Freehand sketch

Interview #6 with David Drazil, sketcher and architect from the Czech Republic

David Drazil sketch architect

David's Instagram: david_drazil

David’s website: sketchlikeanarchitect.com


1. Olga Sorokina (O. S.): David, could you please tell us how did you come to architecture and what was your initial step in hand rendering? 

David Drazil (D. D.): First time I started thinking about studying architecture was in high school, in art lessons, where we were taught how to draw perspective for the first time. I think I was around 15 years old at that time. We learned how to draw 1-point and 2-point perspective with an urban theme - typical street view and corner view. I remember being so amazed by that, can't really explain why, but I fell in love with that process. So since then I was pursuing architecture path which eventually led me to studying architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Right at the CTU I was given proper basics of architectural sketching which strongly influenced and shaped how I sketch today.

Free-hand sketching brings so much more freedom to both sketching process and the dialogue that evolves from it
 

2. O. S.: Your style is very bold and recognisable: black and white, freehand lines, no rulers. Could you please tell us about media you use and how it affects your approach if it does.

D. D.: Yes, I really prefer not to use rulers, because free-hand sketching brings so much more freedom to both sketching process and the dialogue that evolves from it. I perceive sketching as a means of communication more than anything else. And free-hand sketching with wavy imperfect lines leaves a lot of space for opening a creative dialogue - either between colleagues or an architect and a client. The imperfections suggest that nothing's set in stone and that everybody is welcome to contribute with their own inputs.

As for media that I use, it's usually Staedtler Pigment Liners in thicknesses from 0.05 - 0.8 mm and if I go for colour, then colour markers TOUCH.

 

3. O. S.: Could you please describe your process of creating sketches (and how long does it take), for example this one:

David Drazil sketch architecture

D. D.: The process differs according to the type of sketch. There are many types, most of them are for communicating ideas, but some process sketches are simply for brainstorming, trying to understand a problem and come up with a solution, or for further shaping and verifying ideas that emerge on the way.

I begin either with a pencil or a pen to create a visual structure and set the right scale

If we talk about presentation sketches like this one (took about 40 min), I like to start with a thumbnail sketch where I first try to find the best composition in terms of relations between different elements and positioning on a canvas. Depending on complexity, I begin either with a pencil or a pen to create a visual structure and set the right scale. Then I use pens with lighter line weight to build up the main volumes and work with different depth planes. I continue with texturing and shading, adding more of surroundings and details. Final touches might include line work with heavier line weight for emphasis and contrast or optionally use of colour.

 

4. O. S.: How do you structure your workday or your workweek?

D. D.: Right now I work full time as an architect in Copenhagen so my main schedule is determined by that. But usually I get up earlier to sketch or plan and structure the goals for the day/week. I'm still finding my way around juggling with more balls at the same time as I have some smaller projects and collaborations on the side. Ideally I try to plan these things in advance every weekend for the coming week, but it doesn't always work out ;) I'm also more of an evening person, so I find myself with sudden energy around 7 or 8 pm, so that's when I'm actually most productive about these things.

 

5. O. S.: David, please tell us about your sources of inspiration. What helps you to be productive?

D. D.: As for sources of inspiration, I believe that architects shouldn't get inspired by another architecture - that's very limiting. Don't get me wrong, it's important to do recherche and moodboards with reference pictures, but that's not inspiration in true sense. In regards to this, there is one quote from architect Edmund Bacon, which really resonates with me. He says: "It's in the doing that the idea comes." It really does work like that for me - I get ideas during the process, very often as I sketch, because there are no barriers as with using a software on a computer. The connection between your mind and your hand is very natural and it supports all the creative flows.

It’s in the doing that the idea comes
 

6. O. S.: Could you please tell us about your course «Sketch Like an Architect»

D. D.: Sure, this course is for people who want to learn or get better at architectural sketching. This bite-sized online course's sub-title is 'Step-by-Step from Lines to Perspective' and my students learn everything from the very basics of making straight lines to gradually more complex compositions of sketched perspectives. On the way I also share tips & tricks on lines & 2D objects, perspective rules, shading and texturing, populating your sketch and adding vegetation, and combining all these elements into one awesome perspective sketch.

Part of this course is also a 60-page PDF Handbook with all the summarized information, worksheets for practicing, and finished examples of sketches with explained techniques.

