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Architecture Drawings / Essential Tips to IMPROVE them

Discover these essential tips any architect needs to know to improve their digital and hand drawings.

Hi everyone! Welome to Show It Better,

I tried to make this list as different as possible so everyone can leave with at least one valuable tip. Some of these tips are very personal and things that i always use when drawing. This also applies to hand drawings as well!  So lets get started!

Don´t want to read? Watch the video here:!


Darken Whites/ Lighten Blacks

Sometimes true black and true white can be very overwhelming to our eyes. The easiest thing we can do nowadays is go to photoshop and select black and fill our walls or select white for a solid background. But, having these strong colors can be too strong on the viewer and lose sight of other details in the drawings.


I love for example when light and darkness is saved for special occasions, we value it so much more. You can see this in many buildings, sometimes when you are in a hospital, or a mall, there is light everywhere! Everything is filled with light and sometimes our eyes finish wasted with this. Instead, there are some buildings that create moments of light and moments of darkness, When you are in a gothic church everything is very dim, until a beam of sunlight enters! and we value light!

This also applies to your drawings. Make a white or black a precious prize. Only use them for special things. Dont give them away that easy.


So if you are creating a drawing, select your black color, and lighten it up a little. Or select your white background and make it off white. There are many examples in advertising that are a awesome example of this.


Reference Classic Drawings


So many students need to hear this nowadays. I know that we are in a digital area and when you are creating a drawing you instantly turn to your favourite architects or instagram pages to get references. This is cool! buttt…. overtime it can get very unoriginal and your drawings will just be one of a bunch. They will all be the same!


There are so many valuable references in classical drawings that its so crazy how underrated it its. When i mean classical drawings i dont only mean 15th to 18th century drawings, i mean drawings that have stood in time! From Boullées dramatic drawings, Choisys axonometric details, Mies van der rohe collages, Michael Gandys paintings, Friedrich Schinkels scenerys, and Aldo Rossis drawings and paintings.

There are tons of references to look at and practically apply to your own projects.


What if your next section was like Newtons Cenotaph section? A cloudy dramatic sky, dark to light shadows, a textured background…

Or instead of a typical axonometric view you try a Choisy style axonometric where the view is from below?

Or forget about renders! leave only the essential.

Surprise your teachers and colleagues with different ways of showing your projects. If the idea is clear, then it is a good drawing.



Always have clear what information you need to get through to your clients or teachers. Dont just make pretty drawings. If it lacks basic information like indicating the north, the scale of the drawing, where a section is made, or basic dimmensions then it is useless!


And on the other side if you fill your drawings with technical information like materials, details, structure calculations and every type of dimension you find on autocad, then it will be oversaturated!!

A project has many phases, you want to do a drawing that goes with each of them. So if you are in a schematic phase, then you dont want to be too detailed, but if you are in a construction phase, you have to be as detailed as possible!!


When you think you are done with a drawing, take the point of view of another person and make basic questions. What view is this? Top view?section? facade? Do i need to indicate it or is it clear?

Where is the sun coming from? Should i insert a north?

What is the scale of this? should i insert a human scale?

Are all these dimensions really necessary?



Know the Size of your Text


This is such a common issue everywhere! It doesn´t matter if its printed or digital drawings many people dont realize how their drawings are going to be seen or read, so they dont put too much attention in text size.

Its very often that Im reviewing university projects and from my point of view i cant read a single text because of how small it is. Or in the opposite way, some people fill their presentation boards with only text and leave no white space!

What I recommend is

  1. Knowing where your drawing is going to be seen. If you are presenting a competition, and you know the judges are going to have a printed presentation board on the walls, then stand 1.20 from your wall and try to read text. Once you find a size that is right apply that to your presentation boards.
  2. Dont get creative with typography for your architecture drawings. You just need a legible lettering, thats it. Dont overdo it.


Align your Drawing Symbols

You want your drawing to look as clean and understandable as possible. This may seem like you are a perfectionist, but if a drawing symbol is not aligned with the rest, people are going to tell the difference. If your dimension lines are all a litte bit distant from each other then we are going to notice.

even if it takes a little bit more time, align everything in your drawings, you will see the difference in the end.



I have said this before and Ill say it again, have a color palette and stick to it. This applies to  renderings but also applies to plans, sections etc. There should be a dominant color, or a set of colors that go with each other.

If you dont know what colors to use, try a color palette generator. Insert your reference drawing, movie still or painting and it will generate a color palette. Then when you are doing your drawing, import the color palette and applhy the colors accordingly. Also make sure the colors betwenn the sections, facades, and plans match. That way they look part of a whole.


I hope these tips were useful for now! Ill try to include more in the future, What do you think? which one of these do you already apply in your projects? Type it in the comments ! See you in the next video!




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