interior design

My Story: How I Came to Interior Sketching?

Olga Sorokina designer artist

In this article, I would like to share with you my story on how I came to interior design drawing and what is the main aim of this blog.


How I came to sketching?

In fact, I have never parted ways with it. Drawings, plain-airs, designs, sketches, outlines, drafts – all these have been my close companions all my life. Throughout my education first at the Arts School for Children “Alexandrino” (St Petersburg, Russia), followed by four years at the Arts and Aesthetics School on the Fontanka River and finally 6 years at the St Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, I was always drawing, perfecting my technique, honing on my skills and hand confidence. I have been studying sketching all my life and even now I am continuing to refine my skills almost everyday.

Russian Art Academies provide solid foundations, and exceptional old school education, particularly in academic drawing. In Russia, we are very proud of our cultural traditions and systematic in-depth, comprehensive approach to the artistic education.

Russian Art Academies provide solid foundations, and exceptional old school education, particularly in academic drawing
 

Contemporary methods, marketing and brand-building are what I call “complimentary options”, something that a designer can learn on his own using information on Internet, books or short courses.

Technology is developing at a very fast pace, new teaching methodologies continue surfacing, but always remember that no skyscraper can be built without proper foundations so the core skills must be solid and comprehensive.

What are the core skills? This are the necessary skills, the understanding of the essence of the subject, acquisition of the faculty of fast learning. For interior design, for instance, it is important to know history of arts, design principles, ergonomics, materials science, colour theory, understanding of materials, perfect command of perspective and shadow projections and drawing techniques. If it is fashion design, we need to know surface anatomy, materials, stylization techniques, sewing basics and pattern cutting etc.

For interior design, it is important to know history of arts, design principles, ergonomics, materials science, colour theory, understanding of materials, perfect command of perspective and shadow projections and drawing techniques
 

Interior sketching is one of the key components of a successful and productive design practice. Masterful command of perspective, rendering and stylization are the tree main skills that you will need to develop in order to be successful at it. In fact, the sketching practice boils down to a certain sum of knowledge and skills, which are essential to professionalism and expertise. Do not be put off if you have never held a pencil in your life! Sketching is a skill which is entirely possible to learn and improve upon. Always rememberer if there is a will, there is a way. 

During my 6 years at the Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, majority of our time was spent on disciplines such as architectural drawing, perspective, academic drawing, designing, modeling (creating paper models of our design projects, “maquettes“), composition and colour series. As you can see the programme was very intensive. That is why the course takes six years to complete, the sixth year being allocated to work on student's work diploma.

Interior sketching is one of the key components of successful and productive design practice. Do not be put off if you have never held a pencil in your life! Sketching is a skill which is 100% learnable and teachable!
 

In my online courses, I give you the absolute essence of the knowledge required to become a successful practitioner of interior sketching. I adore the aesthetics of freehand rendering. In my opinion, it is a much more natural, fluid and more vivid way of visual expression of an idea compared to a static dead-looking 3D model that took a vast amount of your time and your nerves to produce.

All painters and designers are in essence visual artists, as we constantly work with images. That is why it is so important for designers to have the ability to create the desired image on paper by hand in a fast and efficient way to demonstrate an idea simply and effectively. Nothing captures your client’s imagination than when you start drawing right before their eyes. 

Sketching is a natural, fluid and more vivid way of visual expression of an idea compared to a static dead-looking 3D model
 
interior drawing.jpg

My story

I was in my third year at the Art Academy when computer programs invaded our academic life. As young creatives, we were all completely fascinated by 3D Max, Photoshop, AutoCAD and it seemed impossible to ignore them when we were preparing our projects. We were given some basic instructions of these software packages at the Academy, and then some of us kept studying these programs with the help of books and specialized courses. On the whole, a lot of time, effort and money were spent to master this software.

Incidentally, many students were left dissatisfied when after having spent their money they felt they did not acquire professional command of the software. It is hardly surprising. This software suits a particular mindset that is characteristic not so much of an artist, but of a technical professional, programmer. Have you noticed that most 3D Max professionals, visualizers, and CAD operators are chiefly men? Perhaps, it is because men are more technically minded.

Have you noticed that most 3D Max professionals, visualizers, and CAD operators are chiefly men? Perhaps, it is because men are more technically minded.
 

Over time, these programs started to supersede hand rendering. During my last year at the Academy, I was working on my diploma, and in parallel, I was freelancing as a designer for a prominent firm. I regret to admit that I found myself drawing less and less, increasingly becoming a manager of my project rather than a designer. I felt let down, I was questioning if my chosen profession was no longer the right thing for me. Luckily I was well-trained and I quickly rediscovered the link between my heart, my mind, and my hand; since then I went on to uninstall all computer-assisted design software. Incidentally, most of my students come to me with this exact problem. Interestingly, 80% of my students are women. The fact that you are reading this blog probably indicates that you are at the same crossroads. I am delighted to say that there is a way out, so let’s get on and look at the profession of an interior designer.

interior sketch.jpg

At one point, I noticed that I had given up on drawing. Really, one not so fine days I realized that I was almost perpetually seated in front of my computer, embroiled in a battle with 3D and AutoCAD, that all the time I was googling some sanitaryware, analyzing business proposals and quotations and had completely given up on the creative side of things. It just hit me: “Did I spent 6 years at the best Russian Art Academy for nothing?! What was the point of it all? Was it even worth it? And what about my talent, my artistic flair?” I had a feeling I was betraying something fundamental within myself. And at that moment I clearly saw that this was a problem that I had to address immediately.

It just hit me: “Did I spent 6 years at the best Russian Art Academy for nothing?! What was the point of it all? Was it even worth it? And what about my talent, my artistic flair?”
 

About the same time, I received a call from a friend of mine who asked me if I could give her a few interior drawing classes (Tanya, thank you!). That’s when it dawned on me that lots of designers felt the same way: a desperate lack of free-hand drawing skills which was a key creative component of their work which was missing and that I was not the only one tormented by the problem of being constantly seated in front of a computer.

