Sketch like an Architect (Techniques + Tips from a Real Project)

Hey, Eric here with 30 by 40 Design Workshop,
we’re in my kitchen here in the Longhouse we’re gonna head into the studio in a minute
and we’re going to be talking about some quick tips to help you improve your architectural
sketching technique so whether you’re a student or a pro or you’re just curious as to how
architects sketch I think you’ll find this video useful. But first I have a favor to ask of you. So I just started a new project and that project
is going to involve you, if you want to be a part of this project I need you to click
the link up in the card here or down below in the description so you can learn more about
how you can help, how you can join and be a part of this whole thing. It’ll help me to make sure that what I’m making
is tailored just to you. It won’t take more than three minutes of your
time – so super quick – and I’d be most appreciative for your help. Alright, so let’s get out into the studio. I find I’m just most happy with my sketches
when I’ve simplified everything and that includes the tools that I use my tool set. So limit yourself to just a few things when
you’re just getting started and that’ll allow you to focus on what’s really important. I think even when you’ve discovered what you’re
sketching style is it’s okay to switch it up from time to time but more on that in just
a minute. Sketching – at least for me – isn’t about
producing a finished rendering. It’s nice to think about it that way because
it takes the pressure off of having to make something truly amazing. For me it’s more about hunting for ideas it’s
visual thinking not a final presentation. By starting small it forces you to distill
your ideas to strong singular gestures and helps you discover what’s most important. And staying small also allows you to move
more quickly so you don’t kind of waste time trying to work out every last detail that’s
not what’s important here. And there is this pressure to produce something
that’s gonna fit in your highlight reel and I think social media forces us to think this
way that everything we put in our sketchbooks everything that comes out of our pen has to
be this amazing work of art and we’re used to seeing everyone else’s highlight reel. I would encourage you to sort of abandon that
idea and think about your sketchbook or your sketches that you’re iterating as just being
for your eyes only. You don’t have to share them with the whole
world and in fact you know it may allow you the freedom to better work overall. Your own personal sketching style will evolve
over time but architectural sketching is primarily about line work so your style is comprised
of the kinds of lines that you draw. So a couple of tips here when lines intersect
they should always overlap so overlapping corners yeah it’s imprecise but it helps you
to actually move more quickly and it actually looks more finished than carefully trying
to line up every corner perfectly. So just how much they overlap it’s kind of
up to you and it also depends on how large you’re drawing so experiment with it see
what looks right to you. Now when you’re drawing lines try to use single
continuous confident strokes. I think a lot of people start by drawing short
series of dashes to try and get from one point to another but it’s one single line and it’s
okay if it wavers just you want to go with it, that’s kind of part of the architectural
style too is to have a little bit of waver to it, it actually helps you draw a straighter
line in the end. Learning to use directional hashmarks that’s
another important skill they can be used to suggest surfaces you can use them to build
textures you’ll use them for shading and to just overall create depth in your drawing. Now one of the other hallmarks of the style
is the use of construction or layout lines and you can do these either in like a light
blue or like I do in pencil and you just kind of feather it really lightly on the page they’re
meant to guide your drawing and set proportions. So you can use these – if you’re looking at
sketching a building – use these to set the basic proportions and I’ll draw often draw
a rectangle or square and then put an “X” through it or a slash through it to kind of
set this proportional language and then once you start layering all these things on top
of each other you’re going to start drawing on top of your construction or layout lines
and that layering helps create this kind of loose sketchy aesthetic that I think typifies
architectural sketches. Now also be sure and use the full complement
of line types available to you. So solid lines obviously the different line
weights you want to use dashed lines to indicate surfaces that are above or below where you’re
drawing you want to use center lines so a center line would be like a line with a dot
in the middle of it and then another line section and another dot, dotted lines a whole
host so lots of options there. Again this layering of line types and line
weights helps to build this loose sketchy aesthetic. So adding text and arrows and things like
elevation marks these are all devices that help describe things that you may not be able
to capture visually. So you can’t fit everything into your sketch
they could possibly want to but they also start to become part of your visual style. You know one thing, if you’re having trouble
with your architectural lettering, one trick I’ve found is to just write smaller so go
smaller and smaller make it more and more precious. And also slow it down write very slowly it
has this kind of tidying effect to it and if you need to again use layout and construction
lines to set some line heights and then when I’m writing small I’ll make those guidelines
even smaller than what I’m writing and I’ll write the letter form a little larger and
that kind of helps tidy it as well give that a try. So I have this personal hang-up where if I
am sketching something and I don’t like how it’s coming out on the page it just breaks
any momentum that I’ve been building and maybe you’ve encountered this too. I think it’s much easier to reach a flow state
if I like what I’m producing and I can see that coming out on the page. So when I find myself in that situation where
what I’m drawing I’m just not happy with I like to change up the media that I’m using
or sometimes even the implements that I’m sketching with so if I’m using pen and ink
I’ll switch to colored pencils or graphite if I’m using a white paper I’ll change to
a Kraft paper or a dark grey paper something like that; toned paper. So when I switch it what happens is quite
often I’ll just find something starts to look fresh and nice on the page and it’s kind of
like this switch has been flicked. So I would say experiment with the tools and
media that you’re using if you’re stuck you may find certain ones just they just start
to unlock new ideas and this doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a whole new kit
of art supplies and you know you may just switch it up with a co-worker or a studio
mate or if you have kids like I do just you know raid their art supply stash. So practicing even if it’s just for 15 to
30 minutes a day it doesn’t have to be that long it’s the one thing that’s guaranteed
to improve your technique. And one way you can do this is to just build
a habit loop around it so for example if your first impulse is to check social media when
you have a free minute like many of us do – myself included – you might replace that
urge with a sketching habit. So pick something in your immediate surroundings
and do say a 30-second sketch of it. It’s a good reason to always keep a sketchbook
nearby. And one last reminder to check the link in
the cards and the description to get directly involved in my new project and for more sketching
tutorials check out the playlist linked up here too. Until next time, cheers my friends.


