Do Drawing Skills Define Success in Architecture

“You’re so good at drawing; why not choose architecture?”

If you are someone who is a bit artistic or skilled at drawing, you must have probably heard this question from an aunt or a random relative. If you’re someone considering pursuing a career in architecture, you must’ve encountered the notion that you must be good at drawing. 

What’s the deal with the notion that you need to be great at drawing to be an architect? Is it really a requirement for success, or is it just a myth? Let’s dig into this topic and find out!

Breaking the myth 

Architecture revolves around sketches, plans, creativity, and artistry. However, you don’t need to be a master at drawing before starting architecture school. What you do need is a willingness to learn and develop that skill. Being good at drawing is certainly an advantage over others—like entering a Spanish class already knowing how to speak Spanish—but it’s not a mandatory prerequisite.

Being naturally skilled at drawing is a valuable skill when it comes to architecture, as it’s not an easy task to make a drawing look aesthetic and understandable at the same time. Drawings are preferred over technical approaches as they avoid misunderstandings and save a lot of time. The skill helps you translate your ideas into drawings and convey them better. When you are in a situation where you have to defend your design ideas and you don’t have time to make a 3-D model or render an image conveying them, the quickest and most simple thing you will do is to take the piece of paper closest to you and draw your idea on a free-hand sketch. Given such factors, drawing is an essential skill in architecture.

What if drawing isn’t your strong suit, but you still want to excel in architecture?

If you’re not good at drawing, don’t worry! Drawing is a skill that you can develop. The key to improving your drawing is to practice. The more you practice, the more you develop. Simply showing up and attending the classes is not enough. You need to work hard, keep an open mind, and believe that you can improve your skills. If you think you really lack the basic skills, you can take prep classes beforehand to get a good foundation, but still, the coursework in architectural schools will make sure you get enough practice and development before you venture out. 

During academics, architectural drawings help you learn the principles and practices of architecture from the ground up. However, in the professional realm, technological advancements have revolutionized the field. With computers and AI software, tasks that once required manual sketching and planning can now be completed within seconds. This shift means architects are no longer solely reliant on traditional drawing methods; instead, they can leverage technology to simplify the process.

It’s clear that drawing is just one of the important skills needed to be a successful architect. There are many other equally important skills you need to navigate your way through this field.

So what are the qualities that a person needs to be successful in architecture? 

#1: Design and Creativity 

“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” Julia Morgan

Creativity and design are the heart and soul of architecture. An architect should be able to seamlessly blend aesthetics with functionality, achieving perfect balance. Creating just a building isn’t enough; it should be done in the most creative, practical, and viable way, meeting every client’s needs. An architect’s creative mind should push the boundaries of aesthetics. Originality is the key to setting your style apart from other designers. Paying attention to detail is crucial because overlooking something can lead to significant problems.

#2: Numerical skills

Architecture isn’t just confined to drawing and designing. It requires a strong foundation in geometry, algebra, physics, engineering, and computer programming skills, which are as vital as designing. An architect’s ability to foresee what plans won’t work before implementing them is very essential. Just by looking at the calculations, one should be able to determine whether the project will be practical and feasible. Calculations are extremely important for a project as they help transform initial concepts into detailed blueprints and, ultimately, into constructed buildings.

#3 Analytical and program-solving skills

When creating architectural plans, only a few throughout history have avoided problems or crises throughout the whole process. Every project will encounter its own problems along the way, and the skill of the architect lies in how they solve them creatively and effectively. Architects face various challenges, such as legal issues, client communication, deadlines, and budget constraints, but they should navigate these obstacles with ease. They should be aware of potential problems and be able to provide solutions for those issues. While this might sound overwhelming, it’s yet another skill honed through practice. This ability improves over time, making a good architect someone who can adapt, remain flexible, and avoid setbacks. They must also react and respond quickly while maintaining calm communication.

#4 Teamwork in Communication

Being a team player is crucial in architecture as it is a collaborative effort that involves a lot of people, like clients, construction workers, officials, engineers, contractors, and many more, to make a project work. For a project to succeed, everyone on the team needs to connect with and understand your vision. It’s crucial to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively so that the entire team comprehends the project’s goals. This also includes being open to constructive criticism. Listening with an open mind is vital to improving and refining your work.

#5: Continuous learning

“To create, one must first question everything.” Eileen Gray.

Architecture is a field that improves with practice; you learn more with each project and every new site. If you want to succeed in architecture, you must be willing to do thorough research, analysis, and evaluation for each project. You need to constantly update your skills and knowledge, as it is a dynamic and ever-evolving field. Curiosity should be ingrained in you, and a strong urge to try new things and learn about them should be a prominent characteristic. This continuous learning and adaptation is what helps architects excel and innovate in their work.

#6: Technical knowledge

In this age of rapid technological advancement, staying ahead in architecture means being proficient and trained in all the technical aspects of the field. Architects need to master skills like drafting, modeling, rendering, and using various software and platforms. These aren’t innate talents but learned and perfected over time. Technology will play a huge role in the future of architecture; for example, VR is said to revolutionize the field in many ways. Embracing and leveraging technology can significantly enhance your career, allowing you to create more innovative and efficient designs.

#7: Knowledge of laws and codes

The knowledge of laws and codes about what you can build, where you can build, and how you can build should be thorough. They must be well-versed in areas such as fire safety, building construction zones, architectural codes, and building systems to avoid legal issues and ensure successful project completion. For instance, regulations specify the number and size of windows a house must have as a part of fire safety. When designing a house, an architect must adhere to these laws. Another example is land suitability for construction; flatlands and marshes are not suitable for building. Ignoring these laws can result in buildings being taken down after inspections, and the architect will have to bear the responsibility for not going by the rules. 


It’s evident that, just like drawing, these skills also play an important part in shaping your success in architecture. Drawing ability alone shouldn’t define your potential. If drawing isn’t your forte, it’s not because you have no talent but because you haven’t studied enough. The idea behind an architecture school is to learn the skills that you need to be a successful architect. At TKM School of Architecture, you’ll acquire all the essential skills needed to excel as an architect. All it takes from your side is dedication and passion from your side. 

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