How to Develop Your Own Architectural Drawing Style By First Mastering The Fundamentals


And this week’s question…

“Hi Michael, this is Amir from Birmingham.

Right mate I’d like to first congratulate you, you website is by far the best thing I’ve found on hand rendered architectural drawings on the internet. I’m in my final year at uni over here and after reading your book and applying some of the tips things are just GREAT.

 From a struggling student not getting past a C minus, I’ve landed a couple of solid B pluses and an A minus for my final portfolio submission. Sick man! Your advice is spot on and just works wonders for my drawings, presentations and designs.

Now for the question.

 I know you keep saying how important line drawing is when sketching and drawing architecture. But  I feel I am passed all of that you know -I’ve recently started doing less of the constructing perspectives and ignoring that bit about correctly constructed shadows and the horizon line rule.

Thought I’d give myself some artistic freedom to develop my own drawing style because let’s face it, all us architects want their own artistic self to shine through. So I imagine getting my own individual drawing style is key to getting there!

Any thoughts on how to develop my own architectural graphics style? Cheers!”

Thanks Amir for the kind words, glad the book worked for you and you’ve started getting really good results.

I can tell you’re really passionate about drawing and that can mean only good things coming your way in regards to architecture.

Your email reminds me of what one of my mentors used to say.

“First you do it my way, then you do it your way”

What my old master wanted to say is you first need to get the basics 100% right and then move on and start working on your own drawing style.

So by getting the basics right I mean just what you said you want to start ignoring: construction lines, correct perspective, horizon line and everything.

This might come as a shock to you but you won’t be able to make any progress in developing your own drawing style if you start messing up the basics – your drawing style will progressively get worse.


Consider developing your style only after six months of getting a strong foundation in drawing (even if you’ve started off from zero).

But keep in mind that getting your own drawing style is about doing the right stuff first, and then combining the basics in more advanced concepts and ideas… sort of like how learning architecture works.

What are the basics?

Perspective, line drawing, basic hatching, basic composition, basic color composition…

Only after getting the basics down, start experimenting in your drawings – go for a different type of hatching or line drawing, try different types of composition.

Drawing (2)Only after getting the basics down, start experimenting in your drawings – go for a different type of hatching or line drawing, try different types of composition. 

This eventually will build up into a coherent visual vocabulary…

And after all of this is out of the way, decide to experiment with you own ideas on how things should be.

For example, change the type of foreground and background you use for your visuals…

Now that you got the basics sorted you can copy one of the visuals from your favorite architects out there…

By having a solid grasp on these basic elements you can actually visually understand and break down more advanced and subtle elements which you were unaware of previously.

See the difference in approach?

Structure And Foundation Are Key… Then Experimenting And Innovating Come As A Bonus.

Apply the tips and shoot me an email with your first own style drawing!

If you’re reading this and considering developing your own style of doing drawing an design, then you should go and download a copy of my book.

Chapter 8 details everything you need to know on experimenting with different media, and developing your own drawing style.

Go and download a copy of my book here.

Disclaimer: Results will vary, and you should not use this information as a substitute for getting formal architectural education. Good luck! ©2008-2017 Architectural Graphics Ltd, All Rights Reserved. "Freehand Architecture" and "Advanced Drawing And Design" are trademarks used by Architectural Graphics Ltd.

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