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Defter Notes team published on Dec 9, 2021

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A quick guide to developing your architectural sketching style

iPad can be a great tool for architects, especially when paired with an app like Defter Notes. Here are a few tips and techniques you can find usefull as a beginner who is looking to create your sketching style or as a professional achitecht who would like to sketch more often on the iPad.

Set up your toolset

Spend some time trying out the tool sizes and colors on your radial menu. A thin mechanical pencil is great for beginning a sketch and a darker color is better for adding details. Have a look at how your marker colors layer as well. Set up a simple color set before you begin. This will simplify decisions as you focus on your sketch later on.

Tip: Using the setting in the lower left slide out menu, you can set up quick switch triggers for your 2nd gen Apple Pencil

Start simple and iterate quickly

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, precision is not the goal of a sketch. Let your ideas flow on paper. If you feel the need to save a copy, you can always save duplicates and continue working on one version as you archive the other. Although you probably should spare using it, you can always use the undo gesture too. Try not to be precious about your creations at this stage.

double tap and duplicate

Tip: You can tap with two fingers to trigger undo in Defter Notes. Tapping with three fingers will redo your last pencil movement.

Check out micro tutorial videos for related features that can help with your workflow.

Annotate and explain

Feel free to take notes on your sketches if it helps describe things you're not able to show with a drawing. It gives context and depth to your work, makes it easier to explain to yourself and others too. Dashed lines and arrows can indicate direction and movement. Keep your handwriting small and neat to avoid overwhelming the visuals.

Change the medium

In real life sketching, sometimes changing up to a different paper or sketchbook can spur new ideas. Using the attachment tool you can import different textured backgrounds to use as a new paper. Another option is just changing up the paper settings for changes in color, size, and opacity. This way you can easily create a vellum effect, even layer papers, and sketch on top of your previous ideas.

Work on getting confident

Work on getting confident with your strokes. Use single unbroken continuous lines instead of dashes. Your lines don’t have to be straight. The wavy line is a part of the architectural style and they add character to your work so just go with it. You will have straighter lines with practice anyway.

Lean into the loose sketchy aesthetic

architectural sketch

Tip: layer papers with opacity for added depth.

Use guide lines for setting up proportions of the structure. You can use lighter colors and softer lines for the layout or construction of a building and harder, darker lines for adding depth and details. Start with soft loose sketches and build layers as you draw. Use a variety of line weights and line types.

Keep up with your practice

The one thing guaranteed to improve your architectural sketching technique is to keep practicing. Make a habit to sketch every day. Use existing ideas, try new ideas, change up your tools, and in time you’ll start developing your style. Keep on going and you’ll get better. You can download Defter Notes on the App Store and start developing your sketching style right away.