Every once in awhile when I need to step away from technology and all its wonderfulness, I spend a few minutes on Shorpy.com. Here you can get a glimpse into the past, slow down and quietly contemplate how much things have changed and really, how much of life is constant through time.
Today I happened upon this image of a window display of The Richmond & Backus Co., printers, binders and “office outfitters”. Looking closely at the photo, I see french curves, typewriter erasers, library paste, drawing ink, triangles, a role of drawing paper, pencils, and honestly, a host of other items I want to research, as I’m not sure what they are.
There’s something about drafting by hand, putting actual pen to paper that is satisfying for me in a way that designing a set on a computer is not. Perhaps it is the forced slowing down and the focus that is needed to produce different line weights, keep a steady hand and avoid smudges, perhaps it is the sense of accomplishment felt when the challenges of hand drafting are overcome and a finished, properly annotated drawing comes to life on my drafting table. There’s a part of the draftsman, a feeling that is transfered through the act of putting pen to paper that I don’t see or feel from a Vectorworks produced drawing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the power and immense functionality of Vectorworks and could not imagine our studio without it, as all of design work is done in Vectorworks and we present all of our designs from initial concept through completion using Vectorworks 3D. Besides, my partner wrote the book! Hey – its my blog and I’ll throw in a little shameless self promotion – or partner promo in this instance, once in awhile.
We have quite a collection of vintage and contemporary office supplies that I use when I feel the need to connect to my work on a more tactile level. And yes, if you’re wondering, I do write, in longhand on legal pads with one of my Waterman pens, all my blog posts. I think more clearly when I put pen to paper, and I believe one can work successfully in both worlds and be happy.