Interior Fabric Rendering with Line
May 22, 2013
Marker Rendered Floor Plan
June 3, 2013
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Design ideas don’t always start with a neat and tidy drawing.  Take a look at these images of preliminary plan ideas.  I call this visual thinking.  Ideas are popping as shapes are being drawn on the page.   The motion of drawing will generate design solutions.  The first napkin sketch is drawn by Jill Seidner who is an interior designer based in Los Angeles.

Below is an example from Ari Settle’s Interior Design Portfolio of a quick sketchy floor plan and perspective drawing showing the design ideas.


Project Massena Modern  has a quick napkin sketch on their blog of their landscape project.


Preliminary 1What do your preliminary design plan sketches look like?  How do you utilize visual thinking when generating ideas for design projects? I start my space planning ideas on scrap paper, move them to grid paper and to continue to plan in 1/4″ scale.  I will create two or three quick, sloppy, preliminary sketches before I reach a successful final plan.  The movement of my hand and seeing the image being created generate ideas for me as I am working.  Notice in my sketch below, there are two furniture placement ideas in the top left corner, which would be better, three chairs or a round table with chairs?

Floor plan grid


  1. katybee says:

    Hello! I was searching for other like-minded house plan junkies and happened across your site! You ask, “What do your preliminary design plan sketches look like?” When I create a new plan I usually have in my head something that sparked the new plan- perhaps a design of a kind of house I would like to have, a variation on a plan I saw somewhere else or a re-design of a house I have encountered in real life. So with these constraints in mind, I just start drawing on graph paper- engineering paper is my favorite. If I am feeling messy it comes out messy if I am feeling neat… you get the idea. I have certain things that I know I like: 4 ft hallways just feel nice and cushy- especially in the small houses I like to draw; 3 ft interior doors are standard and so would be cheaper for me to buy; a front hall closet is de rigueur. If I don’t have graph paper and/or a still surface and I just have to get the idea out, then everything is much more sketchy but I transfer it to graph paper as soon as possible. I have found that if I don’t have the measurement crutch of the graph paper then it is all just random proportions on my part. Perhaps that will change over time.
    I will definitely check out the Architect’s Notebook that you mentioned in an earlier post. I too love hand drawing because I love people and hand drawing is as thrilling to me as a detective finding a fingerprint, it’s like peeping through the curtain at a person’s internal film, like finding a partially obscured treasure map to their mind. So exciting.
    – k at

    • drawinghand says:

      Wow, so appreciating your information and comments. It is fun for me to hear how other people approach the creative process. Thank you for taking the time to add your comment. Take care – keep drawing – Stephanie

  2. katybee says:

    Oops- I see it is actually Architect’s Sketchbook, not Notebook and I see now it is a book not a blog as I had originally assumed. Oddly enough most of the examples that they show in the article are not as… raw as I had assumed they would be from the title image… that’s not bad just different. The title image reminds me of Vihart on youtube doing her visual representations of math concepts. Yum.

  3. Heather says:

    This was a great post! I picked this topic because my current creative process has little to do with sketching. So this is a little bit of a gear shift for me and it’s by far the technique I need the most work on. I’ve never been good creating things with pens and pencils. I’ve found that, for homework, I’ll usually sketch something 2-3 times (it’s so hard not to grab the ruler or triangle!) then move on to drafting or graph paper only after I’ve exiled the sketches in the bottom of the trash can. Yep, I hide them. But I keep telling myself that this is practice and not the finished product. And after reading this, I definitely see the benefit of being able to transfer what’s in my brain to something someone else can visualize, too. Now, having said that, I will also admit that the initial sketch does help me to break down the idea or project into more manageable parts and keeps me from getting overwhelmed. Baby steps, right?

  4. Thanks for posting my student’s work (Ari Settles). I developed a series of sketch exercises in my digital media course to aid students in visual thinking by hand and through digital means. Appreciate your work on this blog!

    • drawinghand says:

      Hello Kathleen, Thank you for taking time to write me a note. I am excited that you are able to use the information that I am posting. Great! Take care – Stephanie

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