I recently checked out the book Drawing for Designers by Alan Pipes. The introduction and the first chapter, A brief history of designers’ drawings, had many interesting things to say about sketching.

One thing in particular that has me thinking is that the author seems to indicate that drawing and sketching are more or less the same thing. Or to put it in another way, sketching is drawing. On page 8, Pipes asserts that “all designers draw” and on page 16 he states that “a designer who cannot draw well is at a disadvantage.”

The drawing Pipes talks about is not the fine arts type of drawing. Though the line quality in some of the examples of drawings in the book that relate to product design have a sophisticated quality that one could compare to figure drawing. For Pipes it does not matter if the drawing  happens on the computer or on paper but the act of drawing or sketching is what most important. However, he does believe that there are some disadvantages to drawing on the computer with the use of software. Though the software can speed up the process, it eliminates “draftman’s license” where the object is still considered a work in progress over a finished and stylized product.

His definitions and descriptions of drawing and its purposes seem to overlap what I think sketching is and what is for. For instance, on page 15, Pipes states that drawing has three main purposes:

  • A “means of externalizing and analyzing thoughts and simplifying… problems to make them more understandable.
  • A “medium of persuasion that sells ideas to clients and reassures their brief is satisfied.
  • A “method of communicating complete and unambiguous information to those responsible for the product’s manufacture, assembly, and marketing.”

These three purposes suggest overlapping with definitions and purposes of sketching. Pipes assumes that drawing is part of the design process. I think that Pipes means that sketching is a type of drawing. To be continued…