All that is needed is a good drawing for the architecture

Preparation for studying architecture: Learn to sketch & draw [Update: May 2021]

Computer-aided representations (CAD) are the order of the day for architects and also mandatory for every architecture student. Nevertheless, it will be important to visualize initial ideas and drafts with pen and paper, both in architecture studies and later as an architect.

These sketches are necessary in order to be able to present your ideas quickly and easily - e.g. in conversation with your professor or client.

So it pays to improve your own drawing and sketching skills. If you (like me :-)) are not a natural talent in this area, you should learn to draw and practice a lot.

Sketching & drawing: material for you

Sketchbook: Preparation for architecture studies

The best way to learn to draw is to get yourself a sketchbook, which you will also enjoy while practicing.

Everyone has their own preferences in terms of paper, cover and size of the sketchbook. If you are still inexperienced or are just starting out with sketching and drawing, it is best to use a mixed-media sketchbook, such as the sketchbook from Strathmore *.
The sketchbooks from Leuchtturm 1917 or Leda Art Supply * are also very good and somewhat cheaper, but not suitable for water-intensive techniques.

Another classic among architects is the Moleskine Sketchbook Pocket *. The thin magazines from Moleskine (blank journals *) are also popular. The advantage of the journals is that they are extremely light and you can also use them thematically, for example one each for studies, nude drawings and for landscape or architectural sketches.

You can find other very good, both more expensive and very inexpensive sketchbooks in my blog post “The best sketchbooks for studying architecture”. In it, I present you with very different sketchbooks that my readers - architecture students - have recommended.

Sketchbook or drawing pad?

I see the advantage of sketchbooks over loose paper in the fact that you can understand your development while learning to draw. You may not succeed in the first few attempts, but it's still important to be able to reflect on them later.
It is also more practical to have a sketchbook in your pocket than a drawing pad. Most sketchbooks hold the pages compactly together with a rubber band so that no corners can bend and loose sheets of paper are not lost.


Which pens I use for sketching and drawing depends entirely on whether I'm at home or on the go and how much space my equipment may need. On my sketchbook, however, there is always a Faber-Castell ink pen (PITT artist pen, S-tip, black 199 *) or the Penxacta *, a very thin fineliner, which is very popular among architects. In my handbag there is also a small set of B pencils *, an eraser pen * and a colored “sketch pen” (often the PITT artist pen sanguine 188 with S-tip). When I set out to draw on the go, I have a small selection of my other favorite pens with me.

For coloring, I use crayons or watercolor pens, simple fiber pens from Stabilo or the Faber Castel PITT with a brush tip *. COPIC markers * are very popular, but also very cost-intensive, but they also require special paper in order to exploit all their advantages.

My advice: First, practice with the pens you already have at home. You will see, the better you can sketch, draw and color, the more you will be interested in the different work materials and then be able to choose the best for you. Instead of ordering online, you should visit a specialist shop (stationery or art supplies) to test the products. You will also receive good advice on site.

Learn to draw digitally

Tablets and apps for sketching and drawing are not a substitute for drawings with pen and paper, but an addition, as they require other "crafting techniques".

There are a couple of good apps that you can check out. I have compiled my recommendations in the blog post “The 8 best apps for drawing and sketching architecture”. However, none of these apps can imitate drawing on paper and the characteristics of the different pens and papers in detail, true to the original. You can use tablets & apps as a supplement, but by no means as a substitute for pen & paper when learning to draw.

Sketching & Drawing: Learning the Techniques

The most important thing is that you practice regularly. In order to avoid frustration, you should take it easy and don't force yourself to do anything. As with other things, there will always be people who can draw and sketch better than you. Above all, it is important that a) you can “read” your sketches and b) they are good enough to understand your ideas convey.

Have courage for the gap! Start sketching, drawing, or scribbling even if you think you can't. Then deal with your "work of art" and ask yourself what may not have turned out so well and where you should still practice. For example, I don't always succeed in hatching so well, but my perspective is right.

Learning to draw for future architects:

As an architect, you must above all draw perspective, but also be able to depict people in a simplified manner. In addition, hatching is very important in order to be able to visualize shading and different materials.

You will learn all of this during your architecture studies, but you should master the basic techniques in the first semester. In order to apply to study architecture, you often have to hand in an artistic portfolio or take an aptitude test. For both, you need to be able to draw and sketch ideas!

So it pays to learn to draw before you start studying architecture!

My book tips: Learn to draw architecture step by step.