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10 tips to sketch like an Architect

Sketching is a medium through which an architect transfer ideas and design on paper. This is a skill that architecture students develop with practice. Through sketches, we express our ideas and it is important to make sure that our ideas are presented correctly, the way we want them to be. We have noted down 10 tips that will help you improve your sketching skills.

1_Use line weights effectively

Be it sketching or drafting line weights are highly effective. They add the needed depth to the 2-dimensional drawing. Proper use of line weights will enhance your sketches and depict your design ideas. Pencils used for sketching range from hardest to the softest, i.e. 6H to 8B respectively. Hard pencils are used to draw sharp, thin, and light lines while the soft pencils are used to draw dark and thick lines. Architects draw their ideas in perspective. Perspectives are created in layers and line weights help you create these layers. The layer that is closest to you will be the darkest and they get lighter as you go deeper. It is better to start by sketching the background or the last layer of your sketch with the lightest pencil and then using the other line weights to create the 3-dimensional effect. You can start by practicing drawing freehand vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines.

2_The correct technique to hold a pencil

If you have started sketching after joining the architecture course, you will lack the basic understanding of holding the pencil while you sketch. We usually start sketching with the movement of our wrist, this restricts us from sketching freely and therefore we should not pivot our wrist but lock it with the arm and then move our pen or pencil with our entire arm. This will help us cover the entire surface and ease our sketching. Having a light grip on the pencil will ease it further. Practice your lines with the entire arm movement and not just pivoting your wrist.

3_Rendering (texture+light+shade+shadow)

Rendering your sketch by adding texture using colors or just pencil work will add details and depth to your sketch a better understanding of what you are trying to show. Light, shade, and shadow can be added by using soft pencils. This further enhances your sketch and adds to the 3 dimensions.

4_Refrain from smudging or don’t!

By sketching with pencils of different grades, you are bound to smudge your sketch. You can use a tracing or tissue paper to cover the area on which you rest your hand or try to avoid the contact between your hand and paper which is a bit difficult.

On the other hand, smudging can be also be used as a rendering technique. smudging creates a smooth effect and also blends which can be used in your sketch, especially when you are creating light and shadow.

5_Intersecting lines at the corner

This technique is one of the best when it comes to architectural sketches as they are inexact in nature. By intersecting the lines the surface is perceived not the shape and also by intersecting lines the imperfections of a sketch are overlooked. Intersecting lines give the feeling that there is more to it, which is what sketches are about, there is always something or the other to add on to it.

6_Use tracing paper & create overlays

Sketching on tracing paper is a way in which you can improve your sketch by overlaying it and trying different options. You can experiment with textures on a sketch by using tracing paper.

7_Sketch random patterns

Keep sketching random patterns in your free time this will keep your imagination working and and will develop a comfort and hold on the pencil or pen. Creating random patterns and developing them further is one of the ways how architects design. Get used to it!

8_Embrace inexactness

Perfection restricts us. Trying to sketch your first line perfectly will take you nowhere. It is all right if you draw a crooked line, continue sketching, keep learning, keep improving every day. Try perfectionism in drafting. Shaky lines add to the sketch.

9_Avoid using rulers / rollers scales for sketching

The difference between drafting and sketching is that you are not restricted by the use of scales and rulers when you are sketching, you should take full advantage of this. Sketching is presenting your imagination and therefore it is okay if you are unable to sketch straight lines, you will improve with practice. If you use scales or stencils to sketch, your mind gets distracted by the technical part of the drawing and stops imagination. Imagination is the most important tool of an architect and therefore you should always keep your mind open for it. Keep your scales, rulers, stencils for your drafting. Let your sketching be free-handed.

10_Practice perspectives

Practice sketching perspective. One point perspectives and two-point perspectives. Bird's eye view and worms eye. Try to sketch from real life or scenes from movies or images of your favorite architecture. Practicing perspectives will enhance your skills and you will be able to sketch your ideas on paper.



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