The black sheep of all architectural drawing has got to be technical drawing…
I mean.. everybody loves drawing perspectives, sketches… you know… the creative, interesting and graphical part of architectural drawing.
But what about the other side of drawing… the technical, logical, rational part?
It might not be as sexy as freehand drawing, but it is 100% as important…
If you don’t know proper technical drawing it will show in your work… your perspectives will look ‘less smart’, you designs will lack consistency, you perspectives will look badly proportioned.
So in order to make technical drawing look less cold and rational and more friendly and approachable…
I’m throwing in the best 20 technical drawing tips I’ve come across..
These 20 technical drawing tips will destroy all preconceived notions you have against technical drawing and will help you befriend the beast (and also get A LOT better at drawing all technical drawings: axonometrics, sections, plans, even descriptive geometry)
So sit back, relax, get a pen and paper to take notes… here’s the 20 top tips for technical drawing.
1. Start seeing technical drawing as important as freehand drawing.
The natural tendency is to completely ignore technical drawing… I suggest you see it for what it is and start allocating several hours per week to get better at it! You get better at technical = you get better at your overall drawing and design skill.
2. Always clean your triangles and drawing board – just to keep the smudging to a minimum.
A big turn-off for your technical drawing skills is you smudging the sheet and making your drawings look messy and clumsy… you can easily avoid that by always cleaning your triangles.
3. Cover your triangles in paper scotch tape – that is going to reduce smudging as well.
The paper scotch tape will take most grime off your drawing sheet… just remember to change it from time to time. This technique works very well with technical #2.
4. Construct your technical drawings using an HB pencil.
HB gives enough clarity but keeps smudging to a minimum… use that to your advantage! You can harden the construction lines later using a softer pencil (2B+)
5. See the virtue in patience – don’t lose your cool when faced with challenging technical drawings.
Technical drawing is famous for being a brain twister… just accept that right up front (trust me, that’s going to save you a lot of hassle and heartache later on). And you will have to do this for a while… until you get used to it.
6. Start seeing the beauty in descriptive geometry… and practice descriptive geometry each and every day.
Descriptive Geometry is notorious for being the hardest of all technical drawing… but don’t worry, you 100% can understand it with enough practice. Constant practice will get you past descriptive geometry the quickest.
7. Commit to becoming excellent at technical drawings… to the level where you’re able to outsource any part of your designs to drawing them on a drafting board.
This is a stage in itself, once you cross this mental bridge, you will start being less tense about technical drawing and actually start enjoying it!
8. Get a proper A2-A1-A0 drafting board… stop it with the small A4-A3 drawings.
Do you remember the stereotypical image of the architect working in front of a drafting board? Guess what… you need to become like that.
Get the right drawing tools to draw large drawings… on a proper -sized drafting board.
9. Do a 30-day technical drawing challenge… (yes, no excuses)
Chip away at technical drawing every day for 30 days in a row… your progress will be immense! It might get frustrating after day #17… don’t lose faith!
10. Use dotted lines to show the back edges of your drawings.
This way you keep your work tidy and clean… and as a bonus you make it look smart and ellegant as well. Different line types add different type of info to your work… that in turn LOOKS GOOD.
11. Understand the principles and thinking behind sections.
Understanding sections is 90% about developing your 3D vision… again, this will make more sense as you practice it.
The first step is you understanding how to correctly draw sections.
12. Know at least three different types of axonometrics.
There are several types of axonometrics out there which show the same volume in slightly different angles. I’ve prepared a video for you here, so you can get started with drawing different types of axis asap.
13. Know what a dodecahedron is and how to draw it in triple projection and axo.
There are several ‘simple’ volumes out there that you need to now how to draw… the dodecahedron is the most approacheable of the lot. Start with a triple projection, then axonometric.
14. Master triple projections.
A triple projection shows a volume from a frontal, top and side view. If you’ve used any computer software, you already are familiar with these concepts from the front, top and side viewport.
If you know how to draw the volume line by line, then you’re much more better off.
15. Learn to solve 100 Descriptive Geometry Problems
You want to become smarter, more disciplined and faster in your thinking as an architect or designer?
Try the ‘100 descriptive geometry problems’ challenge and talk after that ; )
16. Learn to draw custom ellipses in al ltyeps of axonometric.
Ellipses are notoriously hard to draw in a normal axonometrics… so drawing custom ones will get you better and better.
17. Develop a passion for solving any descriptive geometry problem you come across.
Most architects just run away from descriptive geometry (don’t believe me – try asking them to draw a simple dodecahedron sitting on it’s spatial diagonal).
You need to do what everyones else isn’t doing and become genuinely passionate about all of this.
It is on drawing a complex axonometric in multiple coordinate systems and will probably melt your brain (it is the most difficult lesson from my beginner course on architectural technical drawing)
18. Know how to draw all the standard primitives: cube, pyramid, cylinder, cone, tetrahedron etc
Obviously drawing them in triple projection and different types of axos is the best thing out there…
How do yo start with that? Just pick a standard cube let’s say… with the length of 4 cm.
Go draw a triple projection and 3 different axo’s of it… then move on.
19. Know how to draw all standard geometrical shapes – square, circle, pentagon, hexagon
A bit of planar geometry to get you started – you will use this later for facade and planar studies…
Also as a tip – multiple types of geometry will help you get proportions right for all your designs.
20. Ink all your best drawings – be them sections, technical details, artistic axonometrics etc.
Well, your best drawing need to stay the same no matter what, so inking them (tracing over them with a liner instead of just leaving them in standard pencil) is the best option out there.
So now that you know this… how could you apply these tips to get better results with your architectural drawing?
To get started asap with technical drawing and get consistent results I recommend you get my course on technical drawing called ‘Technical Drawing 101’ – it is going to get you from complete noobie with zero spatial vision to being able to draw complex axonometrics, cast shadows and various other architectural technical drawings.