Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Arcitecture and the Lost Art of Drawing

The New York Times ran an article called Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing. out of that article I particularlly liked the following:
For decades I have argued that architectural drawing can be divided into three types, which I call the “referential sketch,” the “preparatory study” and the “definitive drawing.” The definitive drawing, the final and most developed of the three, is almost universally produced on the computer nowadays, and that is appropriate. But what about the other two? What is their value in the creative process? What can they teach us?

The referential sketch serves as a visual diary, a record of an architect’s discovery. It can be as simple as a shorthand notation of a design concept or can describe details of a larger composition. It might not even be a drawing that relates to a building or any time in history. It’s not likely to represent “reality,” but rather to capture an idea.

These sketches are thus inherently fragmentary and selective. When I draw something, I remember it. The drawing is a reminder of the idea that caused me to record it in the first place. That visceral connection, that thought process, cannot be replicated by a computer.

The second type of drawing, the preparatory study, is typically part of a progression of drawings that elaborate a design. Like the referential sketch, it may not reflect a linear process. (I find computer-aided design much more linear.) I personally like to draw on translucent yellow tracing paper, which allows me to layer one drawing on top of another, building on what I’ve drawn before and, again, creating a personal, emotional connection with the work.

I have never really thought about the three different types of drawing before - but it is true that when I first start to look at how something goes together, there is often a series of napkin sketches that puts some preliminary ideas onto paper. I also commonly see people sketch on one drawing about opposing views of construction - or elaborating on others sketches - and I think that these steps are important in the technical design process.

I think that with computers it is occassionally too easy to make something work on paper that really isn't practical to do in real life.

Finally, I thought this was interesting:
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.

It is true that upon reading, I occassionaly (or even often) pause and reflect - or skim a statment over again. Either to make the idea more firm in my mind or to think about the implications. While this is certainly true when reading educataional or informative information, it is also true in fiction. Sometimes its interesting to pause and think about what is next, or what might relate to the story outside of the book. And, while I like to listen to audio books - for convienence, it is harder to replicate that - you have to think more about actually stopping the process to reflect.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hot Set

SyFy has a new series out called Hot Set. I caught the first episode, and thought that it was interesting. I have always thought that the similarities and differences between theatre, tv & film were interesting. The froth packs (AB foam) is something that we use & is a good technique for scenery. I also liked the low tech way of making the set breathe – though I think that had this been planned from the beginning it would have been more successful. I also think the show represents some truths in film – building and set up happens quickly, yet at the same time the ideas are ever changing and evolving. I was a little surprised by how much spray paint was used, but I guess it makes sense – and I have certainly used it to get a job done quickly – and it is useful for toning. I also thought that the bit about how to age things that you have borrowed was interesting – definitely some tricks there to learn. Also, I have to say, it’s a bit convenient to be able to go and buy prop rocks, and some of the strange props that they were able to find – I am sure that these people have worked in the area and have developed these contacts – but finding those options where many theatres are located isn’t really possible, even as much as the internet has revolutionized the ability to find props and accessories. Check it out & see what ideas you can pick up & let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plastic Cleaner Scratch Remover

Novus Polish is the plastic cleaner / scratch remover of choice around here. It won't remove deep scratches and it takes some elbow grease, but it can refursh acyrlic that has taken some general abuse from normal wear and tear. They have three levels, the first is mostly a cleaner, and the level 3 product is for surfaces that have more wear. We keep it around to clean up projects we are working on, and for acyrlic desk and lectern surfaces.

I have also heard that the product works good on scratched dvd's and cd's - though honestly, my trick there is to use toothpaste!

And for those you want to try out the product, you can try a set of the 3 levels out in a kit sold by Amazon for about $15.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I was digging through some samples in my office and came across a couple of pieces of Stage Lam. It is a black product, made for staging. You can buy it standard sheet sizes from 1/8" thick to 1 1/2" thick. It is fairly scratch resistance, and you can lightly sand scratches out (the material is black all the way through the material.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quake Putty

A couple years ago I posted about Museum Putty - a product like Mortite, that was being advertised for specific use in Museums. Then last April, I posted a pic of a vase being secured. Theatrically not unusually - but I thought it was unique because it was in a hotel in Costa Rico. Today, while searching for something completely different - I stumbled upon Quake Hold. Seems to be pretty strong.

I guess it’s also a little interesting to me that we now see it for use for walls (poster tac) & I have seen people using it in their homes to secure small knick knacks to display shelves. The evolution of the idea from an esoteric theatrical trick to something marketed as an official product with specific uses is a reminder about all of the simple things we know in theatre, yet take for granted.