Inside My Sketchbook + An Architect’s Sketching Tools

Inside My Sketchbook + An Architect’s Sketching Tools

Hey Eric here with 30 by 40 Design Workshop
I’ve just started in on a new project and with that a new sketchbook and because I always
keep one with me in today’s video I thought I’d give you a peek at my sketchbook and talk
about some of my favorite sketching supplies that I’m using in the studio right now. Everything is linked up below in the description
and in the cards so if you’re interested in picking up any of these that’s where you’ll
find them. So this is my current favorite and it’s been
my favorite for quite a while it’s made by Muji it’s good quality it’s inexpensive and
it’s super portable and it has a couple of features that I think make it then near perfect
sketchbook for an architect. The first is the dot grid which is really
subtle so it doesn’t dominate your sketches but I like that it helps to organize my thoughts
on the page. I use it to frame out sketches develop perspectives
and as a guide for my grids. If you’re new to sketching or even lettering
the dots are kind of like a safety net they’ll help improve your confidence in drawing those
sketchy but semi-straight lines. It fits in the hand and it’s portable enough
to take almost anywhere but it’s also not so big that I’m lost on the pages when I’m
drawing. At around 70 pages you can dedicate one or
more to a single project and at that length they don’t actually take that long to fill
up. The low page count also means that they’re
thin enough to prevent that cliff effect where your hand will slip off the edge as you’re
sketching and that’s important because if you’re uncomfortable sketching in a sketchbook
for whatever reason just recycle it because you’ll never use it and that’s the most important
thing about a sketchbook is that you fill it with your ideas. Now I know some people find the wire binding
a problem but I prefer it to the perfect-style binding because it lays flat and I’m not one
who’s ever like to draw across pages in the binding so it doesn’t really bother me. The wire binding also allows you to tear out
pages and it’s reversible so it’s good for both righties and lefties. The elastic page keeper keeps your place while
you’re using it and it prevents the pages from flipping open in your bag when you’re
traveling. If you choose inexpensive sketchbooks like
this you won’t be afraid to use them and as you’re practicing new techniques and making
mistakes you can just kind of flip the page and move on. Sometimes I’ll use cover-ups if I absolutely
can’t stand looking at a sketch I’ve made but that’s sort of unusual for me. Sketchbooks are made for fleshing out ideas
and that means they’re bound to capture both good and bad ones along the way. Because I use ink and pencil for most of my
sketching the lightweight paper here works fine but if you like to use watercolor or
do a lot of inking you may want to look for a heavier weight or mixed media paper. Markers will definitely bleed through on these
pages so be conscious of that especially if you work on both sides of the page and let’s
say you’re going back to tune-up an earlier sketch you might ruin the work on the following
page. I use a slip sheet to prevent bleed-through
from ruining several pages if I’m doing a lot of marker work. Another option is to keep your sketchbooks
separate let’s say you might have one for pen and ink and another for marker one for
colored pencil you get the idea. The important thing to pay attention to with
paper type is how it feels when you’re drawing how does the pen or pencil drag does it bleed
through or soak in? And honestly this just comes down to personal
preference so before you go out and buy ten of these you should definitely test out a
few and see which ones you like. I have this thing about Strathmore heavy weight
paper for sketching it’s just too slow for me and the way pens and pencils sound on it
– kind of makes my skin crawl. But if you look at someone like Lebbeus Woods’
drawings that’s all he used and the tooth on the paper was really a part of his sketching
style. Another one I like right now are these recycled
Kraft paper notebooks. Using any kind of toned paper allows you to
experiment with white linework whether that’s pencils or white ink and it’s kind of like
swapping the figure for the ground and it can sometimes help to view your work from
an inverted perspective. I used to use this terrible Pentel mechanical
pencil because I thought it had some kind of special mojo to it. I can admittedly be kind of superstitious
about things but I am fully smitten with the Kuru Toga now. It has this super nice weight and hand feel
and it rotates the lead as you draw so the point is always razor sharp. HB lead is the mid-range of the hardness and
softness scale so if you prefer darker drawings you could go up to 2B or 4B but it’ll definitely
smudge in your sketchbook. If you want to keep your sketches all graphite
I’d also add a point three millimeter and a point seven millimeter mechanical pencil
to the mix otherwise you’ll find quick results for heavier lineweights using ink. So for that I like to use the pilot precise
v7 for me it’s just better than the v5 and you can see the sketches I’ve done in the