  • Rx Lo10

    Excellent video 👍

  • Zaida Angelica Tomlinson Medina

    You are my inspiration, thank you so much for making this video.

  • mariane najem

    I really like this video and I just want to ask you that I will go to university next year to study architecture so I start to draw other people drawing so do you think is a good thing

  • Sketchbook mart

    You are awesome…..Very nice

  • jimbo baso

    I really love these kind of lecture it's kind of therapeutic. Hope move video about presentation and concept board for students sir ,

  • overlycreative1

    I'm happy that I've come to a point in my life that I get to do things because I want to not because I am forced to perform for renumeration. Thank you for your videos and all the hints and helps you provide. They have helped me enjoy these types of design drawing as a hobby. A love affair with a pen and paper, a few tools makes the days pass so well and with a rich enthusiam to be better. My father was a self taught design engineer and I have one granddaugther that is making her own name in art and achitectual design and another in fashion art by our encouragements. The future is bright and videos like your's brings in it own kind of sunlight into our lives. Thumbs up 11k!

  • rony keller

    why not on a ipad?

  • sketching architect

    Great to see you are using the same pen with me for black ink 🙂 I never saw an architect drawing with pilot as me before 🙂

  • Jolie Femrite

    Thank you for creating the videos you do! They are very helpful and provide a great base of information for a person to work off of. Please know that the effort you put into your videos is appreciated! Keep creating and sharing!

  • rooroo1982

    If you're not doing part time tutoring at university already, you should definitely consider it in the future. You explain, teach and draw so well. It's inspiring.

  • Madis Põldsaar


  • beyza uysal


  • I Rock

    Can you make a video showing how to incorporate the insulation, drainage, etc into a design.

  • Expectro

    Please create a instagram. So we can see your sketches and 1 min video's. This is awesome.

  • Dian Wahyu Bima Kuncara

    Thankyou for sharing

  • Manthan Mandaliya

    what is called an architectural pencil and pen also?
    I mean when I`ll go for buy this pen so what should I call at stationary shop?😂
    please either reply or recommend any video.

  • giovanni JG9

    Which música is in the bakctrack of the video ?

  • mohammed al-olaywat

    I watch this for every project i start

  • Bento Box

    Really helpful sir….. Im only 16 and I do love drawing and design…. And do want to become an eng.

  • Bento Box

    The best tip that I like about what I heard…. dont make your drawings be something that is always perfect

  • Icewalker 220

    Even though this video is about architecture, this information can be used about drawing or sketching or other art forms. I feel like I'll try and do some architectural sketches sometime, it looks really fun! This video might make me rethink my entire drawing style.

  • Lone Digger

    what is the name of the pencil? URGENTLY

  • WiggersART

    3D Game Environment Artist here, this was more inspiring than anything I've seen lately. I realized how much i miss sketching IRL. Thank you 🙂

  • The commenter guy

    Aye man, thank you for making these videos. They’re invaluable for gaining insight into the profession.

