Apr 26, 2019

The Importance of Drawing

By Focus Engineering In Expertise, Team No comments

Concepts, Creativity and Sketching go Hand in Hand

A few months ago, Seth Vance, our Assistant Department Manager for Land Planning, shared an article with everyone at FOCUS titled “3 Reasons You Should Start Drawing Now.” The article highlighted the benefits of hand drawing vs. digital renderings and how sketching affects the way landscape architects and designers do their jobs.

Seth consults with our clients to give recommendations on the best use of land based on the parameters and constraints given. As a project comes to fruition, Seth creates landscape designs that are attractive, functional, and inspiring.

What was it that piqued his interest in learning more about the benefits of hand drawing? He was reminded of his time in school and the heavy focus from classmates on computer graphics and trying to produce them. “The return to drawing is something I’m seeing more and more. I remember feeling inundated with computer renderings and rendering software,” explains Seth. “While I believe these tools are important, I like the shift toward sketching and the idea that those drawings convey an overall feeling and share a message.”

The article points out that drawing is understanding. And this emphasis on emotions and the feeling of place through hand drawing reminded Seth of the magic of creativity. “When I draw, my brain is talking to my hand directly; I find it easier to explore interesting and creative ideas.”

While computer programs have a firm place in the design world, Seth marveled at how drawing allows him to be his most creative. “Sketching allows me to very quickly express different design ideas and get to the best solution. Adding in the extra steps of using a keyboard and mouse can feel restricting, particularly in the initial stages of design.”

Visualizing design in more abstract ways instead of spatial configuration allows for more flexibility in design. It also lets the imagination fill in the blanks. Seth has noticed when he’s presenting a polished, realistic rendering at the beginning of a project it seems so final and gives a look of finality … like the initial design can’t be changed. And that’s the last thing Seth wants a client to think when working with our firm!

The article prompted conversations around the office about the ways hand drawing can help FOCUS team members create better landscapes, master planned developments, and concept plans. Seth explains that while we explore digital techniques to engage, “drawing forces our brains to think and to engage our creativity.” Some may argue the same for computer graphics, but Seth feels it is much truer when drawing with pen and paper.

Always one to walk his talk, Seth recently enrolled in a full-day design-concept sketching workshop at Utah State University. “Picking up a sketchbook is something I intend to include more and more in my design process because I’m reminded of its importance. Plus, drawing is really cool, and a lot of fun!”

Couldn’t we all use a little more “fun and cool” at our jobs?