Jump to content
I Forge Iron
HWHII

Drawing and Sketching Classes for Blacksmiths

Recommended Posts

So I have decided that I need to learn how to draw and sketch better to convey and improve my designs and ideas.

Can anyone recommend classes at a blacksmithing school on sketching for forge work. Or maybe someone could suggest a good book to get me started. I have looked at the local community college and a private drawing school. Their classes seem to be more still life and landscape type art. I want something more specific towards the type of work we do, or is it all relivant and you just have to start with the basics?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You would be looking for a course in technical drawing or drafting, I would think.
Check your local thrift store for the textbooks, for smithing you would only need the first year's text, just make sure it has a section covering covering Isometric drawing, which any decent 101 text should.
This sort of drawing is not difficult, and if you are not wanting to be fancy and just convey the finished product, you shouldn't need a full drawing/drafting course. Isometric drawing with some shading work for more depth should be enough.
I can't recommend Amazon, as they have all their prices jacked up, the most I've paid for my technical drawing texts was $1.00 at a Goodwill store (compared to $40 - $140 at Amazon)
There are also some good web pages that you can reference, just google it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AutoCad is an ESSENTIAL TOOL for nearly everything I do, ... and you can learn the fundamentals at any Community College.

( I will often stop in the middle of making a part, in order to verify a dimension, by drawing it to scale. )

Being able to create EXACT scale drawings, ... and then easily change the scale, or "take off" dimensions and angles, is tremendously helpful.

And for those who have trouble with "visualization" of finished processes and projects, ... ( You know who you are :P ) ... it's a great "confidence builder" to know what a finished piece will look like, before you begin.

Think of it like learning a new language, ... if you take the time to learn basic drafting techniques, ... it will serve you for the rest of your life, ... and you'll be able to "communicate" on a higher level, with other members of the "tribe".


.


.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would advise drawing from life, it's about teaching your hand to draw what you see whether form life or imagined. The larger the better, get news print pad and charcoal, fill one up each month or week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the best books on freehand drawing is The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. Available almost every where. They also have 5 day classes based on the book. Do a google. I'm an AutoCad drafter and it is great for technical drawings, but to get the drawing done in the first place this is the way to go. Plus AutoCad takes a long time to learn. Several members of the Guild of Metal Smiths took this course and then turned their line drawings into grilles with the lines being bar stock. Amazing and even they were surprised at what they had accomplished as they couldn't draw at all the week before. Here's an example by David Mariette.

post-1310-0-36538500-1325785271_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can try using Google Sketchup as well. It's free and very intuitive to use, plus Google has tutorial videos available as well as an active support forum. You can also get plugins to export your files in different formats (CAD, 3D printers, etc). I found it to be more trouble than it's worth for organic forms, but for stuff with right angles or defined curves it's extremely useful and easier to learn than CAD. You can also make your own models for different steel types and sizes and save them so that you can import premade pieces of stock into your design and not have to start from scratch every time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would vote for simply learning the basics of technical drawing. With a bit of freeehand sketching to get the intial design it then can be quickly transferred into a 3D drawing with full size plans for each elevation on board for comparison when working. It does not have to be fancy, just accurate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use autocad for a lot of planning for my work. I also have a white board in the shop that helps me think things out. But I am a lousy sketcher. I will be looking into this "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was lucky enough to have a great drafting teacher in high school. I still draw by hand. My brother is a civil engineer so if I need it put on cad he dose it for me. I would rather spend my time in the shop hammering metal than learning cad but that's just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sketching "for blacksmiths" is the very same thing as sketching "for artists." Only the subject matter changes.

I second kraythe's suggestion of Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain.

Most importantly of all: practice sketching every day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sketching "for blacksmiths" is the very same thing as sketching "for artists."


Here we get into the very grey area, of definitions, ... and mine might not be the same as yours ......

If all you ever hope to do, is "ornamental" ironwork, then "sketch away", with a crayon, or a stick in the dirt, or whatever suits your "muse".


When I think of a "Blacksmith", I get a mental image of a "Traditional" maker of tools, implements and hardware, ... who has the technical credentials to make whatever is required of him.

He may also develop a "specialty", based on his interests, or the requirements of the locality in which he works.

But in all cases, He is an accomplished "Journeyman".

In my estimation, someone who deliberately limits his scope of work, and knowledge, to any "specialty", ... is an Iron-worker, ... or Artisan.

That's certainly not a bad thing, ... and there's probably more money in "artsy" items, than in utilitarian ones.

But regardless of the type of work you choose, ... a full grasp of fundamentals, will make everything you do, go much smoother.


Information is POWER.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drawing on it's own as art has just as much place in the word as technical drawing.

Doing art classes will teach you a lot about proportions and relationships and would help to make your eye better at seeing what look right.