David Drazil course sketch like an architect
  • You can join this course on Skillshare and get 2 months of Premium Membership for free (no payment, cancel anytime) via this link: check it.

  • The PDF Handbook is also available separately on my Gumroad page: check it.

David Drazil architecture sketching
 

7. O. S.: How do you see the future of hand rendering in architecture and interior design?

D. D.: I am very optimistic about this - I can't imagine something would replace hand-sketching in our industries in any foreseeable future. From all the reasons mentioned above I believe it will stay an important part of both design process and presentation and maybe there will be even more demand for it as the human touch added to hand-renderings is irreplaceable and will always connect us on a very human level.

I can’t imagine something would replace hand-sketching in our industries in any foreseeable future
 

8. O. S.: What one advise would you give for beginners in hand rendering?

D. D.: Learn to observe and understand why things work and look like they do. Observation skills are essential for good sketching, for composition, light and shadows, proportions, materiality, and everything else. Train yourself to be better at observing! What I love about sketching is that it forces you to understand the object first before you're able to draw it. In that way, when you sketch you'll always learn something new.

 

Interview with David Drazil by Olga Sorokina.

P. S. Please share this inspiring interview with your friends, they will be glad you did. Thanks in advance!


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Interview #4 with Reid Schlegel, industrial designer and artist from NYC

Reid Shclegel

MEET REID SCHLEGEL, A NYC BASED INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER AND ARTIST. HE LECTURES AND TEACHES AT UNIVERSITIES GLOBALLY TO SHARE HIS SKILLS AND EXPERIENCES TO HELP YOUNG CREATIVES TRANSITION INTO PROFESSIONAL DESIGN CAREERS.

Photos from Reid's Instagram: reid.schlegel

Reid on Behance: reidschlegel

Reid Schlegel interview

1. Olga Sorokina (O. S.): Reid, how did you come to industrial design?

Reid Schlegel (R. S.): I have drawn and built things for as long as I can remember. Growing up I spent time in my late grandfather’s art studio and my other grandfather started giving me power tools for my birthday when I was eight years old. Because of this I have always been very comfortable expressing my ideas in two as well as three dimensions. I did not know what industrial design was however until I visited Purdue University for a mechanical engineering tour. The graduate student who gave the tour asked what I liked to do and I said “draw, build and solve problems.” He took me to see the industrial design department and the rest is history.


Sketches exist to communicate ideas. A designer does not need to be an amazing sketcher to be successful. What is important is that each sketch clearly and concisely articulates the main ideas behind the concept.

2. O. S.: What was your initial step in hand rendering?

R. S.: Drawing has been a part of my life for so long that I cannot really remember an initial step. Growing up I loved drawing skateboarders, architectural schematics, logos, new inventions, etc. I began taking hand rendering much more seriously when I began my industrial design undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech. My style began to really mature when I was worked at "SMART Design NYC" however. It was here that I began sketching with a Cintiq very frequently and the tightness and control of this medium seeped into my hand rendering style over time.

Reid Schlegel

3. O. S.: Your style is very bold and recognizable: emphasized perspective, focus on textures and I also noticed you like to use tinted paper for your sketches. Could you please tell us about media you use and how it affects your style and approach if it does?

R. S.: Tan paper allows me to work from the middle out. When I render concept sketches I usually have fifty percent of the idea in my head and let the rest evolve as the sketch progresses. When I draw on white paper I have to be very careful where I put marker because once it is down it cannot be undone. This makes it difficult to quickly put an idea down because I have to think two steps ahead and leave the highlight areas blank so the white can emphasize the burn marks. When working with tan paper I treat each sketch as a coloring book and worry about highlights and shadows towards the end. This frees me up to get lost in the concept and not slow myself down with rendering details. Since tan is a mid-tone it is easy to add the highlights and shadows at the end saving time and making the work really pop off the page.

4. O. S.: Could you please describe your process of creating sketches.

R. S.: Sketches exist to communicate ideas. A designer does not need to be an amazing sketcher to be successful. What is important is that each sketch clearly and concisely articulates the main ideas behind the concept. With this in mind I approach every sketch with what I want to communicate. The perspective, layout, markering, line weight, callouts, etc all impact how someone reads the sketch so I think through each carefully before putting pen to paper. Making it beautiful is just a plus.

