You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.
— John Singer Sargent
The Unfinished Business of Sketching
Sketch remains the elementary method of communication for architects. Our expression of circulation, form and volume remains defined by line, shade and negative space. As a craft, sketching requires continuous practice, exploration and research. That’s where our workshops come in.
Throughout 2017, we have hosted and participated in sketch workshops to develop the skills to observe, translate, and communicate our surroundings, feelings and ideas. Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture is committed to ongoing learning. Continuously developing our sketch skills reinforces that commitment.
Through these group learning events, participants were exposed to a variety of techniques and sketch processes. Sketch falls in to two primary categories – Exploratory and Documentary. Documentary sketches include existing site and building conditions, design development and construction detailing. Exploratory Sketching includes form research, free expression and recording phemenological occurrence.
Documentary Sketches communicate very specific and detailed information to fellow architects, clients, consultants and contractors. These sketches go on to become the plans, elevations and details used to construct our built environment.
On the other hand, Exploratory Sketches represent a portal into the mind of the architect, designer or artist. Often, they aren’t meant for permanent display; they convey an idea and then fade away in to the myriad of information. Exploratory Sketches can come from observation, imagination or a blending of the two.
Both types of sketches require a basic understanding of visual communication techniques: the orthogonal sketch, isometric sketch, 1-point perspective, 2-point perspective, contour sketch and free form.
Our group met every other week. Most attendees participated in the whole series. We kicked off our sketch workshops with an introductory course [image 01], blind contour [image 02] and timed sketches [image 02a]. We moved on to one- and two-point perspectives [image 03 and Image 04]. As our skills advanced, we tackled more advanced theories surrounding point association [Image 05] and focal point sketching [image 06]. Finally, we tested all our skills with an exercise which studied the difference between observation and reference sketching [image 07-1 and image 07-2].
State of the Art
Our initial workshop series may be over, but that’s just round one. Through monthly sketchwalks, additional workshops and sketch challenges, we will always continue to hone our craft. Getting new perspectives, capturing environmental effects and recording reality is second nature. Join us for round two?
If you’d like to participate in D+B’s sketch sessions, please contact Chris Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org