Anova Furnishings’ Grant Competition is back again this year, offering emerging professionals the opportunity to attend the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture (formerly known as the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO) in San Diego November 15-18, 2019. Centered around a different topic each year, the competition invites participants to submit a short essay and a quick hand sketch, or “napkin sketch”, for the chance to win a $2,000 grant toward conference expenses. A panel of three practicing professionals will select the 13 best responses to be awarded the grant.
This year, entrants are asked to share how contemporary landscape architecture could be used to improve an under-performing space in their community.
Anova created this grant program to help accelerate individuals’ careers in Landscape Architecture. The sketching component is intended to harness a landscape designer’s ability to quickly and effectively communicate their ideas. This year, the hand-drawn sketch is required to be drawn on a napkin, using just one color of ink. This change emphasizes that the napkin sketch is intended to be a quick, loose sketch, not a final marketing deliverable. Paired with the short essay, the napkin sketch is a quick and effective way to communicate your big idea, and can often help explain something much more easily than writing it out would.
So, what do successful sketches look like? I spoke with the competition judges who shared a few of their favorite sketches from previously winning entries, and what made them winners.
- “I loved this sketch last year. It was by far my favorite entry from all of the years of the competition. It was quick, simple and evocative. It felt relatable and it stood on its own describing an experience that had an impact on the entrant. And that experience was something that I think many people, landscape architects or not, have felt. Without color, you can see the rays coming through the tree canopy and feel the massiveness of the tree’s structure creating a sense of scale difference between humans and nature.” – Ellen Stewart, Landscape Architect for the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department
- “Aaron’s evocative description of a favorite tree as a friendly giant was captured in his sketch with minimal, confident pen strokes. The combination of his sketch and text brought his childhood memories to life for me and made me remember my own special childhood tree.” – Stephanie Rolley, Professor and Department Head of LARCP at Kansas State University
- “This, to me, is a perfect example of a sketch that succeeds both as art and as information. The use of color is extremely effective, as it clearly makes the connection between the foreground tree and the image of the tidal basin in the distance. The page is also very beautifully composed—the space is filled but not overcrowded. It just succeeds at every level.” – Mark Hough, University Landscape Architect at Duke University
- “Patrick’s story about his family’s tree evoked memories of my own family’s connections to specific trees in different homes–I was so impressed by his family taking their treasured tree with them! His simple sketch of a front yard that could be anywhere but was so special to him demonstrated the power of landscape. Both Patrick and Aaron’s entries made me think of how many people’s childhoods’ are influenced by landscape and how many might be future landscape architects if we help them connect their childhood experiences with professional opportunities.” – Stephanie Rolley, Professor and Department Head of LARCP at Kansas State University
- “I love that this was done on an actual napkin. The texture of the sheet adds an interesting layer to the piece. The geometry used to organize the panel is simple yet very effective—it is clear and complex at the same time. The use of color is also extremely effective—reading almost as flames. The information is thorough and the presentation is very provocative, which is what you want when trying to make people notice what you are saying.” – Mark Hough, University Landscape Architect at Duke University
Not confident in your hand-drawing skills? Don’t sweat it. Judging will be based not only on the napkin sketch, but also on your written explanation and the overall presentation of the entry materials. With such a great prize available, what’s stopping you from giving it a try?
Through this grant, Anova is not only increasing the diversity of voices at the ASLA Conference, but also providing an opportunity to showcase the profession and its ability to catalyze positive change in the community. For more details regarding eligibility, deadlines, and judging criteria, visit the competition website. Submissions will be accepted from April 29 – May 27, 2019.Published in Blog, Cover Story
J. Robert (Bob) Wainner
I just read this article….and the “rules” for the contest. I’m a huge advocate for “hand sketching” for Landscape Architects….have been for my entire 40 yr. career. I would like to suggest to those ASLA members (who are eligible to enter) that they consider doing their “napkin sketch” using a “shade and shadow” technique. Various line weights and shading…really gives even a simple sketch LIFE. If you need some sketching technique ideas that fit within the rules for this contest…..you can easily find them on-line. GOOD LUCK to everyone!
J. Robert (Bob) Wainner