You do you

Maybe I’ve been listening to way to much pop music when I came up with that title, but it seemed appropriate after I spent the last week trying to determine what I was going to write about.  And let me be totally honest from the beginning, I was not following my own advice up until…. well, the last few days.

So it has been a while since we have had an #Architalks post, but they are back!  Ok, ok, I can’t hear over all the cheering in the back.  This is number 23 in the series, and we have a new twist this year.  Instead of Bob giving us all subjects to write about, he solicited ideas from all of us, threw them in the sorting hat, and somehow came up with a list of subjects for the entire year.  And wouldn’t you know it, mine came up first.  Style, yup, that’s it just style.  I saw a great question over the week asking “What is style?”  And it got me to thinking in how many different directions this post could go in.

Should it be about ne0-classicism vs. post modernism,  the use of masonry materials vs. curtain wall designs, or maybe the age old question of why does an architects sense of style always seem to revolve around black clothes.

A quick google search and you can see what I mean.

Nah, those seem a little bit to in depth and honestly, they tend to get a bit boring after about, I don’t know, 30 seconds.

I think it finally hit me over the last week when two things happened.  I had a conversation with one of our friend’s kids, and I decided to do start embracing something that I’ve typically been told is the wrong way to do it.  Over my lifetime I have taken quite a few drawings classes/lessons.  Even as recent as going to a presentation at the last state convention to listen to professional architectural sketchers discuss what made their drawings successful in the their eyes.  Trying to learn how to improve what I have enjoyed doing since I was a kid.  I remember things like move your elbow, not your wrist; draw a curve and then work to mimic that curve over and over again; when you draw the corners of two squares meeting, you draw two actual corners, not two lines overlapping each other; and so on.  Some of these I have kept with me, some of them I have let slip away for one reason or another.  Typically I either don’t like the way it comes out when I use it, or I can just never seem to get it right.  I guess you can say I have a “style” that consists of typically shorter strokes with the overall sketch usually not being bigger than about the size of my fist.  The thing is, I didn’t realize that was my style, until I started trying to figure out what to write for this post.  If you look at my social media feeds you will see a serious lack of sketches present in it.  Typically because the way I usually go about doing a sketch was also the way that all of my instructors over the years have said not to do.  Well, not all of them, I have kept some of those lessons locked away and even tried to pass them on.  Keep you strokes going in the same direction throughout your sketch, keep it small – focus on what you feel is the most important part, and how to blend your lead strokes into a very soft fade.  I kept looking at sketches of people I admire and could never come close to the quality that I saw in their sketches.

img_0556  img_2032

Looking back on some of these in my sketch book, I am just left with the thought of…. What the heck was I thinking???

So after looking through one of the Instagram feeds of one of the architects I know (well, at least know him digitally) I decided to give my old familiar techniques another try.  I’m not sure if it is the subject, the style in them, or something that just feels familiar, but I actually really like how these turned out.  I have some more that I have done and plan on evolving them into something that is completely my own.  Not sure what that will be, but at least I am enjoying what I come up with along the way.




What I have noticed about myself too since I started this, is that I am now sketching more in my meeting notes, and it is helping me remember things that were going on during the conversation, not just one piece of information, but the idea of what was being discussed.

It’s so surreal to think that this far into my career, I am going back to a technique I had long since set aside (with a few adjustments).  To be corny for a second, I guess it really was the journey of attending all those classes and presentations, listening to what everyone had learned what creates a good sketch in their own perspective, and struggling through all of the styles that just didn’t or wouldn’t work for me.  Kind of goes along with that saying; you need to know the rules, before you can break the rules.  It took me a while, but I guess I found my style.

Wondering what the rest of the #Architalks crew came up with for style, I am.  Click on the attached links and see what everyone came up with.  I will be.

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Name That Stile!

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Defining an Architect’s Style

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
What’s Your Style?

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Should You Pick Your Architect Based on Style or Service?

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@SKRIBBLES_INC)
Regression or Evolution : Style

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Stylized Hatred

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
What’s in a Style?

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
style…final words

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The AREsketches Style

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architectural Style

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
5 Styles of an Aspiring Architect

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Architects Atelier (@sokokyu)
Loaded With Style

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
What Style Do You Build In?

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architectalks 23 – Style

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)


9 Replies to “You do you”

  1. Brian, enjoyed the post! Thanks for sharing your experience and setting up this month’s theme too!

    I can appreciate the way you found your style and I love the sketches you came up with (especially the last one – particularly cool).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: style: #architalks

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