Monday, February 11, 2013

The Importance of Sketching

As the digital age chugs right along into worlds of unknown, often the world of hand drawing and sketching is forgotten. Students no longer focus on practicing the art of the eye and hand, but rather the click of a computer mouse. As much as I don't like to admit it, I pretty much fall into this category as well. Back in high school, I took art classes where I could polish my skills through pencil drawing, charcoal and pastel. Throughout elementary and middle school, I drew all the time for fun. And yet, here I am in college, having put together my portfolio, and wondering why there are so few sketches to place into it and show that I'm a versatile and valuable designer.

One of the more recent sessions of my Presidential Seminar course focused on the important of sketching. In the field of architecture, it is an invaluable tool not only for personal recordings, but to be able to create a representation of a client's vision on the spot. The thing about sketching is that it is imperfect. It doesn't need to be flawless, much unlike the connotation of computer design. More importantly, it would be impossible to quickly draw something up on the computer whilst sitting with a client.

Thus, the lost art of sketching needs to start making a comeback. In my opinion, it is one of the few things that will set a person apart to potential employers. In addition to potential employers looking favorably upon you, it also gives you a great way of recording information. Whether it explain itself as a pretty picture, diagram, or analytical drawing, sketching can get down a lot of information in a simple way in a very short period of time. With site visits and client meetings, it's really important to be able to jot these things down accurately so that you can remember everything despite only being able to hear or see it once.

Finally, sketching is one of those things that is just enjoyable. Carrying around a notebook and pen (or whatever you like to draw with) allows you to just sit and capture something that you find interesting. Unlike taking a photograph, sketching allows you to pick and choose what you want to show. You can add or remove things to your picture, and you can even distort them to how you want it to be viewed. Imagine it as a sort of Photoshop program, except by hand.

For those of you early in your architectural studies, don't forget the important of hand drawings. If there are classes that emphasize sketching, pen and ink drawings, or other mediums of art, I would highly recommend taking them. It's one of the things I sort of missed during my undergraduate education. Regret aside, I'm starting to pick it back up again, and hopefully I'll have some great practice under my belt by the time I finish graduate school.


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