past with the v5 they were just too crispy. I found the pen kind of cut into the page. The v7 has a rounded tip and that gives it
just the right amount of drag on the paper. Now I should also add here that I love Sign
pens and Sharpie ultra fines especially on trace but I find they’re just too harsh for
my Muji sketchbooks. The ink dries fairly quickly on the Muji sketchbooks
but because the paper has this kind of slight eggshell finish to it I find it does smudge
if you’re too quick behind fresh ink. My current technique with the Muji sketchbooks
is to line things out in pencil and then go over the sketches with darker more confident
graphite strokes and then finish things out with the v7 to darken areas and punch up the
perimeter line weights. The other pen I’ve been using a lot lately
has been the Signo white gel pen the ball isn’t perfect on these and they do tend to
dry out once you begin using them so I like to buy them in a five pack and then I always
have a fresh one to move on to if they start becoming kind of problematic. I like white linework for plan sketches and
creating really graphic imagery say diagrams or perspective details. Now for markers I’ve moved on from Prismacolors
which are water-based to a small collection of Copics which are alcohol-based and I just
find they blend better but they also bleed through on the Muji paper. I tend to grab the sketching grays and the
tans and yellows most often. The grays are great for adding shading and
creating contrasting fields or washes which really help your sketches to pop they can
also be used to quickly kind of block out a sketch or to emphasize subtle textures and
lately I’ve been laying down these kind of dark fields or washes and then using the Signo
gel pens for white line work on top of that. I think they also look pretty fantastic on
Kraft paper. Okay for colored pencils I end up borrowing
pencils from my kids as their collection I don’t know somehow seems to proliferate. But if I’m buying new ones I like Prismacolors
or Koh-i-noor pretty well. So I have warm and cool grays for light shading
I use those for stone work and weathered wood. I have a few blues for sky and water occasionally
glass. Tans and yellows I use for wood tones all
the way from pine and cedar to mahogany and walnut. The bright yellow I use for Sun and sometimes
like sort of dusk lighting or interior lighting and then of course white is essential for
adding highlights and accents and then I have a few greens. There’s some starter kits out there that can
get you set up with a complimentary range of colors to work with but if you’re choosing
ones just from scratch to kind of make up your sketching palette I’d choose a limited
family of colors at first and build contrasts. So yellow and gray is a good starting point
teal and orange cool grays and warm browns these can represent common material choices
in your area or you know what you like to use. Just have a look around you and choose colors
based on your environment. Now just a few other essentials. I have two pencil cases that I used regularly
one is for colored pencils and one is for pens and mechanical pencils this way you can
grab your favorites and kind of throw them into a bag or bring them with you to wherever
you’ll be working. The Muji ones are solid and translucent so
I can see what’s inside but I’ve also found glasses cases can work pretty well they’re
just a little shorter so if you’re buying new colored pencils the long ones don’t always
fit. Now I’ve both an electric pencil sharpener
and a small brass manual sharpener. I’ve used a lot of erasers and for a long
time I defaulted to the white Staedler Mars plastic erasers but I found the Muji black
erasers they’re just my current favorite because they don’t streak they don’t rip the paper
and they’re pretty effective for most pencil work. It’s actually kind of silly to wax poetic
about erasers but having good tools is part of what makes sketching enjoyable. For finer erasing I like this clickable eraser
pen which uses small white plastic erasers. On the, “nice to have but not totally essential”
list are things like this portable dustpan and brush by, alright you guessed it: Muji. It’s just nice for keeping your desk clean. And I have this chop stamp with my logo on
it. It’s always nice to kind of date your sketches
and I find it just kind of cleans up what can be kind of a rough or a messy sketch in
a way. And a straightedge. Having a small scale or triangles helpful
when you need to add some precision or to clean a sketch up. Find one with a beveled edge so you can pick
it off the page easily and move it or just add a small little tape tab as a handle. Now to be honest I don’t use these very often
when I’m sketching because I find it just helps me to move more quickly and get out
ideas onto the page. If I need to sketch to scale I just use the
dot grid in the sketch book. For a long time I had a very fixed view of
what a sketch book was but in recent years that’s changed and I just view it as a tool
to elicit my best ideas. It’s a necessary part of my own creative process
and it’s something I use to practice drawing with on a daily basis. For a closer look at my sketchbook be sure
to follow me on Instagram. We’ll see you again next time, cheers my friends!

