The Importance of Sketches as a Form of Representation

  • 08:00 - 10 March, 2016
  • by Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
  • Translated by Matthew Valletta
The Importance of Sketches as a Form of Representation, Drawing by Le Corbusier of the interior of Villa Besnus, from his room habitación.. Image © The villas of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret (1920-1930)
Drawing by Le Corbusier of the interior of Villa Besnus, from his room habitación.. Image © The villas of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret (1920-1930)

Sketches are analog tools of representation, where the drawings' imperfections come from the artist, skewed by their way of seeing the world. Academia, especially in architecture, often calls for quick drawings to demonstrate ideas that words can’t describe, and constant practice on everyday items like napkins, the backs of notebooks or loose sheets of paper preserves ideas and makes way for the use of journals. Journals can be used to remember design processes or journeys and for learning. I have included a selection of my drawings from trips at the end of this article, in order to encourage readers to practice this method.

Expressing an idea is something anyone can do, whether it's through drawings, words or creating figures. The hands are often used as a mediator between thought and reality: "... drawing is where thought has a direct relationship with action, with your hand, with the experience of your body."

Beginning of the abtraction of an object in 3 steps. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo Interior of the Alworth de Marcel Breuer house. Chimney highlighted with textures. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo Basilica of Santa Maria Novella / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo Florence Cathedral (Duomo) / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo +15

Beginning of the abtraction of an object in 3 steps. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
Beginning of the abtraction of an object in 3 steps. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo

Drawing is one method of artistic representation and seen by some as a practice for "virtuosos." However, drawing has stopped seeking to be an imitation of reality, and has instead become a unique form of expression to find the essence of things, what our eyes don’t see.

Despite the agility present in the moment of their creation, sketches require the observer’s attention and forethought to accompany the stroke as the drawing materializes, focusing on the details as well as the possibility to emphasize or hide certain elements. The intensity of the lines are made through the pressure on the paper, strong when closer or lighter when further away. [1]

Interior of the Alworth de Marcel Breuer house. Chimney highlighted with textures. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
Interior of the Alworth de Marcel Breuer house. Chimney highlighted with textures. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo

Start the representation of an object from scratch, recognizing its characteristic morphology or concept and maintaining it, while at the same time stripping away the shadows and excess elements. It is a reciprocal process where details isolated at the beginning of the drawing return at the end to give importance to where we want to focus the attention and what we want to put a greater emphasis on.

Our hands, as Martin Heidegger proposes, are organs for thinking. When they are not working in order to know or learn, they are thinking. Drawing, building models, sketching... is a matter of “doing” that turns into a way of “thinking” where hands and ideas are joined together.[2]

Therefore, the abstraction process in sketching is the result of the hand and mind complementing each other; using past experience to decant the elements and start creating. [3]

Colosseum / Rome. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
Colosseum / Rome. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo

The first steps in sketching should begin in one’s immediate environment with everyday objects and gradually become more complex when several of the objects manage to form a space or landscape. In addition to practicing, improvements in the final result are also the product of the inspiration that comes from the object of analysis. An empathy that allows, like any artistic practice, the portrayal of beauty through personal feelings.

In the gallery section of this article, I present a travel journal where the drawing is an observation, and this calls for a little time, tranquility, and less effort. It is a human perspective to interpret architectural work on paper. It is to get to know an essence, in this case of something, not someone; and try to strip it of its possible nooks and crannies, complexities and saturations, to give it a moment to relax, clean it up a bit and make it more abstract. Then you understand it and can internalize it.

Florence Cathedral (Duomo) / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
Florence Cathedral (Duomo) / Florence. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo

Each sketch has been the result of a personal journey to feel some color in the sound of people walking, laughter, wind and the music of the plazas, which welcomed me in places around in the world. That's also how drawings begin, anywhere on the paper. Encounters with iconic architecture throughout history, filtering them within the creative process as a form of personal expression ... sharing myself with others, with you.

Notes

[1] María Isabel Alba Dorado, Manos que piensan. Reflexiones acerca del proceso creativo del proyecto de arquitectura, 2013, p. 200
[2] Íbid., p. 199
[3] Íbid., p. 201

Parlament / Budapest. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo
Parlament / Budapest. Image © Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo

Quotes

Orlando Campos Reyes. Conferencia final del Salón de octubre 2014 en la Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Medellín.

References

María Isabel Alba Dorado, Manos que piensan. Reflexiones acerca del proceso creativo del proyecto de arquitectura, Valencia, 2013.

Sebastián Bayona Jaramillo is an architecture student at the National University of Colombia (Manizales) and author of the exhibition: "La piel y los sentidos" (The skin and senses) and " Bitácora"(Journal). For three semesters he has participated in the implementation of sketches as the subject expression "Mano alzada"(Freehand) dedicated to students of first semester at the same university.

Cite: Bayona Jaramillo, Sebastián. "The Importance of Sketches as a Form of Representation" [El croquis como método de representación esencial ] 10 Mar 2016. ArchDaily. (Trans. Valletta, Matthew) Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/783294/sketches-as-methods-of-essential-representation/>