Architectural Drawings

by Carol Hoffnagle

This series of drawings combines elements of topographical maps, architectural renderings, blueprints, calligraphy, symbols—anything that I find visually interesting.

The process starts with a review of available images I have collected. Some of these I enlarge, reduce or italicize on a photocopier. I then make a rough drawing on graph paper by tracing the elements utilizing a light table. When I have everything placed where I want it, I trace it all again on a clean sheet of graph paper, this time making the lines more precise. The drawing is then enlarged and photocopied. I transfer the image to the final drawing paper by tracing the lines a third time, using carbon paper. At this point the drawing appears as clean black lines on a white background.

Everything is then colored by hand with colored pencil. Although there are 132 colors in the Prismacolor pencil collection, I usually use only about half the available colors, the others being mostly greys and darks. The final step in the process is again tracing over the black lines with a black pencil to emphasize them and spraying the drawing with a fixative which brightens and fixes the colors. On the larger drawings, which are 30″ x 44″, the entire process can take as much as 60-70 hours.

The titles are chosen for the way they sound and their inherent ambiguity. Most of them come from Barbara Tuchman’s Stilwell and the American Experience in China. While reading this book I noticed the author’s interesting way of phrasing things, and I started writing down phrases and words I liked. I feel they reflect the same ambiguity I attempt in my drawings.