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Poll results: learning to draw vs learning to plot

Voters
31. You may not vote on this poll
  • Draw - nothing like an AD Marker high

    7 22.58%
  • Get with the 21st century, honey - CAD/GIS all the way, no ink on my hands

    4 12.90%
  • Draw? CAD? hey, I'm in Econ Dev't, ya think I care?

    1 3.23%
  • students should learn both

    14 45.16%
  • other, more snappy answer

    5 16.13%
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Thread: Planning/design students - is learning to draw by hand necessary?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Planning/design students - is learning to draw by hand necessary?

    Many think the art of drawing is lost on the use of GIS and CAD programs - that people won't be able to do a quick sketch without a plotter nearby -

    there are some that believe by not drawing, it disturbs the left brain- right brain capabilities important to design and planning practice

    others think that technology is here to stay and we need ensure graduates are proficient in the computer assisted drawing techniques

    what say you?

    by the answer draw, I mean, learn to draw first, then CAD
    Last edited by luckless pedestrian; 18 Oct 2007 at 5:23 PM. Reason: explain answer choice

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    CAD/GIS is great but nothing beats learning to draw first. Besides, there are times when you don't have those techie tools available and need to make a graphic point or two. It's just damn embarrassing to have the drawing ability of a 4-5-6 year-old kid.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Old School - learned to draw by hand in Landscape Architecture and Cartography classes in Geography.

    Layout and design in GIS is so much easier with that background.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Yes. As the old proverb says, "you must learn to crawl before you can walk..."

    Ha. I havent taken a design class in several years, but I remember my first design class when our "crazy" prof. made us draw by hand, everyone was so upset saying, "it is the 21st c. why are we not using computers?!!!"

    ...well, because we really learned the "nuts and bolts" of the design when we did it by hand and then those who went on to use computer programs later in advanced classes were so much stronger, because we understood the "strings" behind the "smoke and mirrors."

    plus, when you have that "skill" you can freehand in a meeting and better yet, understand what someone else it drawing when they freehand.

    BTW: How's that for speaking in old sayings?!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I avoid design classes like the plague and my concentration is economic development. I can't even draw a straight line much less figure out how things should fit together in a 3D manner.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    I had classes in both, but soon all training and most work was in CAD. I envy my older colleague's abilities for hand drawing, and especially clean and straight lettering.

    I love to look at old technical drawing textbooks, preferably pre-1900, just to enjoy the clean examples and detailing.

    One of the Washington DC museums, I think the National Building Museum (natch), had in 1998ish an exhibit of old engineering drawings. They can be quite amazing in pencil or ink, and positive works of art when embellished with color as was often done.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Both.....

    While I really like technology sometimes......you should at least have the basics of drawing also

    I can't tell you how many times a week I have to draw something at the counter or for an elected official.....very glad to have at least the basics.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Should be proficient in both. Drawing by hand will also help you understand line weights, line widths, dimensioning, and fonts at various paper sizes and scales.

    I can't tell you how many times quickly sketching a perspective, plan, or elevation has helped me communicate my thoughts (can't do that fast enough with a computer). I don't think this will die out. There also a demand for hand rendering: computers are not sophisticated enough to duplicate the textures and light-qualities from markers, pencils, inks, pastels, air brushing, and oils.

    On the otherhand hand drafting on vellum, mylar, or blueprints(beyond the conceptual stage) is a dying breed (same for non-computerized modeling). I have had very few clients who needed something to be drafted by hand, and usually it was because the lines stood out more when rendered with mixed media.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Learn to draft, and especially sketch close to a scaled image. Leave the CAD for the engineers. If you can't sketch or draft it by hand they can't put it on the computer. Plus, how many lunch meetings are you at and oh, you don't have your laptop or desktop computer, so many good ideas were started on a napkin or pad.
    @GigCityPlanner

  10. #10
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    You should at least have some freehand drawing skills. It's similar to being able to do division on a calculator, but not being able to do it on paper.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
    - Metallica

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    A non-planner chimes in.....

    Technology is wonderful. Technology will do things for you that are amazing. Technology will produce final results that are now the rule rather than the exception.

    But, keep those hand-drawing and drafting skills honed.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    When I taught drafting they started with hand drawing. The next semester was Autocad and the next semester after that, Inventor (3D).
    Navy collier
    USS Cyclops

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    That is one of the downfalls with technology. Sometimes it makes things too easy and when the technology is not available, the person with the pen and scale is the one they call. I think that learning both is absolutely important. When I was in college, I made sure to get an Art and Design Minor after realizing that knowing how to write the document and draw the pictures would be very valuable resources to have.

    Sometimes when your sitting at a meeting, it is wonderful to be able to do up a quick sketch of a streetscape, a traffic pattern, or some other visual element that could be the deciding factor on how someone votes, if your firm gets the bid, or more so if the information is conveyed and understood.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post

    Sometimes when your sitting at a meeting, it is wonderful to be able to do up a quick sketch of a streetscape, a traffic pattern, or some other visual element that could be the deciding factor on how someone votes, if your firm gets the bid, or more so if the information is conveyed and understood.