That was how my first interior sketching course “BASE“ came to life. Soon after I started to give classes to individual designers from different cities and countries, offering them training on sketching and rendering. After that, I began to give classes to groups of students, and my online courses were accompanied by live workshops in Moscow and my home town St Petersburg. At present moment, as I am writing my books, I want to systematize a plethora of information on interior sketching that I am going to distill down to the essential knowledge, to the gist of it all, and represent the material in a clear, understandable and exciting way.

Lots of designers feel the same way: a desperate lack of free-hand drawing skills which is a key creative component of their work which is missing
 

Little summary

The main message of this article is this: “You Can Do Professional Sketching”! This is a new skill that can be learned and mastered with frequent practice. It is no different from learning a new language or a dance.

You can excel at sketching even if you have never held a pencil in your hands!

This is because interior sketching is 50% mathematics and 50% learnable techniques. In my other article, we will look at various techniques used by some of the best sketching artists, discover what they are and why they are so effective.

My dear Creative, I hope you’re inspired with my story, please tell me yours in the comments below (but first please save your text before posting).

P.S. Please share this article on your social media so more people can learn about sketching. Thanks in advance and good luck with your drawings!

© Olga Sorokina, 2019


CHECK PROGRAM FROM MY VIDEO COURSE ON INTERIOR SKETCHING WITH MARKERS FOR BEGINNERS:


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4 Masters of Interior Sketching and Their Drawing Tricks

interior sketch

In this article I will tell you about four world gurus of sketching and will acquaint you with their techniques. You will also learn why Art Academies insist that their students do copies of the masters and of what use this may be to us. This text I took from my best-selling book “The SKETCH“.

P.S. Very special gift at the end of the article.


Gurus of sketching 

When you are starting to learn something, it is of key importance that you learn from the best in the field – this way you will set yourself a good benchmark from the outset to strive towards. In this book I would like to tell you about four world class masters. Each one of them has his own style and expression and unique techniques, which can be identified, analysed and deployed in your own practice.

 

Always ask yourself: What is it that I like so much about this sketch/drawing/artist/project?

Be observant and attentive, be the constant questioner, look beyond the first impressions, pay attention to details, always try to get to the heart of the matter. Ask yourself: “ What is so special about this work?” Is it the well-chosen palette, or delightful light effects, or, maybe, unconventional drawing techniques? Constantly study, train your brain to analyze, and your eyes to observe. Having figured out  the technique, use it in your drawing, play with it, find out how much it is to your liking, whether it is your thing or not. In this case, the goal is not to copy the style of an artist, and not to imitate the technique thoughtlessly and indiscriminately in your drawing, but to experiment with a technique, try your hand at it, reveal your personality through it, and this is how a new technique will eventually emerge which will be inimitable and entirely your own. We are all different and drawing reflects our personalities. Freehand drawing vividly reveals and brings out the unique character of a person. No other human being thinks, feels, analyzes and draws in absolutely the same way.

 

Why all Art Academies teach their students to copy works of old masters?

Talking about copying: why do you think all Art Academies teach their students to copy works of old masters (e.g. Rubens, Leonardo and Michelangelo)? Moreover, copying is an essential part of their curriculum. This is because: the most amazing thing happens, when a student copes a work of a great master – he comes into contact with the way of thinking of the genius. In imitating the strokes of the master, your hand sends signals to your brain and you start to understand the thought process that went into creating a particular painting. You follow the movements of his pencil, and, therefore, of his thought. Automatically, your hand starts to memorize effective techniques and methods. You start getting a better grasp of proportions, well-chosen angle view, and well arranged compositions. By doing so you are developing the so called “body memory”. Your hand gives the brain a whole new picture of the world, and that’s how your own technique evolves, it starts developing times and times faster, it becomes very confident, because it acquires a powerful capacity of old masters. 

We are going to try the same thing. Let’s examine a few works by sketch masters from various countries, who are undoubtedly the gurus of sketching and who have spent years developing their skills. Let us examine works of these masters coming from different countries.

Interior drawing course.jpeg
 

1. Richard Chadwick

Here comes the first master that I want to introduce you to, Richard Chadwick. He comes from Manchester. I would like to quote here his words about the art of sketching:

As an antidote to the ubiquitous – and to my mind anodyne – computer produced visuals, these are all drawn by hand, mainly pen and marker renderings, capturing the energy of the moment and generally looking  far more dynamic than anything produced by a computer programme. A return to hand crafted values offers a way forward from an entirely technologically based society and the tactile feel of pencil on paper has its own reward.

Chadwick has been in the profession for many years. He worked both as an architect and as an interior designer. Now he mostly focuses on freehand visuals. In his interviews he says that he usually uses A3 sheets of paper for drawings and spends 2 to 3 hours on a drawing on average. You can see that this is extremely quick as compared to a rather lengthy process of 3D visualization. His sketches are so very full of life and energy! His portrayal of the feel, the ambience of a place is absolutely splendid.

What is special about Chadwick’s technique? Markers, partial colour filling, focusing on the central part of the composition, freehand lines, no rulers. No less important is the speed. His lines are very free, never perfectly straight and sometimes, even they are slightly bent, give the overall composition the “fish eye lens effect”. 

Chadwick’s knowledge of perspective principles is so profound that he does not hesitated to break them in order to achieve his vision. Sometimes you will find several horizon lines in his drawings and the diagonals often do not meet at the vanishing point, despite all that, his drawings always feel correctly constructed and full of  emotionality, liveliness and dynamism.

What can you try to do the way  Chadwick does? As a rule, it is the focal point of a drawing (its background) that he fills with colour, whereas the foreground could be executed in thin lines. Try to identify one sort of your overall composition and focus on colouring only the central part. By applying colour only to certain parts of a drawing you will save both time and markers. An interesting trait of his drawing is that when Richard Chadwick makes textures and works over detail, he shows only fragments of them (for example, only fragments of tiling on the floor). This is the most effective application of the ‘understatement’ technique, and lots of areas in his drawings are only marked with thin lines. The master uses a very limited colour palette in one sketch which is usually 5 to 7 markers. More about Chadwick here.

Favourite subjects: bars, restaurants, cafes.