  • Aaron D

    Wow this was amazing!

  • Le Rotoculteux

    I think that 3/4 of all those views are mine, watched this so many times…

  • Mike M

    I’d like to get into some architectural drafting and design courses at my local comm. college. I’m going to be 36 in May and can’t see myself going full blown into architecture schooling at this point, though I have a fascination with home/interior design and have a little experience from years ago with things like solid works for manufacturing. Is the CAD and drafting aspect of residential construction being taken on more and more by the architects themselves, these days? Or is it something in and of itself? Just wondering where a certificate or associates degree program like that would take me and if it would be worth while in regards to making a living, creativity and being involved With reputable architecture firms. Thanks in advance. – Mike

  • Elit

    Whats the name of the pencil at begining?

  • fahrenheit451

    Dude looks like younger Tom Waits!

  • Carmen Carcelen

    Amazing video’s. You are incredible everything works perfect in your video’s. The content, the set up, the muziek, your tempo, your enthousiasme, skills, your voice . I hope that you get lots of compliment everyday. I wish you all the succes in the world . Greetings from Holland.

  • Julian Cupo

    anyone know what kind of marker?

  • Nightcore&AMV _

    My dream to be architect is dead because in my place there's no architect course

  • Purnima Agarwal

    thanks for the nice tip of habit loop. 🙂

  • Hamid Raza

    At first I was wishing I had pens like you to draw better but now I know that its in the hands, not pens. <3 Thankyou for your videos <3

    Love form Pakistan.

  • Cynical Monastery (Cy Mo)

    the appreciation for the shining!!!!!! Nice touch


    What brand of finetech are you using?

  • Saaliha Thurzohra

    what does your "30X40 design workshop" title mean? by the way, your videos are awesome

  • Saaliha Thurzohra

    what does your "30X40 design workshop" title mean? by the way, your videos are awesome

  • Judith Gerard

    Awesome….coming from an interior designer. Thank you!

  • Edgar Schülein

    Good work, sir!

  • Ramon Renderos

    Hi Eric! Love the videos. I've really taken a liking to the tan paper sketches in your videos and others i've seen online. Could you create a video giving some tips for tan paper style sketching – with rendering markers and white highlights? Keep it up! Thanks 🙂

  • Chewee K

    as an engineer, i hate architects sketches

  • Glenn De Los Santos

    I have learned more about architecture from your videos than I have in my actual architecture class…thank you SO MUCH…

  • Tim Shipman

    It’s like yoga with a pencil. Great content and reassuring tone.

  • Wicket Cricket

    Thank you for the video, I realise im to harsh on myself, I always seek perfection when the real objective often is to get an idea out of my mind. To learn to accept that a concept/sketch is for me and me alone, will for sure bring back some confidence, and possible even bring back some more crazy concepts.

  • livir0x

    I aspire to go in the architecture field in the future, so this is really nice. I do a lot of drawing and stuff. This really helps improve my sketches.

  • Peanut B

    what you said in the beginning is so true , ive been trying to say but people nowadays want to glorify and show off their sketchbooks which is not the point of a sketchbook at all , its MEANT to be bad , its meant to be uncompleted , its not supposed to be made to show to others

  • Pentanox Digital Painting

    Thanks for showing your wonderful works! I love it all!!

  • banjo099

    It's like, in architecture school they don't teach and learn enough the making of simply blueprints. They just concentrate on large projects and making cardboard models of buildings, which is not really in the subject. Architecture is about floor plans and decisive blueprint making, and not just being familiar about buildings and how they look like. The most important parts are missing. Architect is not a fashion designer.

  • rubberfresh 1

    Oh how fortunate i am to not have social media.

  • beegee22

    Great video and very nicely presented. It flows very nicely. Thanks!

  • Evon Evon

    What are the pens and markers you use?

  • David Hernandez

    Should have a more regular show update on YT!

  • Jubin Jerom

    What kind of marker you used for shading???

  • Huixtocihuatl

    In my life, my 2 biggest passions have always been economy and architecture. I chose to study in finance but I'm actually learning to draw in order to calm my creative instinct. Thank you for this video!

  • Lew

    Wow thanks man !

  • Jhon Ace De Galicia

    Thank you!

