The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Stephanie Travis' book Sketching for Architecture & Interior Design. The book features over 45 sketching and drawing exercises across three chapters (Furniture + Lighting, Interiors, Architecture). Below we feature sample exercises for sketching transitional spaces, building materials and foreground + background. We're also giving away copies for two lucky readers, so read on to find out how to enter!
Drawing is truly a tool for seeing. To draw an object, interior, or building, you have to look at the subject in a new way. You are forced to pause and scrutinize, as drawing requires another way of thinking, shifting into a deeper realm that encompasses elements such as shape, form, texture, rhythm, composition, and light. When you have developed your drawing skills, the finer details of a space—key features that you may not previously have noticed—will be revealed to you. Freehand drawing allows viewers to see in a way they never have before. The sketching process is a means of expanding your creativity and awakening your senses.
The consistent thread throughout this book are my freehand sketches, shown as a series of steps to demonstrate the underlying concept—that an understanding of the process of creating meaningful sketches is more important than the end drawing itself.
The cumulative process of sketching always begins with studying the subject, whether it be a chair, an interior, or an entire building. It is about drawing what you see, not what you think you see, or what you already know as a chair, interior, or building. Think of it as seeing the subject for the first time. Each exercise illustrates a different facet of this concept of seeing. As you move through the steps of each exercise, you will explore each subject in a new way, gaining the experience and confidence to create expressive, thoughtful sketches that convey your personal interpretation of the subject.
Each exercise within the three sections incorporates many sketches for reference, with examples of modern designs of furniture and lighting, interiors, and architecture by significant modern and contemporary designers and architects. The name of the object, interior space, or building; the architect or designer; the year of design or completion; and the location of the interior or building are provided at the end of each exercise. You will select your own furniture and lighting, interiors, or buildings to sketch. Subjects may be viewed in three dimensions (from life) or two dimensions (from photographs, periodicals, etc.). What is important is to select subjects that you find challenging and inspiring.
The example sketches were all drawn in ink, and I suggest that you also use ink, at least at first—this forces you to study carefully the subject you are drawing, knowing that any mistakes cannot simply be erased. These exercises are just a starting point. To develop your practice further, you can repeat them with more complex, detailed objects and using different media (e.g. graphite/pencil, charcoal, etc.). But, whether you use ink, pencil, or a combination of both, the exercises provide a methodology for studying your subject and drawing what you see. It is not about laboriously crafting perfect technical drawings.