Homework: do a copy of 1-2 of Chadwick’s interior sketches. This will help you to acquire a quick and impressive drawing technique. Carefully observe and  analyse everything that he does as go along.

Richard+Chadwick+interior sketch.jpeg
 

2. Sergio Rodrigues 

Our second master is a furniture designer and an architect Sergio Rodrigues. He is a legend in Brazil and his work is recognised world over. More about Rodrigues here.

Technique, practical training: favourite materials of the master are liners, black Chinese ink, sometimes watercolour. His drawings are very expressive and their energetic graphics falls into the category of interior illustrations. His technique very much resembles ‘the wire work’ method where all objects are carefully inked over contour and detailed.

Contributions to your collection of techniques: notice how Rodrigue’s drawings have distinct foreground and background. The lines of the objects in the foreground are thick and rich in colour, whereas in the background lines are lighter. Notice how he applies flat colour for example to the floor and by doing so, he accentuates the contrast and graphic feel of his sketches.

Favourite subjects: restaurants, bars, residential, furniture.

Homework: analyze the master’s technique, do a copy of one of his works.

Sergio Rodrigues chair
 

3. Albert Hadley 

One of the best-known American decorators of all times, Hadley worked for such celebrity clients as Jacqueline Kennedy, Oscar de la Renta, as well as vice-presidents and ambassadors. Hadley played an exceptional role and made a significant  contribution to the XX-th century American interior design. More about Hadley here.

Technique, practical training: sketches made by the master are for the most part very graphic in style and are executed in pencil, Chinese ink and stylus. Albert Hadley usually used toned drawing paper and was famous for his incredible speed of drawing. He had his sketches finished in a matter of seconds. This proves his great mastery – speed and accuracy of performance. Have a look at his drawings. How vigorous, energetic, fluent and lucid they are, and, at the same time, how exceptionally well he renders an idea and feel of a prospective interior, the ambiance of a space.

Contributions to your collection of techniques: Albert Hadley never used rulers or rubbers when drawing. This can teach us a good lesson – try and learn to render your idea on paper in the most quick, clear-cut, articulate and expressive way, almost with one stroke of pen.

Favourite subjects of sketches: interiors of Victorian houses, libraries.

Homework: do a copy of one of the drawings by the master using liner or pen.

Albert+Hadley sketch.png
 

4. Michelle Morelan 

And to finish our list of gurus for this book, let me introduce to you a Canadian woman-designer Michelle Morelan. She grew up on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and early on she understood how the aesthetics of nature and architecture intertwine in harmony to a deeply satisfying effect. This is the reason why peace and tranquility of natural way of living have found their way into all of her drawings with accentuated textures, natural materials, open spaces and enjoyable colour palette, mostly consisting of sandy, earthy and woody colour tones. More about Morelan here.

Technique, practical training: the master uses a combination of techniques to create hybrid sketches. As a rule, she constructs a space in a 3D programme (such as “Sketch Up”), and then she hand-sketches and colours interesting angles of perspective with markers.

Contributions to your collection of techniques: like Chadwick, Michelle Morelan has a very restrained colour palette. I would call her technique “minimalistic sketching”: often only one or two materials are accentuated (frequently these are wood and stone).

Favourite subjects of sketches: spacious interiors of countryside houses.

Homework: do a copy of one of Morelan’s sketches.

Michelle+Morelan+sketch.png

Well, my creative friend, I hope you enjoyed this article, please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.

P.S. My dear Reader, please share this article on your social media. Thanks in advance and good luck with your drawings!

© Olga Sorokina, 2019

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(NEW) How to create a great interior design portfolio

How to create an interior design portfolio

Whether you are a beginner in the design world or a mature interior designer this article can help you with some basic steps in creating your first portfolio; also you may find here some fresh and interesting ideas for an existing one. Some paragraphs here I took from my best-selling book “The SKETCH“. Enjoy!

P.S. Two very special gifts are waiting for you at the end of the article.


interior drawing Olga Sorokina.jpg

Hi, I’m Olga!

I bring secrets of hand rendering from the best Russian Art Academy to interior designers all over the world!

Check my interior drawings here

 

You need a portfolio to show people so that they can see what your design skills are and what your expertise is. It should be professionally looking and attractive from a design perspective, yes, but content is king, never forget about this, that’s why I’m going to be covering here necessary things to include in your interior design portfolio.

To begin with, let’s define your «target audience» as that will affect the content. Who will see your portfolio? Is it an employer, a potential client, or maybe people from interior design college you want to apply? Think about it and then you can create a killer portfolio that will blow their minds! Remember, your interior design portfolio can actually prove you are a professional without you saying a word! Your portfolio can also set you apart from other designers and present your work in the best possible light. Visuals speak loud. Design speaks even louder.

 

In this article I will cover:

  • Interior design student’s portfolio

  • Interior designer’s portfolio

  • Interior decorator’s portfolio

  • Portfolio for you to apply for interior design school/college/university

  • Portfolio formats

  • Importance of hand rendering for interior designers

  • Resources (books, examples)

 

Interior design student’s portfolio

Are you a beginner in the design world? Do you lack experiences? Then in your portfolio, you can obviously show off your school/university assignments that you really like. Select your best projects that you are most proud of, show your best work. Five to seven projects are usually enough.

Let’s assume that your «target audience» is an employer. On the first page of your portfolio, it’s a good idea to include your photo and resume. Make sure to keep your resume nice and relatively short. This is a great way to start out your portfolio as it gives a great overview of your skills. Plus, your resume should be attractive, take your time and check some design resume templates online (like this one) or create one yourself.

Visuals speak loud. Design speaks even louder.

Next, continue with your projects (commercial design, hospitality industry, residential projects), then you can include paid projects you did on the side if you have ones. Make sure you have correct categories displayed. The important thing is to keep everything clean and crisp as it will make your portfolio look professional. You should prove with your beautiful presentation that you are a skilful interior designer.

Include pictures of some design boards, you’ve had created, because it’s a lot easier to carry around pictures as it shows the work well enough, plus it gives your future employer a really good overview of your skills.