  • Twinkie

    Im only 13 and ive been drawing and painting since I was little. Everyone says I'm an amazing artist, and I have even sold some and am thinking about starting a business with my art. But, though people repeatedly tell me I'm good.. I don't see it. And then I found architecture drawing, and as an architecture lover, it really inspired me. I'm always coming up with building ideas in my mind, and now I can finally sketch them out without them looking like trash! Thank you!

  • roro roro

    Sketching with Roudaina

  • Mark Prinsen

    You should try to sell a few of your sketches as art pieces. I will defenitely buy some!

  • Atila Balint

    rarely do you get a video this precise and direct about something, thank you

  • Ridza mnto

    What type of marker does he use there?

  • Bensu Erdoğan

    this video make me a little bit sad but i don't know why , but great work! thanks for sharing.

  • Master Builders, LLC

    I’ve watched all your videos (I think) & actually bought several of your items. I thank you, as you know, no one teaches you these “learned lessons” it’s not easy hanging out your shingle on your own.

  • Peachy Potatoes

    My brother is making me take architecture so…


  • James Eli

    This presentation is extremely inspiring. The process photography and overlapping typography in your production work is gorgeous. This vignette is super helpful and very zen. Thank you for sharing your talent!

  • Hugo Botelho

    Thank you man! Incredible work what you do here in this channel!

  • Space X-periments

    Best Tip: Use Sharpie on butter paper

  • Jaime Otero

    hello Eric, do you have an e-mail for Q&A's? great videos. thanks.

  • cumhur sendoganer

    You talking too much… can you draw

  • Chandradeep Sen

    I am mesmerized…your thoughts…they are so calming

  • Gael Hillyard

    It is so satisfying to see someone hold drawing equipment properly. It emphasises the discipline of one's practice and sets you apart as a professional illustrator, artist, and designer.

  • Paige Warford

    So helpful, even inspired me to carry my sketchbook around more

  • Sophisticated Sketches

    Nice artwork! 😀

  • Martin Ferenczi-Houlden

    basically 'experiment and youll learn how to draw'

  • Constanza Céspedes

    hi! What's the name of the grey paper you use for sketching?

  • Andrew

    30s daily sketch habit✅

  • Mari C.

    this video was so helpful, thank you. My drawings always come out cartoonish, and since I started studying architecture, I have been feeling really unhappy with my work. But now I can improve myself and really be proud with what I do ^_^ In my college, they don't teach in depth how to make your drawings more "architectural" (don't think this word exists) x'D thanks for the help and your video was really soothing btw, i'm subscribing right now.
    PS: I wish I had found this video when I was in my first year in college, it would have been reeeeally heplful x'D

  • First Architecture School

    Not only are you are very talented but you also possess a rare gift for imparting your knowledge. Thank you.

  • Abdul Ghani

    lumintanasi confirmed

  • Banzai Banzai

    Thank you …love from Canada!

  • Jan Dom

    Am i the only one here trying to learn sketching just because i want to paint in arcylics?.

  • Su Ji

    I'm not an architect, but I want to ask, does architects really need sketches? I mean you have CAD.. Etc
    Thank you
    Love your videos 💖

  • mobspeak

    I think you are overdoing your sketches.

  • Leni Skyer

    Your videos are so beautiful!

  • MaxNemo

    strange not understanding font… why not simple symbols?

  • SM Architectural Construction

    Thank you.

  • Liv

    What kind of drawing utensils do you use and can you tell me where to purchase them pls

  • my choice an Architecture

    Hello sir my name is Emanuel hembrom I am from India and I am extremely grateful thank you because you are giving so Nasesary video it's very helpful my life thank you sir.. Jesus Christ with you Amen..

  • my choice an Architecture

    I'll try again again again lot become an a architecture

  • sivvart ttocs

    Are you gay? You sound like gay stop it

  • Shazrwan Atta

    What types of pen you use?

  • Kamal hariz

    I just curious.

  • TheRealMorganFreeman

    Can you list the types of pens and pencils used?

  • H K

    This is Super Duper Sir i love the way you explain the detailing work's wow thanks you so much for sharing such a work

  • 露帝

    Is that a mechanical pencil?
    can you tell me what brand and model it is?

  • Gf

    I became a drafter so that i didn't have to draw by hand.

  • Oskar Pettersson

    I want to become a Architect but am so bad at math..

  • Adroitness For You

    Great educational take on this. (y)

  • Asabio X

    Слишком много болтовни…Да и раскрасить чертёж ничего сложного


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