Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” This couldn’t be more true today as designers spend most of their creative thinking time in front of computer screens and further away from traditional drawing surfaces.
Many architects are now admitting that they miss the drawing process that first inspired them to join the profession. Others lament that they never were offered drawing courses in design school. Lack of drawing confidence is now a universal condition in the design profession - which can be easily reversed with a few simple steps:
Step 1 - Encourage Children to Draw! I recently was asked to teach a drawing lesson as part of a week long program about architecture at a local pre-school. Children were eager to express their creativity on paper and talk about their ideas in front of others. They drew their “dream house” and presented ideas in front of class mates with enthusiasm and lots of laughter. Speaking into a fake microphone added an entertainment value to the presentations.
Step 2 - Add Drawing Classes back into Design School Curriculums. Twenty years ago, colleges began replacing traditional drawing classes with computer courses. This trend continues today and most design students are graduating with a high level of drawing illiteracy. Adding basic courses in plan graphics, perspective, traditional graphic materials can give students a much needed "hands on" experience in design communication without the reliance on software and electronics.
Step 3 - Take a Professional Drawing Workshop. There are many individuals offering drawing workshops for professionals. These workshops focus on traditional drawing tools such as pens, pencils, colored markers and tracing paper. In addition to teaching the fundamentals of quick visualization with hand graphics, these workshops include how to integrate 3D SketchUp models into the drawing process with exciting new hybrid techniques that merge traditional hand drawing with digital media.
Step 4 - Discover your own Drawing Style. There are so many different methods of drawing that range from traditional overlay and trace techniques to exciting hybrid methods that incorporate hand drawing, digital media and reprographics. Some drawings can be simply generated for fun and others for developing design concepts or creating formal presentations. Wherever you are in the design process, find ways to express your unique creative style through drawing. Like those pre school children designing their dream houses, don’t be afraid - just jump in and draw!
We often proclaim to others “I can’t draw” or “I don’t know how to sketch people”. Heard that before? It’s OK to have that fear of drawing, just as many elderly folks have a fear of computers. Take a hard look at how others are developing their design ideas and communicating them to their professors or clients.
I am a true advocate of having a pocket full of design visualization tools and knowing which ones to use for specific purposes. Traditional drawing is absolutely one of those options and we all should have a fundamental knowledge of how to draw and willingness to visualize a scene on tracing paper, color it with markers and show it to others with enthusiasm, humor and confidence!
The 2010 Blog Collection , a 116-page catalog of my best blog posts from 2010 is now available on Blurb! http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1963744