Hand-Mind Creative Connections


Liz Steel asked this morning if the architects she knows who draw needed to learn observational skills in order to sketch as artists.

I sketch, practiced architecture until I left it to pursue art, and am an artist.  Most of us drew going into architecture, but a few learned in an immersion course of a few weeks.  I’d say no, I had that skill.  I understand when artists who were not immersed in the craziness that is architectural school struggle with perspective and other forms of drawings, but for architects. I don’t understand it.

I think the reliance on computers to see and think during design have hurt younger crops of architects in the way they think and create, and in turn have led to even more boring and mundane architects in general.  ALL of us drew, none of us had trouble drawing and understanding complex ways of drawing.  Frankly the whole issue — for an architect —  about not getting perspective is a bit odd coming from my background and thinking about my fellow classmates.  I hear about how hard it is for art teachers to teach perspective — but we all learned or knew it within a few weeks.  Immersion, not unlike being dropped into a foreign country and having to pick up the language.  Some architects had a flair for the artistic, but ALL grokked all of the basics and more.  We were weaned on Frank Ching!  You could not get through school without making the connection between drawing and thinking and seeing — and the act of drawing was/IS an extension of seeing/thinking/being creative.  So the idea of needing to learn new observational skills — unless you are literally a month or two into being a first year architectural student — is a non-compute for me.  Like being a mathematician and not adding… A writer and not spelling or understanding grammar so you can communicate….

Don’t get me wrong.  I think CAD is a great tool because who wants to draw the same high-rise floor 20 times…. but to think, to design… all was better when our hands/drawing skills were part of the way we engaged the world.

And for Norm, here are a few entries, or doors! 

Have you got a door in your sketchbook?

web-dkp-arch-portfolio-07 web-dkp-arch-portfolio-01


w16-9-22-pentalic-laguna-beach-days-of-yore-05-sq w15-10-haight-sq w16-8-rp-trojan-horse-sq w16-4-1-newberry-library-sq w16-9-22-pentalic-laguna-beach-days-of-yore-04-sq

Ixtapa proposal created as group effort with four design groups.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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4 Responses to Hand-Mind Creative Connections

  1. Norm 2.0 says:

    I studied technical drawing/drafting back in high school in the late 70’s – early 80’s and at the time the curriculum included an entire semester where we had to do all our projects free-hand. No t-square, no compass, no protractor; just by hand and eye. The intention was to develop our ability to observe and judge scale, angles, dimensions etc….
    I remember someone asking the teacher about how computers, which were just beginning to really take hold, might affect how this type of drawing would be done in the future. His answer: computers will never be used for technical drawing/architecture because they can’t draw curves. Ha! So much for that eh? I would have loved to go back and have a conversation with him 10 or 15 years later 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joey says:

    I agree with you. I could write so much about this, and maybe I will some other day, but I must say, from the daughter of draftsmen, artist, and printer… I am amazed at how many people cannot draw a basic scene by their own hand but who design things with tech. Bleh. And maybe that makes me old, or snobby, or whatever, but to me, it’s a sham.
    But see, I can relate completely to what you’ve written about writers who don’t know the basics as well.
    I can remember at college, all the kids with sketchpads. College of Architecture and Planning — landscape architecture kids were some of my favorite people then. I’d see their work on paper and be engaged. Now it’s iPads and that is not the same. Flat and soulless come to mind.


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