The Changing Role Of Hand Drawn Illustrations

23 Apr 2015

The use of hand drawn architectural illustration is a valid option in the illustration of project designs.

These days it is a choice amongst many others. There is always a value to providing a human touch to digital media. With the predominance of digital rendering, what was once a core skill of the industry is now an additional service, an affectation of style and romance.

Historically, such a process as hand rendering would have been absolutely necessary and fundamental to the design process. The principle reason that it was supplanted was that automation and synthetic rendering provides a less expensive choice and added realism, within the tightest time constraints.


The Changing Role Of Hand Drawn Illustrations


Pen And Ink Versus Pixel And Algorithm

There is a strong argument that a hand drawn rendering has more character, even if there is no quantifiable difference from a computer-based rendering. Something in an image that has been interpreted and rendered by hand captures the imagination in a way that the sterile output of a digital file does not.

Drafting was once a tedious process that required technical precision, outstanding hand to eye coordination as well as years of training. And patience. The fundamental process is now completely automated. There is still intense skill and effort involved but much more capacity is available for a given cost.


Maintaining A Hand Drawn Façade

The loss of drafting skills is only a change in the patterns of labour and employment. Architects may rely less upon such physical skills but if required it can either be pulled from the professional toolbox of artistic skills or subcontracted to a specialist.

If you wish to have hand drawn artwork for your project you can still easily do so. The change is in the work that you do not see. The structural rendering that determines form and materials and the loads experienced in a given form. This work was once performed manually and at high cost. Now, technicians with computers render this portion of a project quickly and economically.

The renderings of digital software provide something that looks realistic. The understanding of materials and textures and the interplay of light ensure hyperrealism. This is particularly true of the rendering of interior spaces. It has long been a practice to render interiors digitally rather than making up staged model interiors that require greater cost in time and labour. The result is so subtle and realistic that the audience almost never thinks to question it.


A Retro-Future Nostalgic Theme

When you choose to have your illustrations created the old fashioned way you are making a statement that evokes mood and context. You call upon associations with past eras and less complex times. Alternatively the use of hand drawn illustrations can be used to evoke the retro-future concepts of the 1960s and 1970s, a time when the future held mystery and promise, with a tinge of inevitability.

The commission of hand drawn architectural renderings can make a tremendous impact on your audience. It might be the feature that facilitates the emotional attachment and excitement. It could win approval and consensus, which brings your project to life. The changes of methods of production do impact the default in rendering but hopefully the art of drawing will remain in practice enough to provide the service when it is desired.


Staff Contribution | Thought Leadership

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