Industrial design drawing Reid Schlegel

5. O. S.: How do you structure your workday or your workweek, how do you stay productive?

R. S.: Working at "Frog" keeps me very busy. Productivity is all about wanting something badly enough. All of my work on Behance and Instagram, freelance work, teaching engagements happen in my free time after work and on weekends. I try and dedicate two hours every evening to work on personal work and opportunities that I set up for myself. It is important to give yourself time off to do not design related things however to stay inspired and not burn out.


Design is an amalgamation of all the eclectic experiences that we each have and I love seeing those random events blend into new products and experiences.

6. O. S.: I have noticed in your Instagram some photos from your sketching workshops for students, what does it mean to you to share your knowledge?

R. S.: I graduated from undergrad in 2012 so I still understand how hard it can be to land your first full time job. I find it very rewarding sharing my experiences with students to help them transition into professional design positions. Speaking in front of large auditoriums full of people also helps me articulate my point of view on design succinctly and the questions that students ask prepare me to for questions clients will inevitably ask me in the future. It is also refreshing to work with students because they have not been told "no" yet so their ideas are wild and exciting.

Reid Schlegel Instagram

7. O. S.: Please tell us about your sources of inspiration. May be it’s calligraphy, nature, your puppy or objects and textures by themselves?

R. S.: Inspiration seems to come from the places that I least expect. My favorite inspiration comes from random memories that I never thought would be useful. Design is an amalgamation of all the eclectic experiences that we each have and I love seeing those random events blend into new products and experiences.


Design is a competitive field and it always shows when someone has put the time and energy into improving their skills.

8. O. S.: How do you see the future of sketching, particularly in industrial design?

R. S.: Sketching will never go away. As my career progresses I see myself jumping into CAD and computer rendering much earlier in my process but there is still no substitute for quick and dirty iteration sketches throughout the process. As a designer we are usually expected to work very quickly. I can generate twenty concept sketches in the same time that I can create a solidworks model. I see sketching as the glue that holds each part of the process together.

9. O. S.: What advises would you give for beginners in industrial sketching?

R. S.: Put a lot of time in early and always be open to new things. Design is a competitive field and it always shows when someone has put the time and energy into improving their skills. Traditional design is also evolving and designers are expected more and more to be fluent in many design languages. Having strong T-level skills will go a long way and make you a much more attractive hire.

Reid Schlegel Behance

Interview with Reid Schlegel by Olga Sorokina.

P. S. Please share this inspiring interview with your friends, they will be glad you did. Thank you!

Interview #1 with Masoud Farhad, architect and freehand sketcher

Hand rendering interview freehand sketch
I try to pioneer new drawing tools and find out unusual substances to paint with, for instance I coated handful amount of my sketches by using coffee and beet syrup.
— Masoud Farhad
Masoud Farhad architect

1. Olga Sorokina: How did you come to sketching and what was your initial step in sketching?

Masoud Farhad: My field of study is architecture and definitely, it is the most adventurous profession amongst all skills. Architecture can be categorized into different separated parts. One part is the theory of architecture and at the beginning it focuses on the history of classical art and architecture in the world and continues to contemporary theories. The other parts are more practical and architect picks up a pen to design a building. The procedure of design is a complicated process and must be carried out correctly. To develop and Idea, it’s necessary for architect to draw primitive simple shapes. Those simple sketches develop toward final design. It’s highly important for each architect to know how to sketch. I figured out the importance of the issue when I was green at the university. I realized that good sketchers can be good architectural designers. Since then, I made my mind to become a good sketcher. Although I was good at drawing by heart, I seriously tried to improve my abilities. Now, architectural sketching is my main profession.

2. O. S.: Could you please describe your process of creating sketches (and how long does it take), for example this one:

M. F.: A good sketcher should be equipped with simple but important drawing tools. A proper surface to work on and a good pen to work with and also a nice atmosphere to work in. Primitively I evaluate the size of the sketch according to the size of the page. Then I draw principal lines of the sketch in a fast way. Details are not included at this stage. Afterward, I add other components like furniture in details. The direction of light shows how to cope with shadows. A good sketch has a good lighting. Then I put the color on the sketch on aesthetic regulations using colorful markers and brushes. A little less or more, it takes half an hour to complete one work.

3. O. S.: You have very beautiful technique for your architecture sketches, it looks like combination of markers for a building and watercolor for the sky and background, or maybe it is waterbrush?

