Analog Insights: Complimenting Digital Tools with Hand Drawing

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AC courtyard sketch · Analog Insights: Complimenting Digital Tools with Hand Drawing
Ana Cubillos
23 Mar 2023 News, Research, All

As the previous entries in the Analog Insight series mention: hand drawing is still a key tool in Marvel’s design process, whether in the initial ideation phases or in the carefully curated creation of rendered images for public approval as in the Orchard Beach case study. To continue this conversation, we want to walk you through our process for a multi-family residential campus proposal we recently developed. It illustrates the different ways in which we used digital hand drawing for a brief pursuit: from a collaborative and multi-disciplinary ideation process, to rendered illustrations for the selection committee.

Throughout the initial steps of our design, we worked back and forth between digital models and site photographs. The design team uses sketches over these to explore and exchange ideas between team members. For example, in a very ‘quick and dirty’ set of literal broad strokes sketches over snapshots of a digital model of the site, we considered the crenulation of the neighboring building as a pattern from which our massing proposal might emerge.

Image by Ana Cubillos

In a process where we now have access to digital representations of many cities around the world, with software that allows us to hover over and under these cities’ buildings and infrastructure, and to scroll from a scale of 3”:1’ to 1:10000 in seconds, hand drawing is an opportunity to momentarily ‘silence’ the abundance of data at our disposal at every move of your mouse cursor - a way to digest and decant the data and geometry, to identify site patterns that emerge, and clarify our approach to these.

Left image by Tonghuan Wu. Right image by Guido Hartray

We utilized hand drawings layered over site photographs and massing model snapshots to imagine new possibilities within our project’s sites and in a collaborative way between different disciplines of the design team. Sketching over these photorealistic images is a way for each designer to intuitively navigate, inhabit and furnish the spaces pictured.

Similar to the Orchard Beach case study we intentionally considered the type of imagery to be shown to the selection committee. The selection process for this pursuit included the participation and input from current campus residents that would be impacted by the project. It was important for us to leave room for imagination and conversations within our images: we embraced the open-ended, indefinite nature of hand drawings to leave room for future residents to imagine their future homes and shared spaces. We hope that just as we imagined playgrounds, basketball courts, and living rooms with every trace of our hands, they might see themselves swinging, playing and enjoying them in their own ways - not as dictated by an exact photo-realistic rendering.

Image by Ana Cubillos

The previous entries in the Analog Insights series can be read at the following links:

Analog Insights: Hand Drawing at Marvel

Analog Insights Orchard Beach Case Study

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