When is the last time you packed a sketchbook and went drawing outside? Sitting down, really observing a place, understanding it more with each traced line? Maybe you’ve been drawing during your studies and stopped because you do not have the time anymore. Or you might be new to hand drawing and want to learn. We strongly believe hand drawing is something every landscape architect can benefit from. That’s why we’d like to share 3 reasons why you should definitely pick it up:
1. A New Trend
Think five years back – a brief scan of competition entries in architecture and landscape architecture would show almost nothing but photorealistic renderings or photoshop montages. It was an attempt to come as close to the visual reality that is suggested to get built as possible. However, recent architecture and landscape architecture competitions have started to show another trend: abstract collage-like visualizations with strong colors that try to convey a feeling rather than a spatial configuration. It appears to indicate that a photorealistic representation has reached a point where it is so ubiquitous that designer seek other tools to convey their ideas more abstractly. Amongst different presentation techniques, hand drawing is emerging as a great option.
A good quality of hand drawing is that it can convey two things at the same time very well – a spatial representation as well as emotions, a feeling of a place. And it achieves both those things at the same time through a level of abstraction. To show more, a hand drawing goes one step back into abstraction and thus lets more room for other information. It focuses on the message it want to convey and at the same time allows the viewer space for imagination. It might even be a smarter tactic, since the viewer (the client or a competition jury) will fill in the blanks him or herself. That’s why we see the trend of returning to hand drawing as positive.
In Germany, for example, many competitions nowadays require a sketched visualization technique (“skizzenhafte Darstellung”) for spatial representations. It created a demand for people who can “still” draw. It seems that hand drawing as a craft as started to gain value again. While it is not necessary to jump on every trend train, it makes sense to be aware of it. Who knows, hand drawing might even be your niche!
2. Drawing is Understanding
Hand drawing is a powerful analytical tool. When you draw a view, it always demands watching and observing it closely for an extended period of time. At the same time you try to abstract the view in a form of a sketch, repeating the forms, thinking about their proportions and roles in the whole. While doing so, you are consciously and subconsciously analyzing it. You will see more of the view, understand it better, and even remember it much better!
Take a second and think about a view you once made a drawing of. Try to remember what it was like to draw it. You can remember quite a lot of details about it, right? That it because you took your time to observe the view and because your hand “remembers” as well. An interesting fact is that our memory works on different channels. We remember things through auditive, visual, and kinesthetic stimulation. When drawing, you experience something not only as a visual information, but by the movements of your hand experience it kinesthetically as well. You are imprinting it into your mind through more than one memory channel.
3. A Tool for Design
Hand drawing has been an integral part of designing almost from the beginning of design itself. As soon as it was necessary to envision something before one actually did it, drawing became a simple solution to do that. It’s an abstracted model of an idea onto a 2-dimensional surface.
Countless drawings are made all the time when ideas are being designed. The more trained the hand is, the simpler and faster it becomes to translate these ideas onto a piece of paper. But there is more to it. A drawing isn’t only a process of recording and storing design ideas. It has another important role in the design process – when the designer looks at a drawing he or she made, the drawing communicates back. It allows the author to imagine the planed object, evaluate it and draw it again. This journey between the designer and the drawing goes back and forth, the designer changing the drawing and in return learning each time from it. By the end of this process the final design might be completely different than the first idea the designer had in his mind. It means the drawing teaches it’s author.
Drawing is not the only design tool available to us, but it is a simple, yet powerful one. It’s the most direct translation of thought into form available to someone designing.
We hope we might have ignited a spark of interest for drawing in you. In the end, there is also another reason to do it and it is perhaps the most important one: drawing is fun! The beginning is harder, yes, but that’s the case with everything when you start. The great thing with drawing is that you will notice your improvement quickly! To help you do that, we will continue with a series of articles on Land8 on how to draw. If you want to start learning, you’re are welcome to do it with us!Published in