BeLoose Graphic Workshop

Hand and Digital Hybrid Drawing - A Symbiotic Process

This blog highlights the design drawing process for a mixed-use residential project here in Northern California. I am constantly exploring the fine line between hand and digital tools in my project work, especially on projects where deadlines are short and expectations of graphic style (in this case, for a presentation to City Council) are constantly moving... even just a couple of hours before the presentation! The perspective view featured in this blog is one of three views produced for the presentation, each one taking approximately one hour to produce after views in the sketch up model was finalized and design elements were approved by the design team and client. 

Step One: Captured View from Sketch Up Model [above]. This Sketch Up model was used throughout the design process as a testing ground for architectural massing, eye-line views to and from buildings, and thoughts about building materials and landscape open spaces. As perspectives views were reviewed, massings could be adjusted and manipulated in order to comply with open space views and realistic building forms to satisfy City Council's concerns with the quality of the built environment on this particular site.

 Step Two: Character Sketch Overlay [above]. With a more focused emphasis on open space, the building architecture was down-played to augment the framework that the building massing created. A sheet of trace paper was an overlay over a 11x17 print-out of the Sketch-Up view, drawn in pen and colored quickly with Chartpak markers and colored pencils. Details on the trees and groundcover were also drawn with minor detail to balance out the framework of the buildings. Simple line work people were drawn in to give the open space and buildings scale. (10 min.)

Step Three: Blue-line Block Out and Render [above]. The client then wanted to have still a "conceptual" feel to the building massings, but more defined in terms of mechanically drawn lines, and ideas about color, tonality and vibrancy on the architecture and open space areas. Buildings and landscape components were blocked out in blue pencil and colored pencil in the landscape to give texture and depth to trees, ground cover, and topography. (20 min.)

Step Four: Color Pencil Rendering on Color Xerox [above]. A color xerox was made and colored pencils were used to create the building materials for the base level, mid and upper floors, but not necessarily revealing what the materials are. This rendering style was to only give an idea of the horizontal break up of color and material typology. You can notice that the base of the building is some sort of stacked stone, but not revealing the type of stone. The landscape is a xerox of the previous step and does not need to be re-drawn. This saves time, especially when you are exploring different color swatches for specific materials. (10 min.)

Step Five: Final Illustrative Drawing [above + below]. This final illustrative style was further enhanced and detailed because the client felt they were ready to reveal (or discuss possibilities) of actual building materials and wanted to push the detail of planting materials. Drawing media is trace paper with fine line pen for the outline of buildings, trees, and line work of specific landscape plantings. Base colors of the buildings and landscape areas are marker and then overlaid with layers of light pencil to give more texture and vibrancy. People and entourage are drawn carefully, but still kept at a conceptual level, giving careful consideration to locations along the walkway and building entries as well as activities to show movement through the open space. (25 min.)

I hope you found this blog helpful and informational, and that it reveals some great opportunities to use this hybrid approach in your student and professional work. If you have specific questions about any particular parts of this process, just send me a message.  


Views: 5382


You need to be a member of BeLoose Graphic Workshop to add comments!

Join BeLoose Graphic Workshop

Comment by Anne Spafford on March 14, 2017 at 3:26pm

Wow--thanks for this, Brian!  Very cool indeed.  Any chance you'll run a hybrid workshop at some point?

Comment by Lois Buroker on March 3, 2013 at 7:27am

Very nice and good information.


Comment by Perla Arquieta on February 27, 2013 at 7:42am

Very nice, thank you Brian. 

Comment by Debra M. Deutsch on February 26, 2013 at 12:35pm

Great information Brian, thank you!


Comment by Barry Conlin on February 26, 2013 at 10:32am

Really cool Brian. I'd love to try and learn the "hybrid" technique. I just have to make the time.

Nice 45's and white space!

Thanks Brian.

BeLoose is a workshop where the experience will definitely change people's lives and increase their confidence beyond their expectation.

52 Languages


Before / After Drawings

"Before" drawing was done on the 1st day and "After" was done after 6 days. This can happen to you, so just show up, we will do the rest for you.

See more....


© 2023   Created by Mike Lin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service