Freehand sketching is perhaps the most significant and exciting skill an architect can possess. Sketching in architecture helps an architect or student visualise and manifest their ideas instantly on paper. When ideas are just voyaging on the mind, they dissolve in no time. That’s why sketching comes in so handy. Sketching is prompt, efficient and effortlessly perceived by everyone. 

But the problem with any new skill or, in this case, sketching is fear. Just because we never could draw as a child, we utterly assume we will never be able to do it. That’s highly false. With consistency and effort, anyone can sketch. All we need to do is keep at it: because this skill is both fundamental and fun for an architect to procure. 

Here’s a list of Architectural Sketching books that will set you off on your sketching journey:

1. Design Drawing | Architectural Sketching

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This book by Francis Dk Ching is a precise guide to learn about architectural sketching in its entirety. The design drawing is a classic book that imparts teachings on hand drawing. This book focuses on the freedom of expression and formulation of ideas that an architect heaves through sketching. 

It’s a complete guide because it reflects upon basic traditional drawing methods to the latest techniques. The reader learns the working of a sketch from start to finish. The book starts with a brief introduction to hand sketching and its relevance in architecture. 

The table of contents put forward multiple sketching concepts that give an overview and a definite perception of architectural sketching. It starts right from line and shape, touching upon 2D drawings and tours to more depth i.e. with chapters on Texture and Tone. Furthermore, the chapters become more challenging with lessons on 3D drawings, like Form and Structure, Space and Depth. 

Once the basics are covered, the book uncovers multiple drawing systems like pictorial, multiview, paraline, and perspective. The best part of this book is ‘Learning to draw from your imagination. This is something that most of us struggle with, but this book has us covered.  

2. Sketch Like An Architect 

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This book by David Drazil would be the perfect pick for a beginner. It is a small 82 pages book but is power-packed with sketching techniques for Architects. This book ideally covers the basics of architectural sketching and can be easily employed. It is a step-by-step book explaining concepts and drawing techniques. In a nutshell, book consists of:

  • Line and 2D Objects: This chapter focuses on different types of lines and their application in Architectural Sketching. After lines come the basic 2D objects, Square, circle, rectangle, triangle. 
  • Basic Perspective Rules: The concepts of Perspective are taken care of in this lesson. Perspective is always an overwhelming chapter but it has been highly simplified in this book. 
  • Shadows, Textures and Materiality: This chapter throws light (literally) on how objects react to different times and angles of light. And as for Materiality and texture, multiple rendering techniques are illustrated. 
  • Humans and Trees: An Architectural Sketch is incomplete without humans and vegetation. This chapter includes figures of different heights to teach the basics of proportions and volume. 

Overall, this book touches on everything that’s needed to kick off the Architectural Sketching journey. It is a small yet wholesome book. 

3. 5 Minute Sketching

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This quick guide by Liz Steel is truly a steal. It is a 128 pages book that acts as the guiding principle to viewing objects and subjects more accurately. This book empowers the reader by teaching them that drawings do not have to be perfect and how each one’s drawings must tell their own story. 

The contents of the book highlight Architectural elements, composition, volume, structure, roofs, walls, buildings of various typologies, streetscapes, landmarks and many more. The reason why it is titled a 5-minute sketching book is that the book is committed to simplifying and composing instantaneous drawings. The goal of the book is not perfectionism, but capturing the essence. It’s a simple, however, effective book. 

4. Drawing for Architects: Construction and Design Manual 

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This comprehensive guide by Natascha Meuse radiates sketching knowledge in bounty. The focus of this book is on the fading away significance of sketching in Architecture. This book goes back to the history of sketching and the theory of architectural drawing. The importance of sketching still being a relevant and notable art form in architecture is highlighted thoroughly in the book. 

As the chapters unfold, the readers procure knowledge about the history of architectural drawing, catch a glimpse of historical architectural drawings, get an overview of perception, sketches and drawings.

The book can feel heavy in the beginning due to the historical overload, but it is highly engaging and informing. 

This book is a classic choice if you want to learn about architectural sketching undividedly. 

5. Making Marks | Architectural Sketching

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This book by Will Jones is a reminder and wake up call for all architects who have given upon architectural sketching. This book features drawings and creative methods of various architects who use sketching as a vital part of their design process. This book is a great inspiration for architects who are looking for a sign to jump back into architectural sketching. 

The book unrolls with an introduction by the author describing how architectural sketching is still very pertinent. And how there is no better way to express an idea spontaneously. Making Marks is a collection of 60 architects and their sketches post-digital revolution. 

This book is a rich and creative insight into architectural drawing styles, manual presentation and freehand sketching. 

6. The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes

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Another great set of books to learn architectural sketching is from Urban sketching books. This handy book by Gabriel Campanario is a well-curated book that helps understand the basics of urban sketching. 

A lot of architectural sketching is demanded on-site, and so live drawing skills are essential. This book covers aspects of sketching in different locations, with challenging weather conditions and structures. 

The book consists of over 500 sketches from 100 different artists. Each represents unique styles and methods. 

7. Sketch Now, Think Later 

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This book by Mike Daikubara is what all architects or artists need when they have trouble getting started or making room for sketching in their busy schedules. A book that showcases simple techniques and strategies that will help the reader to build the habit of everyday sketching. 

8. Architectural Graphics

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Yet another book by Francis Dk Ching is among one of the most favoured architectural drawing books. It consists of a broad set of rules for architectural representation ideas. The book explains the fundamentals of architecture through drawingspace, volumes, dimension, shadow, texture, proportions, etc. It is a resourceful book with in-depth knowledge about drawing and designing in architecture. 

9. Drawing for Landscape Architecture 

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This book by Edward Hutchison is a guide for landscape sketching. This book aims at teaching people to see by hand and become better observers. This book helps in activating the imagination by bringing by the focus on hand drawing. There are multiple tools and techniques to get one’s hands around better landscape sketching. 

10. Draw Like an Artist: 100 Buildings and Architectural Forms | Architectural Sketching

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This book by David Drazil showcases sketches of 100 different buildings from their initial lines stage to the final image. This book helps its reader understand the building stages of a sketch.

No matter how much technological advancement takes place, nothing can replace the charm of hand sketching. As architects and students of architecture, we must remain to sketch despite imperfections. Sketching represents us, our identity, and we must hold on to that and keep refining our sketching skills. And lastly, sketching requires patience and consistency. By maintaining these principles, we can master the art in no time.


She is an architect, trying her hands at architectural writing currently. She’s charmed by the 3C’s of architecture- conscious, contextual, cultural. Her heart does not lie in a high profile job or an elaborate resumè. She yearns to enrich the architectural world with honest, humble, and free-spirited writing.