    I couldn't agree with this more! Where I've found it to be a great tool is when I need to sketch out a concept plan on the fly in front of a big crowd at a Comprehensive Plan meeting, where people may not be able to visualize what you are saying. It also looks VERY good to elected officials to see staff crank out an idea on the fly with pencil/markers and paper. I think I'll break out the pencils or markers the next time I need to convey a design, instead of spending time on the computer.....my eyes need a break
    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I think hand drawing is really important. it helps you learn the importance of line weight, composition and colour selection. It also helps to be able to quickly sketch things on a sheet of paper to show people what you mean.

    I have had CAD/GIS guys, who are brillant programmers/dataset composers, but their maps looked rotten because they did not know anything about graphics.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    show both CAD/modeled work and hand-drawn/rendered work

    I had a rather amusing but somewhat pathetic conversation at an interview at an urban design firm last week.. one of the interviewers took a look at my portfolio and said, "You have good CAD and 3d modelling skills and you chose to emphasize them in your portfolio; therefore I take it that you don't know how to work by hand" (and it was clear this wasn't some sort of response-test on his part). I wanted to say, "huh?", to that bit of illogic. What's worse, I had plenty of hand-drawings in the portfolio and many images contained elements of both, photoshop-collaged together.. I just didn't emphasize them, because I figured they wanted to see the flashy stuff. He then proceeded to make it clear that he had some sort of weird conceptual schema whereby he categorized people as 'computer' or 'hand' drawn, and exclusively one or the other, and I got the sense that he was a bit threatened by what he perceived to be the relentless march of technology he's been seeing in work samples. So I guess to avoid that trap, I'd suggest including both in a portfolio, in roughly equal measure.. dunno. It was kind of strange.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 21 Oct 2007 at 7:30 AM.

  17. #17
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    As a current student. I'd have to say CAD/GIS can work together to create impressive work. Hand drawing is definately cumbersome but I think it's a building block to make us better understand CAD/GIS.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by alex1 View post
    As a current student. I'd have to say CAD/GIS can work together to create impressive work. Hand drawing is definately cumbersome but I think it's a building block to make us better understand CAD/GIS.
    okay this quote makes me feel old - sigh - it's like saying a slide rule before the calculator ( um, and I can use a slide rule, can anyone else?)

    but it's okay, it's okay - it is what it is - but please students, take drawing classes!!!!!

  19. #19
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    Just wanted to know of other computer programs available to help planners. So far I know of;
    AutoCad, Google Sketchup, and Arcmap GIS.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    I've used the following for planning/design/GIS projects, depending on the tasks needed:

    Autodesk Land Desktop (works better than CAD when working onsite design).
    Photoshop/Photoshop Elements (especially the photomerge option for aerial imagery)
    Illustrator
    InDesign and PageMaker
    SPSS
    Microsoft Live Search (good bird's eye view aerials)
    MWSnap (small freeware screen capture software).

    To a lesser degree:
    GPS: Leica and Trimble
    MapInfo
    Microsoft Project
    Revit
    Flash
    Viz

  21. #21
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    The motorcycle song

    Unrelated to this thread but I saw the quote at the end of your post. Have you seen GI Joe Motorcycle? They use that song. ie.youtube.com/watch?v=PUyWJ-2j4j0

  22. #22
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    Nice Post. I like how you mentioned what you used the program for.
    I recently used Autocad 2008 and Photoshop CS3 to create the site redevelopment pictured below. Comments on the plan are welcomed. I'm currently a student and am always on the lookout for computer programs to help with planning studio projects. Would be great if some members can post up some of their work to show what these programs are capable of.

    (Click to enlarge)



    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I've used the following for planning/design/GIS projects, depending on the tasks needed:

    Autodesk Land Desktop (works better than CAD when working onsite design).
    Photoshop/Photoshop Elements (especially the photomerge option for aerial imagery)
    Illustrator
    InDesign and PageMaker
    SPSS
    Microsoft Live Search (good bird's eye view aerials)
    MWSnap (small freeware screen capture software).

    To a lesser degree:
    GPS: Leica and Trimble
    MapInfo
    Microsoft Project
    Revit
    Flash
    Viz

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I don't want this to sound harsh. I have done critiques as a guest speaking for a few design courses for some of my favorite professors at my alma mater. First two things i noticed right out the shoot: Color and scale. Your scale is in meters, which is fine if your an international student and your measurment system is in meters, but please, and this goes to all students when it comes to projects unless they are a large city wide project, make sure that your scale is one that you can actually whip out a scale and measure with. I can't stand it, espeically municipalities that give us maps for their projects that are 1"=1,450' or some other random number. To be a good designer you need to learn the proper scale, especially when it comes nitty gritty design elements in the urban landscape. This looks like a small neighborhood design, so i would have used a scale roughly around 1"=200' or 1"=400 feet.

    Second, color. Use traditional APA colors. Residential are red, commercial red, parks and open space green, public facilities blue, and industrials grey. Office parks and mixed use have a little leway between greys and purples, but that is about it. The higher the intensity the use is, the darker the color should get. Learn it and stick with it.

    The buildings look a little out of proportion, but that is a different topic.

    As for the photoshop job, it looks okay, but there are definitely some techniques you can use to soften the color in photoshop and add some "pop" to it so that the land use colors stand out, and not to mention gives your drawing a more "hand drawn look." PM and i can give you the exact command. good luck.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Alex1: looks nice! But remember - a basketball court is 94 feet long, and a baseball diamond is 90 feet between bases.

    So there will need to be a lot more room for the field if that's what's going in there.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Residential are red
    That should be yellowish. Sorry i am color blind.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

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