 

Check this 5-min tutorial to enrich your portfolio with hand renderings:

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Be sure to demonstrate your technical skills, include your CAD drawings, show that you can draw out and design a plan, add a couple of electrical drawings and any other special drawings or special skills you may have.

Another great idea is to demonstrate a progression of a project from initial concept to final design. Here you can show your very first sketches, mood boards, AutoCAD floor plans, and any other mechanical plans, elevations, and 3D renderings. At the very end of the portfolio, you can have your references.

If you can sketch and make perspective drawings and hand renderings, include them as well. Clients really love hand drafts as this ability to draw makes them think that you’re an Artist. Show your wide range of talents.

If you struggle with hand rendering and want to master sketching with markers and perspective drawing, check out my ecourses for beginners and for pros.

You might want to check my top favourite marker sets for sketching on my Resources page here.

Drawing in 1-point perspective from my ecourse  “BASE“

Drawing in 1-point perspective from my ecourse “BASE“

 

Interior designer’s portfolio

Please remember that interior design is not the same as interior decorating, that is the one big mistake people make all the time. Some customers really think that we just select pillow cushions, and blankets, and picking wall colours all day long. To be true, that is about 10% of what we actually do. Interior design is essentially like architecture, in some countries, it’s even called «interior architecture». You can get your diploma in interior decorating in 2-3 years, whereas interior design typically is a four to six-year degree program.

In interior design, you learn about constructions, floor plans, history of interior design, styles, functionality, ergonomics, lighting, colour theory, client communication, building codes, mechanical systems. It’s a lot more than just designing a room. In this article, I will cover the decorator’s portfolio as well so keep reading.

Well, here, in an interior designer’s portfolio, your «target audience» can be both a potential employer or a client.



First, let’s talk if it is an employer

Looking for a position in interior design or architecture firm? Your resume, in that case, should cover your educational background, experience, and qualifications. My recommendation is to focus on your professional skills in this type of portfolio.

For example, you can list your skills such as:

  • AutoCAD/ArchiCAD/Revit/Google SketchUp drafting and rendering

  • 3DS MAX rendering + Vray

  • Sketching and hand rendering

  • Construction management, etc

It’s also a good idea to demonstrate a progression of a project from the concept to the final design, show your sketches, sample design boards, floor plans, and any other mechanical plans, elevations, and final 3D renderings.

interior design portfolio blog

Now, let’s talk if it is a client and if you already have some experience

Your resume here can cover not only your experience, educational background, and qualifications but also your design philosophy. Remember to add contacts or your business card.

Include client recommendations if you have any, testimonials work better than anything.

Show what your customer wants, if he came to you for a residential project, show him your completed projects of apartments, studios, duplexes, houses etc. I mean at least 80% of your portfolio should be residential, other 20% you can make commercial if you wish.

Try to include real photos, not only 3D renderings, layouts, mood boards and drawings, as photos of completed projects will dramatically enrich your portfolio and gain the trust of the customer. Every time you finish a project, hire a photographer or a friend of yours who can make professional photos of your accomplished interior.

Focus on visuals: photos, 3D views, hand renderings, and sketches, clients really love it. Try not to overwhelm your customer with technical drawings and AutoCAD layouts, the majority of them won’t understand all that stuff.

Here I used Chartpak and Copic markers.

Here I used Chartpak and Copic markers.

Include project location with its start and completion dates, describe the client’s directive. Keep it short and sweet. You can use here «before» and «after» photos.

If you have any publications in interior design magazines, design awards, include them as well. Add certificates and any other documents that show your accomplishments.

The best interior designer with the worst sales skills will never have as much business as the worst interior designer with the best sales skills.

You want to sell with your portfolio your creative services and your expertise. Remember that the best interior designer with the worst sales skills will never have as much business as the worst interior designer with the best sales skills. Think about what your client really wants and needs and how you are going to be able to deliver on those wants and needs. How he will benefit from you rather than the other interior designer? What value do you bring to the table?

Another important thing is to keep your portfolio up-to-date, so check it once a year or every other year and delete some outdated projects and include your new designs. If you don’t want to offer it, don’t show it, let it be your mantra for the portfolio creation process. I mean if your goal is to work on restaurants and hotels in a contemporary style, don’t show your clients examples of residentials in classic.

 

Interior decorator’s portfolio

So you are a brand new interior decorator and you don’t have a portfolio built up yet. Let’s assume that your «target audience» is a potential customer. If you have not yet been able to do your first real design project, my advice is to create an imaginary one, but following all the steps of a real project.

You can include some educational projects you’ve done such as private, commercial, hospitality interiors. The simplest and fastest way to fill in your portfolio with projects is to create mood boards. It’s not the most sustainable option, but if you are on a deadline it can be the most effective solution for you. Visuals speak loudly, they really do, people absolutely love to see visuals! Why do you think Instagram and Pinterest are so popular these days?

If you don’t want to offer it, don’t show it.

Spend a couple of days and create mood boards for imaginary clients; for example, dream up a studio apartment for a young couple, a living room for an architect, an apartment for fashion designer and so on. Create all sorts of rooms and spaces for whoever you can dream up. Take it seriously, think about these people and what their lives are. What you envision their space to be? Create a bunch of mood boards and put those on your portfolio.

A great idea would be to accompany those mood boards with floor plans in order to show your technical skills and knowledge of ergonomics. A huge benefit to doing that is that you can nail down your process so you can know how much time it takes you so in a situation with a real and not fake client you know how to charge properly for your expertise.

 

Dream to draw interior sketches like a professional?

Watch this 22-min tutorial and master some basics today:

 

Portfolio for you to apply for interior design school/college/university

You need a good portfolio to get accepted into interior design school or university. Usually, you have to have good grades as well because it’s a competitive program.

In this case, your «target audience» is, as you can probably guess, selection committee. First, I would recommend checking their website, most programs will have a list of requirements that they would like to see.

They want it clean and simple, just show your artistic abilities so that these people know that you do have some sort of design background. The main thing here is to practice your perspective drawing (especially 1 and 2-point perspective), floor plan drafting. Check my free ecourse where I cover basics of 1 and 2-point perspective.

