9th September 2019

‘Back to the drawing board’

     By Hannah Parfitt, Interior Designer at Chalk 


When ‘Back to the drawing board’ becomes quite literal

As architects and designers, we spend a lot of our time on the computer, we do technical drawings on CAD and create 3d models on the computer. For an old career, we are a long way past giant scrolls of paper, set squares, scale rulers and a collection of different weights of pens and pencils. Photos from old architecture studios showing production lines of drawing boards look alien from studios today. At university we learnt this way, the equipment above was in my ‘essential kit list’ needed for my course, but it doesn’t translate into work today – and there aren’t enough rubbers in the world to change drawings the amount of times I do.

Although the way we draw now is so much more efficient there is a charm to hand drawing, it is an important part of how we work from quick idea sketches through to drawings we would show to our clients. At Chalk drawing by hand is something we do often, but in the early stages of projects. We work on projects in teams and scrawling out ideas on paper is a fun and productive way to generate ideas, there is also something almost therapeutic about removing yourself from the computer and drawing out ideas by hand.

I find the benefit of hand drawing when you have a design problem that you don’t quite know how to solve; that moment you notice you have been staring at the screen for too long and you realise you have deleted more options than you have created, that literal ‘back to the drawing board’ moment. With paper and a pen you can’t press ‘delete’ or talk yourself out of ideas before you properly generate them and you end up with variations to go back over and discuss. I had my sketch-up-nightmare of curves on curves and couldn’t quite get my head around how to model what I was imagining. It took layers of tracing paper but as we were thinking about everything in that little bit more detail we came up with more intricate designs that we couldn’t model on the computer.

When it comes to 3d visualising we have found it more successful to start these from a sketch, the hand drawn element reflects a hand-crafted design.