Updated: Aug 18, 2020
As curators and as practising architects we have always had an affinity towards analog drawing. Often, the pressure of work and life directs us towards more digital processes and leaves little space for drawing in our downtime. This lockdown period has opened that space again and we find ourselves drawing again. The will to maintain this process has always been foremost to maintain the skill of observation, representation and eye – to mind -to hand coordination. However drawing and the associated act of mindfulness have also proven to be an important part of coping with the realities of a global pandemic and all the complexities that follow it. Anxiety seems to fade away whilst drawing.
As aspiring student architects we always enjoyed the mindful elements of preparing a drawing. We preferred either to work with hardline hand drawings or carefully in CAD in a process that mimicked a drawing board. For example, manually hatching on paper, repetitive drawing in CAD or repeated slicing of card may seem laborious and banal, however these tasks have always been a method for our minds to wander away from the issue of the day and venture into the potential opportunities. Quite often when drawing in this way we would have a piece of sketch paper close at hand in order to draft ideas which were beginning to form.
Our awareness of the act of drawing and its relationship to both our design process and mental health has always been present. We relate it to the hours of repetitive practice an athlete might undertake in training, a musician’s routine of repeating scales and pieces or a joiner’s process of carefully working wood. These are the processes of a grafter who must not only conquer a skill or physical process but also be tested by a wandering mind. It requires both a fluidity of thought and focus.
In these strange times the benefits of this graft seem very present for our mental well-being but also as a necessary and useful practice which we must hold on to when the world begins to wake up again. Just as architects fight for a space of particular importance in a design; we must also fight for the space in our lives and our process to draw in reverie. It is essential for our design skills but also beneficial to our well being as creatures of ink and paper.