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Architectural Illustration Methods: Hand-drawn vs. Digital Techniques

Choosing the right tools for architectural illustration

Architectural illustration is an art form that not only captures the essence of architectural design but also communicates its vision and potential to those who observe it. There are many divisions and subdivisions of architectural illustration, but we can easily distinguish them into two types: hand-drawn architectural illustrations and digital architectural illustrations. Here, I’ll tell you a little more about each one and the tools needed to create them.

Hand-drawn architectural illustrations

These are the most basic form of architectural illustration. Although they may seem simple, they have the power to convey the essence of a design quickly and fluidly. They allow us to capture ideas in the moment, explore different concepts, and communicate our ideas instantly. It’s one of our favorites when starting to create an idea for an illustration.


· Graphite pencils of different hardnesses

· Ink pens

· Quality drawing paper

Digital architectural illustrations

These involve the creation of two-dimensional or three-dimensional images representing an architectural design from various perspectives. They can range from floor plans to detailed exterior views. This tool is invaluable for project presentations, providing a clear understanding of spatial arrangement and architectural design, as well as allowing the implementation of textures, vegetation, and specific furniture for clarity and detail.

Recommended Software:

· Adobe Photoshop

· Autodesk AutoCAD

· SketchUp

Step-by-step guide to architectural illustration techniques

Architectural illustration is a creative universe that goes beyond simple representations; it is a powerful communication tool that brings ideas and projects to life. Whether through hand-drawn illustrations or the infinite possibilities of digital technology, which encompasses a wide range of techniques and tools, each with its own purpose and application.

From capturing the essence of a design in a sketch to creating detailed visualizations that allow exploration of a space before construction, architectural illustration provides a means to share visions, convey emotions, and present projects cleanly and aesthetically.

Whether you prefer the authenticity and warmth of hand-drawn sketches or the precision and versatility of digital tools, the important thing is to find the technique that best suits your style and needs.

So go ahead, there are no limits to your creativity. If you’re thinking of starting with digital architectural illustration, we recommend starting with our eBook The Definitive Guide: How to Illustrate in 10 Steps, where you’ll learn quickly and easily to illustrate architecture, and you’ll also learn everything you need to know to become an expert in digital architectural illustration using only Photoshop.

I hope this information has inspired you to bring your own ideas and projects to life through illustration. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share!

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