Drawing

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I don't think I've seen many threads on drawing/sketching here.
A point of view I'm considering is that it's difficult to "design" anything without being able to sketch. Thus I've developed some interest in improving my skills in this area. For instance, I might like to sketch some (bed) back boards to show my wife, or just for my own amusement. I think that in woodworking that some sketching is assumed--and while I think I can draw better than those who say they "can't", I believe I have plenty of room to improve too!
I will distinguish here between "a sketch", "a formal design document drawing",and "art". My interests also do not extend into color thus far.
There appear to be dozens of books with titles like "How To Draw XXX", where XXX is horses, cartoons, people, ..., but (for some strangle reason) none on "furniture"! ; ) Book suggestions welcome (I am considering "How To Draw What You See"). Until yesterday I never tried drawing with a graphite pencil softer than a regular #2.
Coincidentally, the newest issue of FWW, which arrived a few days ago, contained an article encouraging "old fashioned formal drawing", on $38 paper (containing perspective lines...), using a a t-square and a drawing board and addititional wasted $ for tracing equipment, etc.. IMO, I almost feel like the author should apologize in the next issue and show how to do everything better, faster and cheaper on SketchUp! Ironically, I wouldn't say SketchUp is for sketching as I have used the term above.
Bill
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On 6/13/2011 7:58 PM, Bill wrote:

I recall way back when I took drafting courses in school. Long before computers, when drawings were done on a straight edged drawing board. Add to that the t-square, right triangle, 30-60-90 triangle and the scale. With those simple tools and the help of dividers and a bow compass we could draw just about any thing. Even more interesting was knowing how to draw a perfect elipse with a bow compass and triangles.
The first year class was very disciplined with lots of rules and lots of lettering. The last quarter of that year we had to give up all the tools except for the drawing board and pencil. All drawing till the end of the year would be free hand. I was shocked as to how simple this seamed and how accurate the drawings were considering every thing appeared very close to scale.
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Leon wrote:

I did minimal drafting in woodshop and metalshop classes in high school. My dad also had a drafting table set up at home for a few years before that and I experimented by trying to copy a few schematic diagrams I saw in a book (when I was about 13). I didn't have the discipline (or guidance or expertise) at the time to draw the diagrams as neat as the ones in the book. My dad was a civil engineer (though). I tried to read "Popular Electronics" from the school library every month--that was some of the "hardest reading" I did in those days. I believe Popular Electronics folded into Byte magazine around 1980 or so.
Bill
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On 6/13/2011 10:54 PM, Bill wrote:

I recall drafting/mechanical drawing in shop too. Formal drafting is considerably more disciplined. In drafting class we were never allowed to copy anything already drawn. We had to use real objects for our drawings. We had to hold the objects, measure them. etc. To be good at mechanical drawings you have to be some what AR. ;~) I have loosened up some what over the years and have been using CAD since the mid 80's. My sketching, printing, hand writing has gone to the dogs.
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Snip

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WW wrote:

Small world, my teachers got after me when I was about 8 for not writing 8 the cursive way too. My school shop teachers insisted on block printing even in things like material lists. If there's a lesson there, it must be that it's hard to please everyone! By the way, the article I mentioned earlier was written by Michael Fortune, and I'm no one to 2nd-guess him!
Bill
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Bill wrote:

Here are some relevant comments about Michael Fortune from the FWW website:
<snip> Michael Fortune has designed and built furniture for clients across the continent for more than 30 years. He is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary furniture masters. A key to Michael's success as a designer/builder is his sketchbook, where he brainstorms and refines ideas before committing to a more detailed illustration of a final design. His old, dog-eared sketchbooks are also a reservoir of new ideas. <snip>
His approach, as described briefly above, seems "natural" to me.
Bill
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On 6/14/2011 1:16 PM, Bill wrote:

My "sketchbook" just happens to be on my hard drive, where I "brainstorm, and refine ideas before committing to ... a final design".
I just use a mouse ... a pencil/pen slows me down.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
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Remember, Grasshoppa, just because someone is writing for a magazine does not make them a Master, and one way is not the only way. Look at the vast theoretical and practical differences between the finish masters Jewitt, Dresdner, and Flexner. Compare Lord Roy and that plaid-shirted clown with the funny accent. <gd&r>
-- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -- Chinese Proverb
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First, get a nice architectural drafting book like Frank Ching's _Architectural Graphics_. I found a 1985 copy for a couple bucks. The 2009 version is $18. Oh, ISBN.nu has the old version for $7.50.

Learning how to draw formal design documents will help you with your sketching. Your pencil will automatically know where to go to start.

What do you know of perspective? Do you think in 2D or 3D?

Try some of these on for size. Watch for sparks:
http://goo.gl/7oJa0 freehand sketching
http://goo.gl/wGA8T design your own furniture (maybe not)
http://goo.gl/EPv6Y Bob Lang's _Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture_
http://isbn.nu/9789063692537 Sketching, the basics $$ It's so new, it's not even published yet.
-- You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. -- James Lane Allen
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Looks interesting. Thanks!

I believe you, but it seems like one should make several sketches before drawing a formal design document. One of the things I noticed in browsing what I could of the book Architectural Graphics were the mention of different *types* of drawings. That seems to me like what is missing from, or could complement, a typical sketch that I might make.

