Learn The Difference Between Free Hand Drawing and Computer Drawing

Sketches and drawings are the bones of any architectural design; they are not simple end products of this process. For a young budding architect, one needs to know that drawing is essential in architecture as it expresses the interaction of the architect’s mind, hands, and eyes. It is very important to draw to conceptualize architecture and not simply rely on the computer to do this on your behalf as the entire experience becomes impersonal, indirect, and somehow, futile.

What is Free Hand Drawing?

Freehand drawing refers to the art of sketching or drawing without the use of instruments or aids, relying solely on the artist’s hand and observation skills. This technique contrasts with technical drawing, which employs tools such as rulers and compasses. Free-hand drawings can range from simple doodles to intricate illustrations and are often used in fields like fine arts, fashion design, and animation. It allows artists to capture ideas quickly, develop their hand-eye coordination, and express their personal style.

What is Computer Drawing?

Computer drawing refers to the creation of visuals, graphics, or illustrations using computer software. This process can range from simple designs and sketches to complex, detailed illustrations. It’s distinct from traditional drawing as it utilizes digital tools and platforms, such as graphic design software or digital drawing tablets. Advantages of computer drawing include the ability to easily edit, undo mistakes, and utilize a wide array of digital brushes and effects.

Common software used for computer drawing includes Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and digital painting programs like Procreate and Krita. Computer drawing has applications in various industries, including graphic design, animation, web design, and gaming.

Drawing by stefan davidovici, architect - milan, italy
Drawing by Stefan Davidovici, Architect – Milan, Italy

Difference Between Traditional Drawing and Computer Drawing

If you are looking for the difference between freehand drawing and computer drawing at a glance below is a table that discusses tools, editing, brush & effects, software, and applications:

FeatureComputer DrawingTraditional Drawing
ToolsDigital software and tabletsPencils, pens, paper
EditingEasy edits, undo functionsManual erasure, over-drawing
Brush & EffectsWide range of digital brushes and effectsEasy edits undo functions
SoftwareAdobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Procreate, KritaNone
ApplicationsGraphic design, animation, web, gamingFine arts, illustrations, sketches

An architect’s drawing can either be referential, preparatory, or a definitive drawing. The definitive drawing is the most developed sketch. A referential sketch is just like a visual diary or a sort of record that has the architect’s discovery, one of the purest forms of expression in drawing. It may either be a simple design concept or lots of details concerning a much bigger composition. These sketches are usually simply fragmentary. The sketches that are made by architects are simply reminders of the ideas that the architects may have in mind. This is important as it is a process that a computer can not do. This is the main reason why the revolving technology can not replace free hand drawing of sketches in architecture.

Preparatory sketches are on the other hand a progression of drawings that when put together they`re elaborating the design of a complete project. It however does not reflect the linear process but steps in the process in which key events have occurred.

The architect may use a computer in order to be able to come up with a more linear process. When using a free hand while sketching, an architect may trace a translucent yellow line which would enable layering another drawing on top of another. This helps in the creation of a personalized connection with the sketch that one has been able to come up with.

When one has learned how to sketch, he will be able to experience some sort of fulfillment and joy every time he is able to complete a sketch. This is due to the mental and physical interaction that the architect has with his or her formative drawings. A handmade drawing brings about traces of intentions and speculations too.

Frank gehry famous building drawing | urban sketchers: rain and rock at seattle's emp museum
Frank Gehry Famous Building Drawing | Urban Sketchers: Rain and Rock at Seattle’s EMP Museum

When learning to sketch, one may be able to use the computer parametric design which enables the computer to generate some sets of instructions for the architect. It is able to generate highly complex intricate structures that one`s mind cannot simply control with ease, world renowned architect Zaha Hadid used the organicity and naturalness of parametric design to shape extraordinarily beautiful concepts that today are beautifying our world, a legacy that none will forget.

Learn the difference between the free hand drawing and computer drawing
© Andrei Răducanu

The only problem is the lack of emotional content that is only achieved when an architect sketches using their free hand and not using computer software. When an individual uses the computer drawing only, there is no attachment to the sketch that you are bringing out. The design is literally machine-made. Drawing by free hand creates room for stimulation of the imagination of an architect which enables people to speculate about different ideas. It creates room for modification of ideas and jogs the mind. Using a computer is very plastic as it limits thoughts and possibilities. The computer occasionally even brings suggestions for you therefore leaving absolutely no room at all for creativity. It is much better to learn how to sketch by free hand as it is much more preferred.

Learn the difference between the free hand drawing and computer drawing
© Andrei Răducanu

Here on Homesthetics cool things to draw sketches can be found, step by step tutorials able to shelter our universe and through a referential sketch one can shape memories in a matter of minutes, one architect can prepare the mind and intuition for future tasks, it can keep the mind agile.

What do you think? How do you draw and sketch? We would love to hear your opinion on the subject in the comment section below.

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