My marker drawing on A4 format

My marker drawing on A4 format

Usually, you had to go for an interview and show them pieces of artwork, life drawings, classic still-life drawings, maybe Photoshop collages, you have to show your artistic abilities and that you could drop. Just collect your art pieces, make photos of them. You can simply create a digital portfolio in Word or PowerPoint by labelling your art pieces (add sizing and description, for ex. 50x60 cm, oil on canvas, name, etc). When entering an interior design school it is a great advantage that you have those drawing skills.

Remember that each design school’s committee wants the best possible students to study in that school because their successful graduates and their testimonials are their best ads and marketing tools.

Good luck to you if you are currently applying for colleges or universities!

 

Portfolio format

There are all sorts of portfolio formats:

  • Wire-bound presentations

  • Foam core/foamboard mounted prints

  • Video presentations

  • Digital version (link to iCloud or Google Drive doc, PDF version)

  • Online portfolio on your website (check these examples)

If you choose a printed version I would recommend horizontal A3 format (it is portfolio classic) as in square, A4 or vertically oriented format it’s harder to make a good composition and show your projects properly. Make sure you use high-quality images for your portfolio so they look nice when printed. Use high-quality paper, the feeling even texture of your portfolio, fonts, and colour brightness matters.

Online or PDF format is so popular now, it’s eco-friendly and it’s biggest advantage is that colours look so much deeper and brighter in comparison with the printed version.

You can create your portfolio in Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, InDesign, Apple Pages, Keynote, PowerPoint. Select the program you love and feel familiar with.

 

Resources

You might find these links helpful in order to create the best possible portfolio:

Book «Design Portfolios»: link

Portfolio examples on Pinterest: link

Inspirational examples on issue.com: link

 

Well, my creative friend, I hope you enjoyed this article, please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.

P.S. My dear Reader, please leave your comments below and share this article on social. Thanks in advance and good luck with your portfolio! I’m sure it will look amazing!

 

© Olga Sorokina, 2018


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(1) MY FREE VIDEO COURSE/CHALLENGE ON PERSPECTIVE BASICS FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS

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What is perspective in drawing? Perspective basics for interior designers

what is perspective drawing

Here, we will familiarize ourselves with the most extraordinary and most exciting field of descriptive geometry and will discover two main types of perspective – the most important skill in interior sketching.


Fundamentals/Basics

Perspective is an area of descriptive geometry. Not many people are keen on learning descriptive geometry at school and for many it is synonymous with boring technical tasks and dull routine. Perspective is an intriguing subject, full of surprising secrets and is absolutely essential for interior designers. It is this knowledge that will let you work wonders on paper allowing you to create exciting views of interiors and to reflect your ideas in the most effective way.

Perspective is the basic and most fundamental knowledge for sketching. It will help you deliver your projects expertly. Without it you will get nowhere – if you don’t know the laws of perspective, then you lack the foundations, which means you cannot move on, and no rendering technique or stylistic device will help you out if you don’t have a clear understanding of how to plot a space. The eye of a man has an admirable organization and it is thanks to the laws of geometry, that we can put down on paper or visualize the real world in the way our brain perceives it.

2 point perspective interior
 

Types of perspective

What types of perspective are there and which ones are of greatest importance to interior sketching?

There are many types of perspective. To name but a few: aerial perspective, frontal perspective (or 1-point perspective), angular perspective (or 2-points perspective or oblique view), perspectives with 3, 4, 5 and even 6 vanishing points. So, which ones are of the greatest value to interior designers?

First of all, it is the frontal perspective (it is sometimes called a perspective with one vanishing point), secondly, there is oblique view or angular perspective (with two vanishing points) and, finally, aerial perspective (or tonal perspective). If the first two allow us to correctly draw an interior, the last one will enable you to fill your drawing with air and convey three-dimensionality of space. Once we master the basics, we can address more complex types of combined perspective – with three vanishing points, and various three-dimensional effects. These are exciting perspective techniques which add more expression to a drawing.

 

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There is one artist that I want to point your attention to whose mastery of perspective I particularly admire. I am talking about Dutch graphic artist Maurits C. Escher. His work is simply mind-boggling! My favourite work is his extraordinary self-portrait (check it here), where he is drawing himself while looking in the mirror sphere which also reflects the interior. If you remove the ball, the room appears in 1-point perspective, but because the room is reflected in the spherical mirror surface of the ball, it causes amazing effects and distortions of the space.

Escher’s art is one of the brightest examples of mathematical laws of perspective coupled with the author’s imagination. Escher published a book, “Impossible Worlds”, where he plays with geometric laws, planes, creating inconceivable spaces. Scientists are well-versed in the beauty of mathematics and Escher shows all of us that beauty.

We adore chaos because we love to produce order.          
— Maurits Cornelis Escher

Once you grasp the rules of construction of geometry of a space, you can start experimenting with them. I call it ‘playing with perspective’. All sketching masters have excellent command of this knowledge. So let’s get going and discover it for ourselves!

1 point perspective interior sketch
 

1-Point Perspective 

In the 1-point perspective, we have a vanishing point, which is always on the horizon line. This vanishing point is where all the lines converge to (that’s why it is called 1-point perspective). When we draw an interior, we see three walls: one that is parallel to the picture plane (frontal wall) and two side walls.

Basically, 1-point perspective is linear perspective and it comes into play when your line of sight is parallel to the horizontal set of lines that converge upon a single point in the distance and perpendicular to the other set of lines in the view. It is the simplest type of perspective because we deal with only one vanishing point.

We are forever indebted for this knowledge to the Italian Renaissance. In the second half of the XVth century, Renaissance artists and mathematicians developed the linear perspective theory and brought precision and mathematics into mainstream art. Viva Italia!

Before that, artists drew ‘by eye’ or used Inverted Perspective (Bizantine Perspective), which is an art form unique to pre-renaissance religious art and is full of embedded meaning. As an example, look at Andrey Rublev’s “Trinity” and observe how the space appears flat and converges towards the viewer.

