November 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm #156008
There has been much talk about the divide between digital representation vs. traditional representation of ideas. I personally feel the two work together in tandam when taught by a competent person who fully understands both worlds and applies their knowledge on a daily basis within the confines of a studio or office. The divide instead seems to be in the universities between instructors who “talk” about drawing versus those who are able to physically demonstrate the skill. I am curious to know, among the students out there, how often your instructor actually physically demonstrates right in front of you how to communicate an idea visually. While I know this is not the case for all universities it is becoming a bit alarming at how many more “talkers” are out there versus “doers”, and we are doing students an incredible disservice by sending them out into an incredibly competitive working world with half ass skills. To all the instructors out there in universities: All the critical research in the world is not going to teach students how to draw…sit down, shut up and demonstrate. If you do not have the capability to demonstrate don’t teach representation. I can talk all day long about cars but that does not make me a good mechanic. Drawing is not learned through osmosis…you don’t have to be specially gifted or talented…yes it can be taught…but you can’t teach what you don’t know. As I receive one bad portfolio after another I am curious to know what sort of experiences students are having out there in landscape architecture programs in their pursuit to learn how to represent ideas.November 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm #156025tobyParticipant
I had both James Hiss and storm’n Norman Booth for design/graphics studio at OSU. Not sure one could get a better set of ‘doers’ than that.November 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm #156024
Something that I have noticed not to unsimilar to your point is the emphasis on the digital tools rather than the outcome. Understand that the market is requesting students that are proficient in CAD and 3D work right out of the gate, but this proficiency often comes at the cost of learning sound and practical design. They are teaching the tools, not what to do with them. I’ve seen this at a number of universities I have juried at or been a student. Sure, the drawings look great, but dig beneath the slick packaging and the designs are often unworkable, impractical (cannot be built) or just not at all thought out. Then the students can’t even defend their design in a critique session.
Having decent hand graphics and making it part of the design process allows for design options and refinement as the process moves forward. Just the opposite is true when too much technology is involved too early on.December 1, 2012 at 8:15 am #156023idaParticipant
I remember when I was a young intern there would be 4 of us sitting at a table coloring a siteplan. It took us a couple of hours to finish and we still had to scan it and touch it up in PS. Now, you can have one person do that kind of work at the same amount of time in PS. Of course the “style” between hand and digital work is different, but in that scenario, you gain productivity.
At my office, we have to decide which method is more efficient. If we know there will be many changes, or the client is experienced enough to understand sketches, we don’t bother producing fancy digital renders. If it is a public project or competition where we just have one shot to impress, then we go all out on digital.
For students, you should learn both. Most LA’s can draw, but if you want to stand out, be a digital master as well. Don’t be an old fart, learn new skills!December 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm #156022anthony c jefferiesParticipant
A question that asks “how to communicate an idea visually” and brings up ‘by drawing’ as the only answer is perhaps a bit narrow and I believe the real question deserves a broader answer.December 3, 2012 at 1:57 am #156021
I’m just going to automatically place you in the “talker” category.December 3, 2012 at 2:27 am #156020
Ah yes, rendering parties. I’ve done way to many of those at the last minute. They became almost intolerable with so many fresh Chartpack AD markers open in a small space. Then we switched to Prismas and you could legally drive home again afterwards.December 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm #156019anthony c jefferiesParticipant
Thanks Travis and you my friend are in the PNG category for me. Me, a ‘talker’ on a discussion forum, ‘magine that.December 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #156018Phil MooreheadParticipant
I can also vouch for OSU, at least during my time there. My graphics classes were taught by Yumin Li, and I had Norman Booth for a studio entitled “Human Factors in Design” (Prof. Booth was capable of offering advice on representation topics from hand-drawn graphics and clay models to file management for InDesign documents). There were, of course, other highly competent professors, lecturers, guest professionals, and graduate students to offer advice and demonstrations, as well.
I do think having some professional experience is key to appreciating why hand-drawn representation is critical. While drafting a plan in AutoCAD can certainly be more efficient and effective than hand drafting in some (perhaps most) instances, it’s the the sketches, sections, elevations, and axon’s of the design process leading up to a final plan where hand drawn graphics are indispensable. You could spend days in AutoCAD drafting a detailed section of a complicated multi-level intervention of some kind, only to discover a design flaw that you could have seen with a twenty-minute hand-drawn section.
CAD = good for final documentation
Hand-drawn = good for designDecember 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm #156017
With all the vapors eminating from fresh bluelines (ammonia), AD markers, sharpies, and spray adhesive, I’m sure I’ve lost chunks of my expensive education.December 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm #156016ncaParticipant
I hope schools keep graduating talkers. That is all.December 4, 2012 at 2:16 am #156015Eli PaddleParticipant
Interesting discussion and I agree with your premise. As a professor how teaches both traditional and digital illustration technique (as well as the best of both worlds…hybrid techniques), I “walk and talk” what I teach. I demonstrate every technique for my students be it traditional or digital. Not everyone does, there are certainly many who just talk, (I was taught by talkers) but I had the benefit of a fine arts undergraduate education.
There is one complicating factor to consider though, in some instances, in university programs, technical skills are not supposed to be taught. The focus is supposed to be theory, with technical skills to be taught technical schools or colleges here in Canada. Fortunately I teach in an applied degree program so I get to teach both.
Its not easy at times to draw or render with an entire class of eager students watching, but it is essential. Sometimes you have a bad day, but I think the students actually enjoy seeing that we don’t produce or expect perfection every time. This fear forces those of us “doers” to be sure we really know how to do what we are teaching.December 4, 2012 at 3:44 am #156014
Great to hear Toby …I am sure both James and Norman would be incredibly proud to hear of the impact they had on you as a student. Thanks for sharing.December 4, 2012 at 4:03 am #156013
You are right Jason. If students are able to build an agenda or approach on how to communicate ideas they can apply more energy to process and design. Though, I am not so concerned with impractical ideas as school is meant to be an opportunity to think without boundaries and students will have the rest of their lives to deal with the burden of practicality. Thanks for the thoughts.December 4, 2012 at 4:13 am #156012
I think Norman’s ears are ringing…he has definitely made a large impact on many of his students…I just think those are great things to hear…be sure to let him as well as others know how they have affected your life as a professional. Those truly committed to being great instructors need to be commended. I can only imagine what it would have been like in the early years of the Bauhaus to have been taught by the likes of Klee and Kandinsky…utopian.
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