As AutoCAD, Sketch-Up and other digital drafting tools become the industry standard for architecture and design, a number of architects continue to insist on hand-sketching at least the earliest concepts of their projects.

Unlike a digital model, which may take two weeks to create from start to finish, hand drawings are easier and faster to make or change on the fly, and enable greater collaboration with clients. Mark Calanderia, an architect based in Scottsdale, Ariz., notes the appeal of this immediacy.

“They don’t want to wait two weeks to get a drawing, and the client wants to make sure the idea is conveyed,” he says. “If I can just sketch on the back of a piece of plywood or a 2-by-4 or on my notepad, I can give it right to them and everybody walks away happy and excited.”

Hand drawings can also have a more positive psychological impact than digital drawings, which tend to convey a more rigid and finalized design.

“Doing it digitally, it’s so refined that there’s not a lot left to your imagination,” says David Obitz, principal of Irvine, Calif.-based KTGY Architecture + Planning. With hand-drawing, “they can still add their dreams to it, they can still have their creative force,” he says. “It’s a great way to engage your clients.”

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