Technical drawing will teach you how to make a thing absolutely right.

I have to do both, and I very often go to a piece of paper to get the proportions right before I can do a CAD drawing.

One free CAD package I use is Draftsight http://www.3ds.com/p...sight/overview/

Edit:
Draftsight is 2D only. CAD packages that can do 3D tends to be much more complex and drawing free flowing objects in 3D in CAD is an art on its own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drafting and technical drawing is often based on simple regular forms. Great for Fab work; but try doing a drawing where there are no straight lines or circular arcs---which can be a common occurrence in smithing. Drawing from life can help this sorts of tasks. Still lifes can be close if you like doing ornamental work in a natural style.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here we get into the very grey area, of definitions, ... and mine might not be the same as yours ......


http://en.wikipedia....h_%28drawing%29

Some smiths bring cameras to hammer-ins or classes. I bring a sketch pad. I also use one to record any ideas I have.

I sketch whatever is required of me. :)

(I can also make technical drawings, either with CAD or the old fashioned way, but that is not "sketching." And tech drawing for blacksmiths is the same as tech drawing for anyone else. Only the subject matter changes.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whenever I browse the Mad Dwarves Workshop website, I can't help but think that some training in art wouldn't be a bad thing for the blacksmith/armorer/whatever. They way they combine art and their website and their finished product is really amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drawing and sketching instruction dredges up the whole subject of artistic terminology. I get many students who have complete naiveté with regard to being in a 'world of art.' By drawing, we learn about such things as scale and proportion. Scale is how a product or artifact relates to the human body. You don't want a Hobbit door for a guy who's 6'6". Proportion is how one part relates to another in the same piece. For example, a door handle not only needs proper scale, but it should be of a size that relates well to the escutcheon, stiles, rails, hinges, etc., in other words, "proportionate."

Other terms to consider are color, chiaroscuro, figure/ground relationship, and trompe l'oeil. To take one, for example, chiaroscuro has to do with light and dark, light and shadow. In Fritz Kuhn's book, "Stahl Gestaltung." he gives a short length of a sqare- sectioned bar an eighth of a twist. The light coming from one side offers an entirely different effect of chiaroscuro. Another example might be the making of an elaborate fence full of scrollwork and painted black. If it is installed in front of lots of foliage and particularly if it is in shadow, the ironwork nearly becomes invisible. Not good.

Sometimes, a teacher will say to a student, "You look, but you can't see." Many students either take offence or don't quite know what is meant.

I knew a guy named Rocca who taught Design 101 in New York City. I paraphrase, but here is what he told me. "The first thing we do is take a field trip to Central Park with a roll of newsprint. Each student unrolls about 20 feet of it, and I have them draw a blade of grass 18 or 19 feet long. At our next field trip, I take them to the Empire State Building and each student receives a postage stamp sized piece of paper. They are then asked to draw the Empire State Building on the little paper. At the end of this field trip, they are BEGINNING to learn how to see! HA!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By drawing, we learn about such things as scale and proportion.

Proportion is how one part relates to another in the same piece.


That's the beauty of AutoCAD.

I often "draw" things on the screen, just to get a look at the relationships between "known" dimensions, and those that are "yet to be determined".

It's a big help, to be able to "see" those things, before you "commit" to a particular design.


.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think of doing say a 100' fence using no straight lines and no repetition. Hand sketching would probably be faster than a cad program.

Think of doing basically a fab job with lots of straight pieces and a repeated ornament. Cad would excel. You need both!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

since trying autodesk inventor out a few years back i will never go back to autocad its so much easier when you can turn and look at the parts in 3D

but i would really like to learn to draw by hand, will look into the books mentioned here...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people are not great at sketching, but I would say you have to have some aptitude for it to be a blacksmith. I sketch, use a camera, use Sketchup, I like copper wire many times to replicate parts in the field that I have to transfer to my shop. Squares, rulers, cardboard templates, (yes, I have caught one on fire), I have some cool angle finders. I can't say that one thing is better or that I would settle for one thing but the copper wire has really helped on some pretty complicated things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some people are not great at sketching, but I would say you have to have some aptitude for it to be a blacksmith.


Yeah i'm no pro, but i'm getting better, i agree it's useful if not necessary. How else to quickly get across design ideas when talking with a customer.
I've taken to keeping my smallest notebook with me all the time for this. Lose no opportunity to get customers wishes down and keep a spark alive for the project

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The books by Otto Schmirler while in german, are a treasure of decorative ironwork examples. There are also many schetches included, the study of which has profited me tremendously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The books by Otto Schmirler while in german, are a treasure of decorative ironwork examples. There are also many schetches included, the study of which has profited me tremendously.


I do have 3 of his books and do enjoy them. All three are in french, german, and english.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...