Michael Graves Talks About Lost Art Of Drawing In Architecture

Architect and industrial designer Michael Graves, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, laments the lost art of drawing in architectural practice. His thoughts have obvious parallels with the world of computer animation, though thankfully, drawing still plays a major role in many CG creations.

Grave doesn’t have a problem with computers “as long as it’s not just that.” He talks about the creative possibilities that are opened up through the act of drawing, and uses as an example a drawing jam session he once had with a colleague:

Our game was not about winners or losers, but about a shared language. We had a genuine love for making this drawing. There was an insistence, by the act of drawing, that the composition would stay open, that the speculation would stay “wet” in the sense of a painting. Our plan was without scale and we could as easily have been drawing a domestic building as a portion of a city. It was the act of drawing that allowed us to speculate.

As I work with my computer-savvy students and staff today, I notice that something is lost when they draw only on the computer. It is analogous to hearing the words of a novel read aloud, when reading them on paper allows us to daydream a little, to make associations beyond the literal sentences on the page. Similarly, drawing by hand stimulates the imagination and allows us to speculate about ideas, a good sign that we’re truly alive.


  • Jennifer

    Here Here!

  • bob kurtz

    as a friend of mine once said”the computer is a fast idiot.”

  • http://animationhardtofind.blogspot.com GW

    I agree that there’s no substitute for figuring out ideas on paper, but it’s worth pointing out that with computers, people can run through a virtual encyclopedia of shapes and forms. It seems wise to me to take advantage of each. The human brain, usually, is most smart at assembling ideas, ordering them, and reforming them rather than generating them from scratch. If you can make the right program and find a way to instruct a computer on what to do, it can generate ideas faster and better than a human being can. It’s in assembling the basic ideas into something that makes sense that human beings are able to outsmart computers.

  • Arnold Muggaga

    Well i do concur, design does need a basis of link between the requirements of the user and the signature a designer. we need to put a piece of us in our creations, precedent-ed or not, sketching is the true identity of design. without it, it is indeed analogous to poetry without emotion.