Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Ken Adam on sketching

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As we’ve discussed, I had a good grounding in architecture, design and composition. Drawing with a hard pencil and a T-square certainly appealed to my pedantic sense, and these beautiful drawings, these early drawings, were a kind of self-defense, really. I was playing safe. I was inhibited. I was afraid to let go and express myself…So with the help of felt pens—which had recently been invented—I changed my drawing technique completely. My designs became much bolder and more expressive. I increasingly used a felt pen with a wedge-shaped tip instead of a pencil, conté or pen and ink. A Flowmaster, rather than a hard pencil. I used broader strokes and eliminated unnecessary details…And I now begin with a sketch, rather than a technical drawing—which was important in helping me to visualize the eventual effect in three dimensions—however rough the sketch. It has something to do with the way my mind works.

Ken Adam, production designer of Dr. Strangelove and the James Bond films

Written by nevalalee

September 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

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