Thanks to Renaissance and its masters, who were not only prolific artists, sculptors, architects, but also prodigious mathematicians, the laws of perspective were discovered. Brunelleschi, Alberti, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca introduced the use of perspective, and, in doing so, forever changed further development of art.

Renaissance masters were so fluent in the complexities of geometric construction that they were able to apply their knowledge of perspective to perform most complicated tasks and solve quite challenging problems. For example, painting of a ceiling of a dome has to take into account a variety of factors: first, people look at frescos from below, which significantly alters their perception. They also had to take into account the curved shape of the dome and correct for distortions that arise. Apart from that, there is a host of technical aspects such as erection of scaffolding, working at a high altitude, temperature, humidity (in the case of frescos, the humidity is very high, as painting is performed over damp plaster), technique of mixing colours, a problem of lighting, and even the position of a painter’s body (for instance, Michelangelo almost completely lost his sight, while painting the Sistine Chapel).

My drawing for the book  “The SKETCH“

My drawing for the book “The SKETCH“

 

When should we use 1-point perspective?

1-point perspective is an ideal choice for depicting public spaces: bars, cafes, restaurants, hotel lobbies, as well as spacious residential interiors: sitting rooms, dining rooms, halls, and lounges, etc. This view lets you represent your idea on a drawing by showing the maximum amount of space. Suppose, we have a restaurant layout, rectangular in shape: it would be sufficient to draw two 1-point perspective views – in one direction as you enter and one in the reverse. If we were to use a 2-point perspective view to demonstrate the design idea, we would have to draw all four corners of the space, plus a general view, a view from above, or even make a model (at least 5 sketches in total). In contrast, the 1-point perspective view allows you to show the idea with only two drawings.

We can change the position of the vanishing point in relation to the centre of the picture plane placing it anywhere on the horizon line. It can be right in the centre, or it can be shifted to the right or to the left. This will make the picture asymmetric. This adds dynamism to the composition and allows you to reveal one of the walls to a greater extent. However, when the vanishing point is right in the centre, both walls are shown to the same degree, and, thus, appear balanced. In fact, it is this placement of the vanishing point that is often used in classical drawings of interiors. Classics loves symmetry.

1 point perspective interior
 

2-Point Perspective 

Another type of perspective important for designers is the perspective with two vanishing points. It is often called an «Oblique View». In this view, horizon contains two vanishing points, and the picture reveals two walls of a space. You can move these points on the horizon line, but it is important that the distance between them should remain the same fixed value (usually this distance equals to the diagonal of the picture plane). When you have understood all the most important basic laws of perspective, you will be able to experiment with them, creating drawings with the most effective angles.

2-point perspective is a linear perspective in which there are two vanishing points on the horizon line. This type of perspective appears when your line of sight is at an angle to the horizontal sets of lines that converge upon points in the distance.

This type is usually more dynamic compare to 1-point, because we are able to see the volumes of objects.

My drawing for the book  “The SKETCH“

My drawing for the book “The SKETCH“

 

In which case 2-point perspective is the best choice?

It is indispensable when we want to show a space containing one main object, a dominant feature. In the bedroom, it is a bed. In the study, it is a desk. In the nursery, it is a cot. And so on…

This perspective is ideal for small spaces, or when we want to draw in detail a specific corner of an interior. It is important that we draw this object in great detail. Also it is the oblique view that allows us to show furnishings and other separate objects. I often use it to specify upholstery. A picture is worth a thousand words and it is way easier to send an image along with an order for a piece of furniture depicting exactly what I had in mind.

My drawing for the book  “The SKETCH“

My drawing for the book “The SKETCH“

 

Read more about perspective drawing in my book “The SKETCH“ (Amazon paper-based version or PDF).

Well, my creative friend, I hope you enjoyed this article, please let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.

P.S. Please help me grow my blog by sharing this article on social media. Thanks in advance!

 

© Olga Sorokina, 2018


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What is sketching and the 5 most popular types of it

what is sketching in drawing
interior design drawing.jpeg

In this blog post I will explain what sketching is and what are its five most popular types.

P.S. I took this text from my book “The SKETCH“.


You can listen this article in audio format

(12 min)

What is sketching?

Basically, it is about making a quick drawing, a study, which helps you to represent a design idea. And it has a plethora of applications:

Travel sketching (or sometimes city or urban sketching): expressive, energetic and usually extremely fast drawings of architectural details, city views, restaurants, etc.

It can be made both in open air (“pleinair” in French) and working from your memory – recollections of your trip when you are back at home, or using photos and creating compositions out of them. It includes “cafe sketching” as well.

Fashion sketching: people, fashion-looks and accessories. It is used mainly for illustrations or magazines, e.g. for brand promotion. It helps designers during the first stages of creation of their collections and helps to introduce changes.

Industrial Design sketching: probably the most known and popular branch of sketching. Obviously, it was created by industrial designers; a good example is car sketching. In this case, all sketches are made with great speed and confidence.

The type of sketching I teach my students via online courses, Instagram Lives, and YouTube tutorials is a little different, it’s an interior design sketching, and we usually start by creating a precise measured perspective with help of scale rulers. This is followed by freehand rendering which may take 1-2 hours, and for this stage we will be using markers. Once you have mastered the construction technique, you will develop the ability to produce quick freehand sketches of interiors.

perspective drawing
interior sketch restaurant

Sketching is an amazing skill which lets you transfer your design idea onto paper in the most fun, fast and effective way. In other words, sketching is a unique instrument for visualizing your concepts. Nowadays, it is associated mostly with such media as specialized professional markers, for example, Copic, Stylefile, Chartpak, Promarkers, ZIG, etc. Actually sketching “palette” is very wide and versatile: you can start from scratch by using a pencil, charcoal or black liner and end up by using different types of colouring techniques, for instance, watercolour, coloured ink and pastel or watercolour pencils. It is possible to mix different media, for example, markers + pastel or watercolour + coloured pencils. There are so many creative opportunities for you to test and explore! It is a good idea to try several and pick a couple of “favourites”.

drawing perspective online course

A range of this kind of media in the art-shops can impress and confuse at the same time. But don’t worry, my friends, in this article on my blog I recommend you a nice and compact set of marker colours, which I personally use most of the time. But why I do recommend markers? This is my answer: in my opinion, markers are the most easy-to-learn-how-to-use and easy to implement technique for beginners (especially in comparison to watercolour) and, at the same time, sketches which are done with markers usually look more vibrant. As a matter of fact, in my personal interior design practice, I used to use watercolour and coloured pencils for my drawings, whereas now I opted for markers only because I simply see how much better they perform on paper for interior design purposes.

markers for sketching

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The reason why sketching became so popular today among designers of all kinds not only in Russia, Europe, USA, Asia and the rest of the world is that artists nowadays tend to be overwhelmed by computer programs such as CAD, Revit, Sketchup, 3D Max, and Maya. In the old days, artists were earning their bread by, literally, their hands and now they are desperately wishing to go back in time when ideas were transferred through hand drawing, which is far more natural and organic way of doing it.

