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Do You Need to Be Good at Drawing to Become an Architect?

Updated on May 22, 2012

I want to become an architect, but I can't draw.

Do architects need to be good at drawing? Kind of, sort of, not really.

Don't let your inability to draw deter you from a career in architecture. Here's the thing about drawing: it's a learned skill. Yes, some people are born with innate artistic abilities, but hand drawing, like writing, piano, math or anything else, can be learned. Besides, architects don't spend a lot of time making beautiful hand drawings anyway. Before the days of computer aided design (CAD) and rendering software, drawing was a very necessary skill to get architectural presentations together. However, everything has changed with computers. You'll be just fine if you don't know how to draw. And a lot of other architecture students are in the same boat you are.

There was a time when architects needed amazing drawing skills, but things have changed with computers.
There was a time when architects needed amazing drawing skills, but things have changed with computers. | Source

Drawing Studio and Drafting Classes

One of the first classes you take in architecture school will be a drawing class. Generally you are not expected to have any drawing abilities whatsoever when you start. This is going to be a very tough class, but you will be amazed at what you'll be able to produce in a few short months. The key is to practice every chance you get. Draw everything you see. Take your sketchbook with you everywhere.

Graphic Communication

An important skill for architects is graphic communication, but that does not necessarily mean making beautiful drawings by hand. Graphic communication is the ability to transfer ideas onto paper or other media for the purpose of communicating to others. You'll need to be able to sketch out rough ideas with paper and pen, make drawings and renderings using computer programs.

Computer Drawings and Renderings

Technology is drastically changing the field of architecture. Hand drafting and rendering is becoming obsolete and is being replaced by CAD and 3D rendering software. This means that those of us who are bad with pencil and paper are not as disadvantaged as we once were.

Principals Don't Draft or Render

If your goal is to become an architect, you probably have dreams of having your own firm. This means you hire people. Those people can draft and render for you. Your time is probably too valuable by this point in your career to do those tasks anyway. You'll be meeting with clients and vendors, taking care of the business side of things, and doing a lot of design work. Yes, to become an architect you do have to climb up the ladder. While you're an intern you'll be doing a lot of drafting, but probably not by hand.


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