ARC 3291 │ Analytic Drawing and Sketching

Active Thinking Through Drawing

VIA Analytic Drawing and Sketching | UF Vicenza Institute of Architecture, Vicenza Italy | Spring 2009

On Drawing

Drawing neither begins nor ends with marks on paper. It is an active process that begins with critical looking, sensing, and thinking. It is inquisitive, seeking meaning, structure, and understanding. Drawing requires measured marks that aim to trace and make visual the critical processes at work within the mind. Our goal is not a static image but a record of thought in progress. With practice, one is able to develop a fluidity of thought and action that allows for seamless communications between the two. Drawing allows for this critical communion with the external world.

This course has the following fundamental goals and objectives:

  • Freehand drawing skill development
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Active thinking through drawing (analytic + projective)

Our expectation is that through this course, students will increase their drawing capabilities through practice. Evidence of continued practice and effort is required. We expect to see improvement in student work, and a gradually diminishing space between intention and action.


The drawing sequence begins with a series of freehand studies in the first half of the semester, moving towards constructed/measured drawings/assemblages in the second half of the term. The freehand work focuses on drawing from life, using soft lead pencils and/or other soft media. It includes drawing studies created in the urban spaces and streets of Vicenza, independent work conducted during self-directed travel, and studio-based drawing exercises. The constructed work is more studio-based and measured. That portion of the course includes creating perspectives / axonometrics / layered plans and/or other exploded / composite drawings. It ranges in scale from the detail to the building to the city. The drawing exercises correspond to the following four trajectories of study:

  • Drawing Negative/Framed Space: Representative drawing exercises: human figure/body (spaces within + between), stool, chair, city (street), arcades, porticoes, naves/aisles, trees (branches), sectional investigations, foreground/background, etc.
  • Drawing Surface, Contour, Topographies, Texture: Representative drawing exercises: folded paper and fabric, figure studies (arms/legs crossed close to body), building facades, figural sculpture, horizon/cityscape, etc.
  • Drawing Structure, Systems, Decodings: Exercises include emphasis on rhythm, repetition, order, sequence, itinerary, etc.
  • Drawing Materiality + Assemblage: Exercises include emphasis on layers, intersection, interaction, overlap, envelope, etc.

We focus on the first two of these trajectories in the first half of the semester, culminating in the trip to Roma at mid-term. Students then work towards development of the latter two tracks following break.


Following each weekend of self-directed travel and/or time in Vicenza, students are expected to bring original drawings and/or photocopies of selected independent drawing work for review and discussion during the beginning of Monday morning’s class. On faculty-led travel (to Venezia, Padova, Verona, Roma, etc.), students are required to draw as one component of the travel, for review during the trip and upon return to Vicenza. Students are also be expected to draw during class time, as instructed.

Student Work