Just take a look at what is happening right now in our creative lives: we rarely, if ever, write with a pen, and mostly type on a computer, iPad or iPhone. We do not send handwritten letters and cards anymore – epistolary genre is almost gone for good – and even our thoughts and ideas we capture in “Notes” on our iPhones. It seems that we have forgotten the meaning of “handmade”, handcrafted, which is precious because in creating it you include a piece of your heart, love, and memories. Do you remember what we were told as children: “The best present is the one that is made by hands”. There is a profound meaning in that. Just observe that we no longer “create” on paper but “work” on a computer, in Photoshop, Word or AutoCAD. The words we use, especially verbs, bear deep meaning. With that in mind, ask yourself, is it better to render or to hand-render; to work or to create? They say that 3D Max was invented by those who can not draw. Clearly, there is a number of advantages in using 3D and computer-generated imagery, but let us not lose the command of our hands and the link between the brain and the heart that hand drawing fosters.

 

Types of sketching 

As I mentioned before there are different types of sketching and here I would like to talk about each one in a little bit more depths. Let’s take a quick look at the main features of the most popular of them by splitting them into key concepts and keywords.

Interior sketching

For this kind of sketching it is highly important to understand the laws of perspective and train your eye to judge scale and proportion. It is always good to be able to execute your drawings within different time frames because sometimes you will need to draw your idea quickly in front of your customer. As an interior designer, you should have an eye for beauty, a feeling for harmonious colours and a perfect palette. And, as in other types of sketching, you should be able to render a variety of materials such as fabric, wood, stone, and glass. Check my video courses on interior design drawing.

Interior drawing from my ecourse PRO. Check other sketches   here  .

Interior drawing from my ecourse PRO. Check other sketches here.

Fashion sketching

For this type of sketching it is important to have a good understanding of human proportions (face and body). You should know how to stylize figures in your drawings. More often than not, body proportions are elongated in fashion sketching. For example, the total height of human body in fashion sketching is 10, 11 or even 12 times the height of a human head as opposed to real-life proportions of only 7.5 to 8 heights of a human head. The most important aspect of fashion sketching is to be able to capture a design idea in the best possible light. Hence a facial-portrayal of a human figure is usually not important. In this case, it is critical to be able to deliver the idea of the designed collection to the best advantage. In fashion sketching, it is important to bring the clothing design into focus, and a life-like portrayal of the figure is usually unimportant. You will also need to know how to convey through hand-render the look and feel of such materials and textures as skin, hair, different types of fabric, metal, etc.

fashion sketch.png

Industrial sketching

You will need the ability to draw objects in 3D, clearly showing their structural design and volume. In order to be able to render a professionally looking arrangement of component part on a page you will need firm grasp of the principles of composition. You will also need to perfect your technique and speed in order to develop assured line and confident hand. Most common materials that need rendering in industrial sketching are metal, plastic, and glass.

sketching what is it

Travel sketching

In this type of sketching, the most important skill is to manage to convey the feel, the ambience of a place, to capture the flitting moment and, at the same time, to deliver correct scale and proportions of the object. More often than not, you will also need to be able to perform at high speed, as you will be sketching while travelling, while on the road, when you do not have several hours at your disposal the way it would have been the case with plain-air sketching. In this type of sketching it is important to grasp the intrinsic traits of the place you are observing and afterwards graphically stylize it in your drawing.

Check the process of creation of this sketch on my YouTube   here  .

Check the process of creation of this sketch on my YouTube here.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed the content! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Please share this article with your friends on social media. Thanks in advance!

 

© Olga Sorokina, 2018


CHECK PROGRAM AND DRAWINGS FROM MY VIDEO COURSE ON INTERIOR SKETCHING WITH MARKERS FOR BEGINNERS "BASE":


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My 10 rules of interior sketching


sketch like an architect
 

You can listen this blog-post in audio format

(5 min)


1. Foundations of everything

Without solid knowledge of the principles of perspective nothing will ever work out. Study the method, refer to my book often and make sure you understand it completely. For the moment concentrate on the frontal perspective – it is a very powerful and hugely useful technique.

2. Horizon line

Remember, that the horizon line level has an effect on the general impression of your sketch. Whether the horizon is at the eye level of a seated person or at 2 meter level above the floor, it is an absolutely critical decision for the whole of the drawing and for how different planes are revealed.

3. Composition

A well-chosen view angle and the knowledge of composition are most crucial! They will contribute greatly to your sketch; by making your project look elegant and allowing you to present it to the best effect.

4. 3D Effect

To be sure, knowledge and application of the rules of light and shadows, the aerial perspective, tonal gradations and texturing are key. It is these things that give volume and expressiveness to a drawing.

5. The Trained Eye

Examine as many works and drawings as possible, learn wherever you can: YouTube tutorials or Skillshare classes, drawing exhibitions, read books about design, drawing and illustration. You have to become satiated with visual references for your own new and unique style to emerge.

interior sketching markers.jpeg

6. Materials

Use quality materials. You don’t need a great number, but make sure they are top quality. For a successful start, you will need 7-10 colours of professional markers (with 3-4 of them being tones of grey), a pencil, a black liner, a white pen, an eraser, and paper. Later on, when you start becoming more involved with sketching, don’t pinch pennies and buy Copic sets.

