I am a huge advocate of hand drawing in design work. That isn’t to say that I am against the move to digital tools, I simply think that one should learn as many tools as possible and not skip over the basics.
Most design programs don’t teach hand drawing or sketching now. Programs like CAD, SketchUp, Rhino, Solid Edge, Photoshop, and 3D Max (and a long list of others) have been developed in recent years and have taken over the classrooms. These are all great tools for the professions that use them but sometimes a napkin sketch is still the best (and fastest) way to capture and share an idea.
Beyond that, hand work is a dying skill set. In the world of Architectural Renderings, 3D model and Photoshop wizards are creating some mindbogglingly cool images. However, you rarely see a watercolor or marker rendering anymore. Hand drawings have a certain feel to them, a nostalgia that ties in an emotion instead of the cold crisp image that most design firms are pounding out these days. It’s also important to remember that it’s much easier to start from a sketch, where you can erase and make changes before moving on to one of those nifty design programs.
Again, I am not against the digital push…. By all means, learn as many tools as possible. But keep sketching in your note book. I promise it will make you a better designer! No matter if you are a graphic desgner, a landscape conceptualist or an architect, kee building up those hand skills!