In the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Rabbit, beginning on January 22, 2023. The Rabbit embodies a quiet kindness with a strong and confident personality. Those born under this sign are said to be gentle and compassionate, with artistic sensibilities and steadfastness toward achieving their goals. Famous people born in the Year of the Ox include Julius Caesar, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, George Orwell, Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope. Kung Hee Fat Choy!
Happy New Year!
Best wishes for a peaceful, joyous, and productive 2023.
It’s Been 50 years…
…since I first stepped into the classroom at Ohio University to begin my teaching career. To my great good fortune, I was assigned to teach a first-year design studio with Norm Crowe, who taught me how to teach in the way he planned the course syllabus, carefully thought out studio projects, prepared for each class, and displayed admirable patience with beginning students. I also taught an architectural graphics course, the class notes for which resulted in the publication of Architectural Graphics in 1975.
Above is one of a series of posters I did to advertise the School of Architecture’s lecture series. It depicts the Athens County courthouse in the middle of town.
Happy Lunar New Year!
In the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Tiger, beginning on February 1, 2022. The Tiger is an animal valued for its courage, boldness, and confidence. Those born under this sign are said to be ambitious, optimistic, and enthusiastic by nature and possess strong self-esteem and high energy, especially at work. Some say tigers can also be stubborn and brash. Famous people born in the Year of the Ox include Marilyn Monroe, Fidel Castro, Jonas Salk, Ansel Adams, Lady Gaga, and Stevie Wonder. Kung Hee Fat Choy!
Happy New Year!
Taking a Break
As some may have noticed, the time between postings has grown lately. While the cooler, wetter weather discourages me from going out to draw, I also need time to work on two book revisions. And so I will be taking a break from posting for a while, leaving you with this ink sketch I did of a bicyclist relaxing on The Mall in DC in 1973.
The Northgate Extension added three new stations to Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail system—the underground U-District and Roosevelt stations as well as an elevated station at Northgate, where the Seattle Urban Sketchers met this past Sunday. It was a cold, breezy day with rain showers and so I chose this view looking south from under a covered entrance to the station. The Northgate station is located near a park-and-ride, has frequent bus connections to the greater Seattle region, and is connected via a bicycle/pedestrian bridge across I-5 to the North Seattle College campus to the west. It also leads to the former Northgate shopping center, which is being converted into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development, built around the Seattle Kraken offices and practice facility, and the Kraken Community Iceplex.
Thinking with a Pen or Pencil
Above is a site plan for the INA–Casa Tiburtino project in Rome, designed by Mario Ridolfi & Ludovico Quaroni in the 1950s. It shows how one can think with a free hand holding a pen or pencil while exploring possibilities, looking at alternatives, working out problems, even doodling on a sheet of paper. Below is another, more personal example of similarly exploring design alternatives, by hand, on paper.
A few two-page spreads of the small sketchbook I am using while teaching a short-term course on drawing on location at the UW. Quick sketches, freely drawn, to illustrate selecting viewpoints, outlining process, roughing out structure, gauging proportion, and establishing scale.
Drawing from Memory
Almost all drawing is memory drawing—drawing from memory. Even when drawing on location, as soon as we turn our gaze from the subject of our drawing to the page, we rely on our visual memory of what we have seen to be able to project this image onto the page and to draw it. Nurturing this ability to see, scan, visualize, project, and draw takes time and practice. But once we are comfortable with the process, drawing from observation will become that much more fluid.