Teaching free-hand drawing in aerospace engineering

Mark Maughmer, Kathy Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Computer-aided-design classes have largely replaced those dealing with engineering drafting, resulting in an often heard criticism by today's faculty that engineering students are no longer able to express themselves using simple freehand drawings (sketches). While engineering students are expected to become proficient with modeling packages, they are seldom asked to think visually and communicate visual ideas with art-based freehand drawing. With the right instructor and short weekly exercises, however, the ability to sketch in engineering classes need not be lost. Likewise, free-hand drawing techniques can help students to develop and refine their visualization skills. In an undergraduate aerospace engineering design class, the professor advocates the use of an art-based approach to help students think at deeper and more creative levels. By his modeling the drawing of airplanes throughout the semester, he talks through essential design components and tries to get the students to focus on seeing and visualizing. In this paper, we will describe the instructional processes he uses, the reasoning behind his approach, student drawing examples (to illustrate abilities at the beginning and end of the semester), student feedback on the drawing process and their perceptions on how it influences their learning, and suggestions on how to implement free-hand drawing techniques into your classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2007
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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