Why hand drafting still works...
By: Josh Rucinski
Speed. Often there is a difficulty in working with 2D or particularly 3D programs in a timely manner versus the pencil sketch. It is indeed faster to draw in precision in a drafting program. They offer real world measurements versus a scale, but it comes at a heavy price: Setup. The setup I refer to snapping to orthographic mode, using a polyline versus a line tool and inputting the the measurements using the keyboard. During Construction documents these aspects enlarge to important data that can be endlessly replicated and printed, faster than any hand drafting.
However speed is not always a simple formula of how fast or how many lines we can put on a page. There is also the schematic design process, and this is where there is still no real computer program out there that can be as useful as the hand sketch.
One reason is scope. In a computer realm, it is very easy to get lost in a drawing, trying to perfect a detail when in fact the whole of the drawing is still at stake. Is it even a good design? Hand drafting by its imperfection of scale does not allow the designer this kind of manipulations, therefore the design is still scaled. Big ideas should start with big scales which conversely create small drawings. They can be folded and manipulated in a very fast and continual manner, without getting lost in the details. Perhaps there are designers who can keep their discipline when in the schematic design process within the computer, but I challenge with an interview.
I've found basically no one in the architectural school that I have asked who can keep the design of a building in schematic mode to a finished schematic model without falling prey to designing the ceiling fan or starting a wall section.
In manual drafting this process still happens because architectural students all have ADHD (just kidding). I meant to say that we all are fascinated with design and we want to get that right. In the computer, this means a small drawing inside a big drawing. In the manual drafting this means separate drawings and most important a working record of those drawings. As the designer bounds from one drawing to another, the process is in a continual refinement.
In a nutshell some are better at sketching then others, and some are better at computer sketching then others and often this is two different camps of people.
Hand sketching is still a contender for speed because its organic nature allows incremental growth that might be smoother than radical jumps around that can happen when the scope of the project is all over the place.