This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Methods of Study. Different designers work up their drawings in individual ways. Good results are, as a rule, accomplished by getting ideas on paper, comparing and working up the best, and combining different features from the different sketches. Some men of the highest ability prefer to work in this way. Others work up the ideas in their minds before drawing them on paper, often not changing a line once it is put on paper. The latter proceeding is dangerous, as it tends to make the designer satisfied with the first idea that comes to his mind, and makes him unwilling to search for other ideas; he is liable to become narrow and careless.
Putting Ideas on Paper. The problem which the architect has to work out is to make the building of a form and of dimensions best suited to the demands of the client, so that all the parts are in good proportion and in harmony with each other. Much detail in former times was studied on the building in course of construction, but now everything has to be prepared beforehand, and the smallest details foreseen before the building is commenced. The preliminary sketches are generally made on a small scale, one-eighth inch, one-sixteenth inch, or one-thirty-second inch to the foot, worked up from rough thumb-nail sketches often not drawn to scale. Some designers will work up their schemes upon the back of an envelope, and these can be brought into scale in the same proportion in which they are sketched out by means of the proportional dividers.
Architectural work is half way between mechanical drawing and so-called freehand drawing, permitting more freehand work than an engineer would consider proper, and demanding more line drawing than an artist would think of employing.
The most successful architectural design generally comes from numerous freehand sketches, as well as accurate studies, frequent erasing and changing on the original drawing, placing studies side by side and comparing them, until a satisfactory solution is found. It is only by continued practice that freedom of expression is obtained, and without this faculty, the best ideas are useless. The well-equipped architect carries a soft pencil, and sketches as rapidly as possible every new impression on paper.
Use of Tracing Paper. When the plan has been well studied, a sketch of the elevation and section should be made as a check on the "scale" of the plan. Tracing paper should be constantly used, both in making rough studies over the drawing and in making accurate line-drawings for comparison of the different schemes. These drawings on tracing paper as studies in proportion, should be as accurate as the finished drawing, though, of course, no care is necessary in giving them a finished appearance, and the straight lines may run across intersections, and erasures and changes may be made freely.