3 drawing methods

theory topics


observation, visualisation, presentation


There are three kinds of drawing styles for Visual Communication Design. Designers use each different style for different purposes and at different stages of their design process. These drawing styles are not systems (like perspective or paraline drawing) but approaches to drawing. Whether the designer or artist is drawing to record the form of a real object, drawing to make an imagined object visible or drawing in detail to present a fully formed concept to a client, she or he is always mindful of what is hoping to be achieved.

observation drawing


Observation drawing is visual perception made real. Observation drawing is part of the research or initial stage of the design process. The best way to learn about or better still, from an object is to draw it. Designers make observation drawings of things or layouts to learn about existing designs. Do you play a musical instrument? Can we really know about a piece of music from listening to it? Only a musician who plays a piece, knows the piece. They know where the tricks are, they know how the composer infuses feelings and emotions into the piece. So too does a designers who draws existing forms or layouts. They begin to understand the make up of the composition.


This style includes:

observation drawing means drawing from life


Observational note taking done on site in Harvey Norman. Tori Salvaggio 2013.
Freehand 2 Point perspective to show form, proportion and surface. Richard Roberts 2008.
Sections of real objects to record surface texture. CLC 2008.
A 2 Point perspective coloured from observation. CLC 2008.
A freehand sketch in biro of a computer. It is a 2 Point perspective done without the aid of vanishing points. Richard Roberts 2009.
A freehand 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing done by holding a car and drawing the shapes and details. CLC 2008.


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visualisation drawing


The purpose of visualisation drawing is to make imagined concepts real. Drawing from the imaginiation helps the flow of ideas. Visualisation drawing can be quick sketches to build broad concepts or more detailed drawings aimed at teasing out problems before designs are developed and refined. Visualisation sketches are used in conjuction with creative, critical and reflective thinking as part of the process of selection of ideas for development.


This style includes:

Visualisation drawings are found in generation of ideas and development of concepts stages.


Graphic layout for a poster. Kate Gaylor 2014.
Visualisation watercolours for skateboard designs. Lisa Peric 2012.
Freehand sketches of boat forms. Nathan Giastis 2013.


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Presentation drawing


Presentation drawings are developed and refined design concepts. They are the resolution of design ideas. They are final presentations. Presentation drawings may be created with manual, computer or combined manual and digital methods. They reflect the intentions expressed in a design brief and are the final design solution for your client. They may be 2 or 3 dimensional and can include technical drawings such as architectural plans and elevations and/or 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawings.

This style includes:

presentation drawings present your ideas to your client


Presentation editorial illustration. CLC 2008.
Presentation of corporate identity for a cafe. Bianca Barresi 2012.
Presentation advertisement using paraline and perpspective drawings. Alex LiRossi 2013.


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