7. Techniques

The classic techniques of sketching will always be in high esteem: this are watercolours, Chinese ink, coloured pencils and pastel. But experience tells me that the easiest, quickest and the most effective tool in interior sketching is markers: they give wonderful results, even when you use them for the first time.

8. Masters

If you want to become proficient at sketching as quickly as possible, learn from the masters of the craft: take note of their devices, copy their techniques, and use this rich foundation of knowledge to develop your own unique and inimitable style.

9. Customers

Remember, that all customers are guided by their emotions when they make decisions, which is why your portfolio and sketches must be “savoury to the eye”. Assess your portfolio one more time and ask yourself: «Would I buy it?» If the answer is «No», burn it and make something spectacular instead!

10. Everyday practice

Draw every day and train your eye and hand as much as possible. If you start practicing every day for approximately 30 minutes, it will take you about 3 weeks to achieve a pretty high level of mastery of your hand and your pictures will start showing confidence which is the main quality of a professional, since you can always tell a pro from a beginner by the confidence of their lines and hatchings. Confidence only comes with experience!

Learn more about interior design drawing from my book «The SKETCH» (available on Amazon.com)

P.S. Please share this blog-post with your friends! They would be glad you did. Thanks in advance, you're awesome!

© Olga Sorokina, 2017


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Which brands of markers are the best choice for interior and architectural sketching?

IN THIS BLOG POST I WILL TELL YOU WHAT MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED FOR INTERIOR/architecture DESIGN DRAWING, WHICH BRANDS OF MARKERS WOULD BE THE BEST CHOICE, WHAT I PERSONALLY USE IN MY SKETCHING ROUTINE, WHAT MY FAVOURITES ARE AND HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO HAVE THESE TYPES OF MARKERS!

best markers for sketching
markers for interior sketching

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(6 min)


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markers for sketching blog.jpg

So if you are reading this blog post chances are that you are a newbie in sketching and hand rendering, maybe you are going to buy your first set of markers and now you’re asking yourself a question: Where do I start? Well, here is my strategy: Less is More.

Which colours?

First and foremost, buy basic colours, as you will need them most. For interior sketching, it is better not to use pure, bright colours, but rather tones that are a bit ‘dusty’, ’noble‘ tones. What does that mean? With interiors it is better to choose colours that people would feel comfortable living in. A typical palette would include beige, grey, blue, olive, and woody tones.

You can buy the markers individually or in sets. There are even sets of ready-to-go colour combinations for architects and designers which consist of marker colours that work well with one another.

markers for interior sketching

You first marker selection might be as follows:

  • Light gray (NG 2, Neutral Grey #2)

  • Mid-gray (NG 4)

  • Dark gray (NG 7)

  • Light beige (or vanilla)

  • Olive

  • Dark brown (chocolate)

  • Black

As you can see, there are seven colours in all, of which three are grey shades. Greys occupy a special place in interior sketching. Firstly, they are used to give background colour to the entire sketch. Grey markers differ not only in tone, but also in warmth and coldness: there are Neutral Greys, Cool Greys and Warm Greys. To start with, you will need Neutral Greys. Usually they are marked by ‘N’ with a number: the higher the number, the darker the tone.

materials for interior sketching

What brand of markers to buy?

One of the first questions people often ask in my online sketching classes is about which materials they should use. What brand of markers is the best? How do various brands of markers differ from one another? 

Up until now, I have tested 5 brands: Promarker, Copic, TOUCH, Stylefile markers and Chartpak. All of them are good. These firms make professional quality markers that are perfect for drawing and are non toxic.

interior sketch markers

If I was to pick a favourite, it would be Copic. They have an extremely wide array not only of colours but also of marker tips. These include ‘Classic’ markers, ‘Extra Wide’ ones, the thin ‘Ciao’ markers and remarkable ‘Sketch’ (the last two have brush points). Maybe it is Copic Сiao that has influenced my technique most of all.

Here is one of my favorite Copic sets on Amazon, this is an affiliate links, if you use it, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you, so thanks in advance if you use it :-)

Check my top favourite marker sets on my Resources page here.


I did this drawing with Copic Ciao markers

I did this drawing with Copic Ciao markers

Check my interior drawings in the PORTFOLIO section on the website.

Firstly, they have a thin body that is very convenient to hold in the hand. However, the main difference is that on one side there is a wide tip (incidentally, a bit narrower than a Copic Sketch, Promarker or Stylefile), and at the other end there is a brush tip, also known as the ‘super brush’, which truly lives up to its name! It is the brush that lets you make absolutely photo-realistic effects and fantastic not only for sketching but also for landscape drawings, abstract painting, portraits, architectural sketches and even for calligraphy. Copic markers can be refilled and that is their tremendous advantage over the other brands. Although they are the most expensive markers available, in the long term Copics are the most cost efficient.

Promarker is also very good. They are quite similar to Stylefile and Copic Classic. But these are single-use markers, which cannot be refilled.

Chartpak is markedly different from the markers mentioned above. These markers have one very wide tip, that is highly convenient for interior sketching. The only disadvantage is that these markers have a rather strong smell of solvent.

copic markers sketching

A couple of more tips

  • Before buying a marker, test it in the art supplies shop and find the marker that suits you best. If you don’t have this opportunity, watch videos on marker brands on YouTube (f. ex mine is «Olga Sorokina») – this will help you make a decision about which materials are most suitable for you.

  • When you realize that sketching is ‘your thing’, be ready to invest into quality materials, training courses and books. This way you can develop your skills to become very good at sketching. This will happen quite fast. Sketching will be of great use in your work and will raise your professional skills level.

  • It is recommended that you store markers horizontally – this will extend their service life.

  • Storage and transportation: keep your markers away from the sun. If you are going on a trip, pack them into your hand-carried baggage, because the low temperatures in the baggage compartment will have adverse effect on the pigments inside the markers.

Learn more about markers from my book «The SKETCH» (available on Amazon.com)

 

P.S. Please share this blog-post with your friends! They would be glad you did. Thanks in advance, you're awesome!

© Olga Sorokina, 2017

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