Back to School for Trent: Architectural Sketching 101

Here at Menno S. Martin we encourage all of our staff to keep learning and building their skills. Our renovation industry is always changing and evolving and it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening.

This fall, I decided it was time for me to brush up on some skills too. I’m taking a sketching course and going back to the roots of how I started in my profession!

sketch
old barrels in the original Seagram Warehouse

29 years ago, when I first started working at Menno S. Martin, I used to draw everything by hand. I drew a rendering of St. Paul’s Cathedral when I was in college, many years ago. It still hangs in my office today. But years of computer-based floor plans and architectural drawing has dulled my senses for pencil and paper drawing.

ink drawing of St. Paul's Cathedral
ink drawing of St. Paul’s Cathedral

So far, in my six-week course taught by Brenda Murray, I’ve relearned how to draw one-point, two point and three point perspective. More importantly, I’ve had to retrain my brain to see space differently. I spend all my time designing renovations & editions based on what I see and imagine from my mind. I’ve discovered that I’m very good at making up my own perspective!

sketch
Brookfield Place, Toronto

Sketching is helping me to focus on what I see in a building or interior space rather than what I think it will look like in a flat architectural drawing.

Sketching is a little bit like slow motion photography. I’m capturing all the interesting angles, corners, soaring ceilings, symmetrical windows and crooked stairs. Unlike the time it takes to make a quick photograph, sketching gets me to slow down. It forces me to look and really SEE what I’m looking at.

I’m rediscovering a passion for drawing I had almost forgotten. While sketching, I can zone in on a particular part of a building and uniquely frame how I want to capture or draw it. As I get more practiced, I can add my own artistic flair to my sketches.

Many of my clients find it very challenging to visualize what a flat plan drawing will look like in real 3-D life. When I draw simple sketches during a meeting it helps them to get a better sense of what a plan would look like as a space meant for living.

Sketching every week has been a good reminder that learning (and re-learning) should always be fun!

I’ll be posting my sketching progress on Instagram – follow renosbymenno to see how I progress. Or, if I make any progress at all!

-Trent

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