100 thoughts on “Inside My Sketchbook + An Architect’s Sketching Tools

  1. Links to everything mentioned in the vid:

  2. have you tried iPad pro for sketching or other architectural applications? there is an app morpholio that I would love to find more reviews from architects like you to see if it is actually worth it, both iPad pro and the app. Thanks

  3. Thanks for these videos – i practice in N Ireland and am a sole practitioner like yourself and its good to see how others work. Its great to always have a fresh perspective on practice. Thank you. Mike

  4. Hello , from Algerian girl
    This my first year at architecture college which called "epau" in French ècole polytechnique d'architecture et d'urbanisme in short i'm little terifid to be their 😔
    Please advise me
    What the steps I need to make?

  5. Another great video! I'm an agricultural engineer, but the vids from your channel really help whenever I'm tasked to design a new greenhouse, renewable energy system, or do farm development projects for clients. I initially wanted to become an architect when I was young, but fell in love with engineering. But in terms of design and conceptualization, I try to put myself into architect mode.

    Currently, I'm figuring out a proper design for a project for urban agriculture here in the Philippines. Until then, I look forward to your upcoming videos. More support! Cheers!

  6. I really want to be an architect but i am only an okay drawer …. how well do u need to know how to draw to be an architect

  7. As an Architectural Technologist graduate [working towards gaining an ACIAT accreditation], I've spent most of my time learning more about the construction of a building and how to put them together, how to make them work. I have an eye for detail and can see when something looks like it will or won't work. Although I practice art sometimes and am somewhat good at it, I neglected the artistic side of architecture. I want to turn that around and start doing more artistic explorations. I love the presentation and ambiance of your videos, I want to do something similar, but in my own way. Thank you for your work!

  8. Hey Eric, where do you get the black grid-like paper w/ white lines that is shown in this video? Thanks and, as always, great video!

  9. Finally after going through so many videos to buy my first sketching book(to start learning) ..i have decided to buy muji😊 bcoz that strathmore and canson SB seemed to me more professional which isnt for me for NOW.. TY for putting up this informative video👏💜

  10. Tell us the architects you more estudy and admire and which style you remenber when you desing.


  11. I really enjoy your videos. Sad to say but: finally someone with actual competence talking about sketchbooks and finally someone who knows their stuff, and not only uses what other's use because it's cool, but for understanding the way the tools work.

  12. How do I find a architect like you lol! I'm in the middle of no where and there is only one in town. He has been doing architecture for 50 years and I don't feel his styles meet what I'm looking for. I don't want the house that is perfectly square on the lot and has the same front porch and layout as every house in the area. I want unique. I want something that flows with the land. Not rips it up to meet its goals. I have been watching through a lot of your videos and have tried to put together sketches and ideas, but I don't know where to find someone as excited as I am to build a none traditional home. Thank you ahead of time if you are able to respond.

  13. is that your drawing Eric 3:32

    My name's also Eric started watching your videos today and I like them. Not only you all architects are inpirations for me. thank you for your dedication on giving us ideas.

  14. I've never been much of sketcher or doodler but I do understand the why many Architects embrace this medium. In fact, a recent client provided me with a number of sketches she did as her project ideas developed. I would like to take her ideas and build upon them well before the Computer becomes the center point. I would welcome hearing your thoughts working with a client who also believes in the sketching process. You have mentioned sketching in front of and with the client as a productive method of flushing our ideas before arriving at the place that meets their objective. Together, on paper, agreeing on the direction the project will go, at least initially, make more practical sense than computer drawings.
    Thanks for the video and list of your favorite tools.

  15. One of your fan here, may I know where I could get sponsor especially for this materials which is expensive, nxt year I'm going to enroll Architecture and this is my dream course. And I apply as a working student in school for free tuition, but I need sponsor for my materials that I'll be using huhu, I hope I could get information where I could ask for sponsorship 😊

  16. 東京の店先では、たぶん、MUJIからベージュのスケッチブック無くなり、黒色でゴムが変わりましたよ!

  17. I love your content especially this video was really inspirational. At the moment I’m considering doing my first own project. I have lately been toying around with an idea of restoring an old abandoned railroad warehouse building in hometown, and convert it into an art gallery or atelier for aspiring artists – something where community can benefit from it. This video has inspired me to do some more research it what it takes. Thank you

  18. Storing the pencils in an eye glass case is brilliant! I keep my mechanical pencils, their leads and regular pencils there, along with erasers and sharpeners. Everything is in one handy location.

  19. holy crap this video just convinced me to buy 16 comic markers, umm maybe I am a bit impulsive as I don't really like to draw I just like owning drawing supplies. Guess it makes me look like a superior. I might even buy more:)

  20. I’m in highschool and it seems like everybody is already expecting me to chose what I want to do for the rest of my life right now and I’ve always liked drawing. This channel has really helped me realize how creative architects can be.. I just really like it 🙂

  21. I’m an ink architect, but when it comes to mechanical pencils I cannot go smaller than 0.7mm. And I use 6mm 6B. Short clutch.