M. F.: Each sketcher is good at one or two drawing and painting methods, I prefer to use the combination of techniques for rendering. The main part is painted with different colors of markers and the rest is coated with ink. Every method has its advantages and disadvantages, for encircled areas it is easier and faster for me to use markers, mostly for trees and sky I can deal with ink much easier. It gives me the ability to work with fading colors in perspective. I use brushes to put the color on the surface. There are possibilities to easily mix colors to achieve new ones. Undoubtedly, the density of the ink and strength of color can be controlled by mixing it with water. I can quickly obtain variety of color tones from each tint by adding pure water. It is controllable and easy to manipulate. For a beginner, it is a sort of trial and error and with practicing it becomes an interesting hobby. It makes me feel like a boss and my tools are loyal employees. The achievement always sounds satisfying.

4. O. S.: How do you make perspective for your interior sketches, do you use computer programs or do you make it by yourself?

M. F.: I personally believe in architectural computer software and applications in this technologically improving century. It is undeniable to take the advantages of computer sciences. It is neat and accurate. I have to clarify that I have never worked with software to draw. I do call my works as freehand sketches. All of them have been done by hand. Interior and exterior perspectives are created by drawing correct composition of lines and putting the colors aftermath. The only way I am enjoying the computer is using software to balance the strength of lines and to slightly modify the contrast among colors. The original colors of the works are in logical order but when it comes to screen looks a little darker and in sum, software edits seems unavoidable.

No matter how many modern applications and computer utilities come to the market, freehand sketches illustrate new designs effectively faster.

5. O. S.: What are you currently working on?

M. F.: It is commonplace to draw things by using fountain pens and other common drawing pens and pencils, I try to pioneer new drawing tools and find out unusual substances to paint with, for instance I coated handful amount of my sketches by using coffee and beet syrup. I have checked substantial number of colorful food stuff and chemical liquid substances to use them in sketching just as water-color and ink. In addition, I am doing my best to publish my book which is about sketching techniques in at least three languages. The result is amazing.

6. O. S.: Please tell us about your sources of inspiration. What helps you to be productive in sketching? One thing is coffee I suppose, according to your Instagram :-)

M. F.: To be honest I am crazy about going through intact nature, seeing mountains, clouds, trees and rivers. It makes me feel like I am eager to create works. Also I like rural wooden cottages standing in the middle of a rain forest. I like to sip a cup of coffee sitting on a bank of a river. It makes me feel like I am alive and my hand must create artworks. I figured out that some sorts of natural colors could paint my sketch as I painted handful numbers of my perspectives with a coat of coffee. Anonymous natural powers push me toward notable innovations. It inspires me to wake up and shine. Natural compositions are the source of all arts. No matter it is a piece of music or visual arts.

It’s highly important for each architect to know how to sketch.

7. O. S.: How do you see the future of sketching, particularly in interior design?

M. F.: The universe is always in motion and it never stops even for a second. It is necessary to keep up with it. As the world and attitudes are changing, interior and even exterior architecture changes too. Architect has to design new patterns and designs according to new attitudes and actualize it on a piece of paper via fast freehand sketches. Sketch matters and will never lose its workability. No matter how many modern applications and computer utilities come to the market, freehand sketches illustrate new designs effectively faster.

8. O. S.: What advises would you give for beginners in sketching?

M. F.: I suggest the beginners to study relevant books and see variety of good sketches. They have to learn step by step. It is impossible for a person to become a perfect artist overnight. At the beginning, they should get to know sketching tools and then learn how to use them effectively. They should learn basic concepts of illustration rules appropriately, then practice to draw interior and exterior perspectives. They should get familiar with shadowing process which seems a little perplexing. Shadows make the third dimension easier to understand. At the end, it is necessary to learn how to use colors and relevant tools properly to make a good composition of lines and colors. I strongly suggest to beginners to believe their potentials. It is necessary to study and revise sketchbooks or take part at sketch courses to learn techniques, but avoid making replicas from other works and try to create personalized one. I bid green students to compile their works to compare primitive ones with recently done works and by this way the quality of learning process can be easily assessed. The collection can be kept as a personal worthy treasure. The process of learning should be under accurate control.

Interview with Masoud Farhad by Olga Sorokina.

P. S. Please share this inspiring interview with your friends. Thank you!


To contact Masoud please use information below:

Email: freeehandsketches@gmail.com

Instagram: masoudfarhad

Facebook: Msd Fhd

Linked in: Masoud Farhad

Twitter: masoudfarhad


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Olga Sorokina