Sketch of Boating Club, Ireland by Alan Dunlop. Excerpt from his folio.

Sketch of New residences and Restaurant, Leeds by Alan Dunlop. Excerpt from his folio.

Sketch of St Pancras Penthouse, Alan Dunlop. Excerpt from his folio.


Ella here again of pages from my moleskine. Dana is still busy laying the foundations for design-eagle-eye junior (it’s no easy feat) so I’m hanging around for one more post.

Today I’ll be talking hand drawings. I’ve witnessed many designers gush about hand drawings with an adoration normally reserved for a firstborn. Despite this, presentation hand drawings are disappearing from the architectural landscape. The sad reality is, they aren’t as zippy-zoo as a computer generated image. So in this age, where immediacy is king, we’re saying sayonara to manual drawing.

Such a shame, as hand drawings can communicate a warmth and intimacy that computer renders so often struggle to do. Hand drawings are so engaging because of that palpable evidence of the human hand. There’s a magic that happens when a designer understands and consciously commits to every imprint on the page. Yes, there’s a place for digital drawings, but wouldn’t it be a shame to see hand drawings reach extinction?

With that, I leave you with this swoon-worthy collection of hand drawings. I hope they get you gasping at your screens as I did. Better still, I hope these encourage you to dust off the ol’ 6Bs and rotrings and revive this dying skill. Come on. Brave the world without Ctrl+Z! I dare you.

– Ella | blog | twitter | facebook |


Research Futures by Daniel O Donnell of Edinburgh College of Art. Image via Project Context.

The Rehabilitation of the Fragment by Geordie Shaw. Project from third year (2009) via Drawing Architecture. By the way, Drawing Architecture is a mind-blowingly good blog for  presentation drawings. Absolutely worth a visit.

Jacob Peel of University of Florida. Winner of 2009 Student Hand category at Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.

James Thompson, 2010. Winner of 2010 Best in Show at Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.

Terra Nova by Lebbeus Woods 1988 via Lebbeus Woods.

Moon Joo Lee. Finalist in 2011 in the Professional Hand category at Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.

Sketch of Callahan Residence, Birmingham, Alabama, by architect Paul Rudolph, 1965. Image via.

More Paul Rudolph mastery. Left: Dharmala Tower Rendering. Image via Design Observer. Right: Yale Art and Architecture Building, currently displayed at MoMa. Image via.

Steve Quevedo. Winner of 2009 Physical Submission category at Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.

Drawing by Su Wang, University College Dublin. Image via Drawing Architecture.

City sketch by Tom Fotheringham from Edinburgh School of Architecture. Image via Project Context.

AZL Pension Fund Headquarters by Wiel Arets Architects via Architecture Ideas.

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

8 Responses

  1. Julie

    Wow! Such a beautiful collection! Loved reading your posts Ella!


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