Sketch it up

The value of drawing skills in art and design has diminished over the past few decades. As the status quo was challenged in the 1960s, especially in the arts, having superior drawing skills became less important.

Landscape architect Edward Hutchison, who says that he was ‘pretty hopeless at drawing and tended to avoid it’ in his early years, has regained those skills. He highlights the value of drawing in his work, and in design in general, in a new exhibition. More than 300 works will be on show, from initial landscape drawings, site drawings, sketching ideas and plans, to isometric drawings, perspectives, construction detail drawings and money drawings, which explain the cost of the scheme to the contractor. Not only is drawing an enjoyable process, it enables you ‘to get underneath the surface of things’, says Hutchison. ‘If you see something in a landscape, drawing it gets you immersed in it, and you generate thoughts during that time.’ Showing a client rough sketches can convey the spirit of a project more effectively than immaculate computer plans, adds Hutchison. ‘You need to use all the tools available. Use the computer when it’s absolutely supreme, but not for all work. And even though photography is invaluable, it doesn’t tell you everything – site drawings can often be more informative than photographs.’ Hutchison concedes that the debate about the value of drawing has been rumbling for a while, but it hasn’t been articulated adequately yet – something his celebration hopes to address.

The Work of Edward Hutchison is on at the Drawing Space, 1 Brixton Road, London SW9, from 22 May to 5 June

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