    Used to be hooked on niji stylists, but now I’m back to whatever you can get at local stores.

  22. I decided to study chemistry in college, now I am retired and thinking of moving to Colorado, maybe build a house there. When I was in 7th grade I took drafting class which I really loved. I fell in love with architecture and since I had all of my drawing equipment at home too I used to spend hours drawing my own designs. Some of my favorite designs were circular houses even though I knew they were expensive to build I did it for the art. I wasn't sure that I wanted to study architecture because I also loved chemistry but I remember walking through the architecture building at UC Berkeley to see what they were up to. Now I stumbled upon your channel and am intrigued about your sketch books and methods and tools. I never sketched when I was young just went right to the drawing. Recently I was also intrigued by Lego architecture and bought one of their general Lego sets because I like the idea of building in 3d. Now I realize that the building site is so important before the design so I don't really do any detailed designs. But I like the idea of sketching that you use to generate fresh ideas for the sake of ideas alone. I look foward to more of you videos and doing some of my own designs. Thanks for your channel.

  23. When I found a Muji store I had to go and check out the sketchbooks, but I must say what you call "egg shell finish" is kind of a deal breaker for me.
    I can imagine the smudging and the graphite not sticking to it… If it wasn't for that, I would have bought one.

  24. It’s seems that you really like the muji sketchbook, yet it’s such an inconvenience that you have to adjust all your supplies to compensate for it.

  25. Nice to see that your hand shakes when you're drawing straight lines for your boxes. I thought I was coming down with Parkinsons. Drawing a line in the opposite direction you would normally go takes the waviness out of your lines.

  26. Not an architect but an artist and someone who has rediscovered his passion for drawing. Subbed to you as i find what you do a point of difference and refreshing which results in inspiration. Your voice is also pleasent to the ear. Great video and honored to be a part of the channel.

  27. Hey,

    Have you tried sketching on digital e-ink devices like the Onyx Boox Nova pro or Note? Please share if you have. If not, then please try and then share.

    Best regards,

  28. You video is some how misleading… I though you were going to show and tell us more about your sketches. I will love to hear some histories about why you sketched then or how you were feeling in the moment…

  29. Sir, I have to confess I really can't resist the urge to consume your extremely well made film material. It's been a week I have discovered you Eric and I feel like I don't know how I was able to live a happy and fulfilled life before. I would like to congratulate you just for being the human that you are. It is so comforting to know humans like you still exist. You give so much quality, in such a perfect format, I really have developed a truly deep interest in you and what you are doing in a tremendously small time. The connection I have with your work and how you bring it to life is just outstanding. I just wanted to drop you a line and open up on how much respect I have for you and your work. It is incredible how profoundly inspiring you can be, even while showing the tools you use to get results. After all those years of faithfully dissecting Youtube aiming for quality I can say I finally found the Petrus equivalent to film making. Congratulations and thank you Eric.

  30. i really want that sketchbook but when i try to look it up they are like 15 bucks and that's just crazy for one sketchbook! but i would love to sketch in it so i will keep looking for a alternitive.

  31. I've used only B lead for a long time and to my opinion that's more suitable for the default lead in pencils. It feels better than the HB and does not smudge much.

  32. I glad I'm not the only one who will glue something over a drawing I can't stand to look at. lol

  33. I really need to study English to understand what you're saying…. I'm brazilian…
    I know Italian. But it does not help at all. kkkkk

    videos like yours are not made by Brazilians.
    Well,…I think that I talked words that do sense! I'm sorry by my english rs

  34. I'm a fine artist and recently found your channel; I just subscribed. These are great tips and I love hearing the perspective of others in creative fields. I had been looking for a new sketchbook to try out and just ordered a muji on amazon. Thank you for the recommendation! As for bleed through I bought a pack of Yupo paper and I cut out slip sheets for all my sketchbooks. It is waterproof, extremely smooth and has a great feel while sketching.

  35. Stumbled onto your channel researching Architecture with my daughter. Your videos are so professional as well as your architecture work! I can tell you spend a lot of time editing and production and it shows. Keep up the great work at your work and video production! You have two new subscribers!

  36. i would be so much glad to have you as our teacher back in college. it would have given us more inkling or inspired to be MORE creative – what a real architect should be. (hands down). please share more tips. we learn alot from here.

  37. For those looking for a hardcover sketchbook that lays flat like a ring-bound book, check out the brand Cottonwood Arts.

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