As well as being an intrinsic part of the way we design and communicate, sketching for us is about training ourselves to observe more closely; at a site we are researching, a building we are inspired by, or an urban space we are idling in. The act of reproducing a sketch necessitates an inquiring eye to establish patterns and hierarchies (and anomalies therein), to identify where design intent is rigorous and where it has been relaxed, to establish the origins and the ways it has been adapted.
Although we draw every day in the work that we do, the act of going out into the city and drawing what we see is not always easy to find time to do, and requires a bit of self-discipline. Back in January I set myself the challenge of doing a new (non-work) sketch every week for the whole of 2018, posting my progress on twitter with the tag #SketchAWeek2018. In retrospect given the peaks and troughs of my commitment this might have been better entitled #52SketchesIn2018. We are now entering September, and having totted up my progress to date I have done 26 sketches in the 36 weeks of the year so far. So shame on me, and time now to pull my socks up as we head into Autumn!
I share with you here the story so far. It is interesting to see them side by side, and certainly there is a spectrum of quality (!), but as I tell the students I work with at UWE – sketching is about the process, and not the end product. Sometimes a quick and scribbly 30 second snapshot can say a lot more about the atmosphere and vitality of a space than a more considered 30 minute composition.