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The dialogue regarding the pros and cons of hand vs. computer drawing continues between architects and younger designers.  Years ago, interns were required to perfect their drawing techniques involving “the dirtying of hands, a dialogue with pencil and paper”.  The relationship between the pen/pencil/hand and the brain can’t be replaced by the computer.  Creating something by hand is a “multi-dimensional, demanding process, from concept to execution”.  Pencils only need re-sharpening.

CAD and 3D modeling has its advantages, especially in drawing production.  Modifications are completed much faster and efficiently.  Duplication of standard details and background plans are easily and efficiently created.  However, it is also much easier to repeat errors with the “copy and paste” command.  Another advantage is that the entire time can access all the drawings at any time.  It is typically cheaper and environmentally friendly.  3D tools are helpful in resolving design issues and generating elements that are impossible in the real world.  Documents can be reproduced with ease and in any scale or format pending the customer’s wishes.

Michael Graves and Juhani Pallasmaa make strong cases for the continued role of hand drawing, not only in the practice of architecture, but in the teaching of architectural courses as well.  It seems that an ever-increasing number of graduates are unable to converse, explain or capture an idea with pencil in hand and they may have only one semester in manual drafting and many have none.   “Teaching the methodology of line drawing with the lead holder strengthens the understanding of placing that same line on the computer screen”.  Hand drawing will always have its place.  The 2012 Pritzker Prize 37th winner, Wang Shu, stated that he doesn’t use the computer, just a pencil.

Great architects have the ability to concisely communicate their vision, whether pencils or computers are utilized as their tools.  It is not the tools that makes the architect but it is his/her mind… as tools become extinct.  “Artistic creation is inherent to individual talent and not dependent upon the medium.”

See if you still remember the old tools of the trade by matching the image to the product:

  1. 1 Trace paper
  2. 2 Vellum
  3. 3 Keuffel and Esser (K&E)
  4. 4Staedtler Mars
  5. 5 Ink pens
  6. 6 Rapidographs Drafting pens
  7. 7 Mayline Parallel Rule
  8. 8 Adjustable triangle
  9. 9 Protractor
  10. 10 French & flexible curves
  11. 11 Triangles
  12. 12 Dusting brush
  13. 13 Compass set
  14. 14 Erasing shield
  15. 15 Sand paper
  16. 16 Plastic templates
  17. 17 Lead
  18. 18 Scales
  19. 19 T-square
  20. 20 K&E Leroy set
  21. 21 Kneaded rubber
  22. 22 Pencil sharpener
  23. 23 Chartpak letters and graphic tape
  24. 24 Drafting Dots
  25. 25 Drafting cleaning bag
  26. 26 Lettering Guide
  27. 27 Tool Box




  1. 1. X
  2. 2. I 
  3. 3. A
  4. 4. K
  5. 5. T
  6. 6. B
  7. 7. F
  8. 8. W
  9. 9. BB
  10. 10. J
  11. 11. AA
  12. 12. N
  13. 13. Q
  14. 14. L
  15. 15. H
  16. 16. P
  17. 17. CC
  18. 18. G
  19. 19. E
  20. 20. M
  21. 21. X
  22. 22. C
  23. 23. D
  24. 24. Y
  25. 25. U
  26. 26. V
  27. 27. O