I know to include a "view point" and draw the edges, of say a piece of lumber, toward it. I was hoping to expand my "shading" skills.
On a scale of 1-10 for a non-engineer my sketching is probably a 6 or 7. I think my sketching would look poor compared to that of an engineer. Maybe we should "Draw Blinky"? : )

I saved a copy of all of these and I will visit them. Thanks!

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"Bill" wrote:

--------------------------------------------------- You want a mechanical drafting text book published prior to 1970.
Anything after that will reflect the transition to CAD.
Lew
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On 6/13/2011 11:53 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

Agreed but may be not quite that far back, I was taking advanced drafting/architectural class in the early 70's, buying text books published in the early 70's and there was no mention of CAD. IIRC CAD was not on the radar even back then. I have a friend that is an architect about 5 years my junior, he has not yet started using a computer for his drawings. He is self employed and quite successful. He has one part time employee and he is contemplating retiring, a millionaire. So some one even back in the late 70's early 80's was still publishing mechanical drafting/architecture books.
But agreeing again you do need to get a book that was published when drawing with out the aid of a computer was still mainstream.
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On 6/13/2011 11:40 PM, Bill wrote:

Actually you start off with simple mechanical drawings, drafting is a very strict style of drawing with lots of tricks and rules. We never sketched anything in preparation of drawing what would be the finished drawing. The drawing required preparation so that it would be centered properly on the sheet of paper. Basically you started with determining the over all size of the object being drawn and that gave you a starting point for each view. I don't recall the formula but there was on used to center isometric drawings on the sheet.
And as Larry has indicated once you have done a load of those properly structured drawings, sketching free hand seems to come naturally. You develope a very keen eye for things that stick out in a tool assisted mechanical drawing which dont look right. You find your self comparing lines that should be parallel or perpendicular. As you start sketching you do the same thing and quickly make corrections as you sketch those lines.

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wrote:

Yes, that might be better for him. http://goo.gl/5Bg8I fi dollah, delivered. From the Seventies, before things got hosed in schools.

Right, you learn how things are supposed to look from whatever perspective, and then sketch them in an emulation of the more formal drawing.
-- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -- Chinese Proverb
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Looks like that may be a suitable book.

I understand. I should be grateful for the artistic skills I have--even though they aren't honed with the sort of precision Leon described ("drafting is a very strict style of drawing with lots of tricks and rules...") I think I will keep practicing as opportunities present themselves. I now have a pad and pencils nearby. I was hoping for structured exercises, and I'm sure to find some in the book you suggested--though I'm sure it's rather the T-square/drafting table approach. My original intention was to let SketchUp pick up where my "sketches" leave off. I'll try to balance my strategy with what you and Leon are suggesting. Perhaps by getting the book you linked to above or similar. When I started this thread I was asking how I might go about learning to "sketch" better. I understand that learning to do formal drawings will help my sketching. Maybe I can learn some of the theories and apply it to my sketching and reduce the "overhead"? %) Becoming acquainted with the theories are will be a good start! I've got my dad's rules, triangles, and compasses just a feet away--oh, and the slide rule too!!! Might be handy if I wish to sketch a "spring-pole lathe"-ala Roy Underhill. :) I need to be careful what I put on my plate so I don't burst!--lol.
By the way, the drill press baseboard (with wheels and legs) is complete. I "just" need to assemble the DP on top of it. I will try to assemble it on the ground and lift it up. Admittedly, it's been intimidating me for a few days...my wife underwent some surgery too, but I accept responsibility for the delay. I need to take full advantage now of the currently ideal weather! I can practice drawing snowmen in the winter, to spec.! :)
Bill
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Reduce the overhead. Right. Be sure to overthink it. It's critical at this point, lad.

Uh, yeah. ;)

Hey, hey hey. Save those detailed jobs for later on, once you have a feel for this drawing/sketching thing, OK?
-- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -- Chinese Proverb
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I just returned from the used book store. There was not a (suitable) mechanical drawing book in the place. I did examine a book containing designs of woodworking projects. Looking at the drawings it contained made me appreciate much better the connection to mechanical drawing that you, Leon and Lew have been advocating. Many of the other drawing books had drawings of naked people in them without even one piece of furniture--let alone dove tail joinery! Someone told me that in college that the engineering students and the art students were on completely different parts of campus. That it was like 2 different worlds. Having examined the drawing books for myself, I understand that facts all that much better now... : )
Thanks all for the drawing lesson!
Bill
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I would't expect there to be. Free and cheap CAD programs took over nearly thirty years ago.

Misogynists and Chauvinists could have detected same in those books. <shameful grin>

Indeed. Engineering students are concerned with function while art students are concerned only with form, to the exclusion of function.

Jewelcome.
-- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -- Chinese Proverb
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wrote:

A lot of people seem to have trouble with this. In high school I was pretty artistic and everyone thought I should go into drafting. I had some mechanical design interest too, but unrelated to art.
Art and drafting are very loosely related. An excellent draftsman does not need to be artistic - drafting is the language of engineering and the precise definition of objects. With that said, some guys I knew who were artistic by nature could produce some very nice engineering drawings. They just looked better.
RonB
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