amreading architecture Art Commonplace Book Drawings

Drawing Lessons from Architect Matthew Frederick pt.3 Architectural Hand-Lettering

Handwriting, penmanship, this is all drawing. Hand-lettering can be another artistic tool to add to your kit.

Matthew Frederick shares 6 architectural hand-lettering principals to follow:

1. Honor legibility and consistency above all else.

2. Use guide lines (actual or imagined) to ensure uniformity.

3. Emphasize the beginning and end of all strokes, and overlap them slightly where they meet – just as in drawing lines.

4. Give your horizontal strokes a slight upward tilt. If they slope downward, your letters will look tired.

5. Give curved strokes a balloon-like fullness.

6. Give careful attention to the amount of white space between letters. An E, for example, will need more space when following an I than when coming after an S or T.

Matthew Frederick

This week, for fun, find ways to practice your architectural hand-lettering.

Write a thank-you note.

Write a love letter.

Write a haiku.

Then mail it out it to your lover, mother, or bestie.

Be sure to practice your hand-lettering on the to and from address on the envelope as well.

You’ll get some practice in, and they will receive a special gift.

Source: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick, pg 22

amreading architecture Art Commonplace Book Drawings

Drawing lessons from Architect Matthew Frederick pt.2

Every drawing you undertake has a hierarchy. There are the general elements. And there are the fine details.

Matthew Frederick recommends laying out the entire drawing to start.


By making use of:

Light guide lines.

Geometric alignments.

Visual gut-checks.

These techniques will help ensure the proportions and placement of shapes are accurate.

After that hit the details. But don’t over indulge in one place:

When you achieve some success at this schematic level, move to the next level of detail. If you find yourself focusing on details in a specific area of the drawing, indulge briefly, then move to other areas of the drawing.

Matthew Frederick
Let the light guide lines be your guide.

From: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

By: Matthew Frederick


Light and Power

When’s the last time you learned something new?

But not from the internet. And not from your mama. Or your PHD sister. Or your boss. And not even from a book.

I can’t remember either.

But yesterday I was schooled by a building. By the old Dallas Power & Light Building.


What facts did it share?

– The design inspiration came from the Art Deco movement.

– The sharp angular motifs are Zig Zag Moderne, similar to the Chrysler Building in New York.

– And that when completed, the Dallas Power & Light building was the largest welded steel framed structure in the south.


I’m all set for Art Deco Dallas trivia night.

But then the questions poured in like wet concrete.

Questions like:

What’s art deco?

Who’s Lang and Witchell?

What’s the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs?

And that’s when I knew I’d learned something.

Because in my view, learning is more than collecting facts. It’s about being compelled to ask meaningful questions.

Light and power baby…