items. Sketch out details, find interesting parts of buildings and draw them. Think about perspective and scale.
Sketch out overall shapes first, lightly and gradually build up your sketch, add detail, and slowly create the overall feel of your drawing. If you start your drawing with the details it is easy to end up with odd perspectives, skewed views, whereas if you start with big blocks of shapes and slowly work them into detail you give yourself more of a chance of maintaining accuracy.
Keep at it.
It is easy to get disheartened when you produce a couple of rubbish sketches, that are out of proportion and look a bit weird. Don’t worry, you must keep at it, and know that it does take a bit of time to find your groove, but when you do it is great to have that confidence in your ability for your course and career.
Want to learn from the best?
David Drazil is an architect who has amazing sketching skills. His ‘Sketch like an Architect’ Handbook, is the ultimate tool to get you to improve your sketching skills, and learn the tips and techniques architects use to create excellent sketches.
David offers different levels of his book, from a free sample version, right through to the full book, with feedback, where he will provide you with valuable feedback and advice on your own sketches, to help you improve and strengthen your skills.
If you want to get started with architectural sketching, or improve your existing skills, this is all you need!
And here are a few examples from the book:
Here are some great websites that are well worth checking out:
This blog features beautiful sketches from New York, Italy and the UK and champions the hand sketch as an art that is slowly being lost. Take note of the style of the drawings and consider practicing this take on sketching. It is something more rarely seen in architecture studios and I’m sure would be welcomed by tutors.
This blog has a really varied collection of architectural sketches and drawings which are a great inspiration to help you find your style.
Another great collection of architectural drawings – really useful for style ideas and different colour and shading techniques.
Make sure you check out our Pinterest board – Architectural Sketches for a bit of inspiration to help you improve your sketching skills.Pinterest Architectural Sketches
I am really pleased to share with you a great contribution from one of our readers, Lucas Silva. Lucas has written a lovely piece about the importance of sketching and practicing your skill:
Trace & Sketch
“Sketching, as you all know, is a very important activity for an architect, so, people ask, why is the exercise of trace is so important?
And I say, “As a blade needs to be sharpened from time to time to keep it’s cut, the architect’s dominant hand and consequently his brain need exaustive and regular practice”.
Without this practice you will lose the skills you have acquired.
Repetition is as important as the acummulation of knowledge, repetition makes the body to become more and more confortable with the movements of an act, and it is something that makes you better and better every time you draw, paint, study, read or exercise.
The more you exercise, the more you will discover.
There will always be new drawing forms and techniques to accomplish as long as you keep practicing.
In what concerns the sketch abilities which is a composition of your own traces is a bit more complicated.
Because of perfectionism I personally don’t know if my sketches are natural and simple enough. To find Simplicity is a lot more difficult than to reach perfection, and a lot of architecture students like me struggle with their own sketches because of it, they want to see beauty in it.
(The Great Wall against Improvement)
For a long time now I have noted a compulsive usage of this material, students principally become addicted to it even when are just in the process of sketching.
I believe that when “composing” a sketch the individual must never and I repeat “never” use an Eraser.
It is simple; when you delete lines that already exist in your drawing it means that you repent the way you chose at the moment you are drawing.
The sketch as I analise must always serve for us to see and aknowledge our own mistakes, weak points and debilities, it must not become something to look at and see nothing to improve and “perfect”.
For that reason I advise anyone who draws to forget or just put aside the eraser when sketching. Just draw and learn to fight your own wrongs by seeing them after finish with the paper.
It is like life itself, we can’t re-write a way already past; just accept it and try to do better next time.
I think we must seek for simplicity and print our own identity in it.
There is always room for improvement as long as you draw, so, don’t give up guys.”
Thanks to Lucas for sharing that. Here are a few more images to inspire you. (Credit: All images from Instagram.com)
Image Credit @amirtecture
Image Credit @amirtecture
Image Credit @keitel_vonbirsk
Image Credit @mmontor
Image Credit @rav1391
Image Credit @anurag_sonar
Image Credit @cunninghamquillarchitects
Image Credit @fer__neyra
Image Credit @limdaisrailova
Image Credit @m.ansari.architect