Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is a Technical Pen and Why Do Drafters Need Them?

Precision tools come in all shapes and sizes. Micrometers and gauges provide dimensional data for carving sections of engineering plastic into parts for automobiles, and laser-guided machining ensures a repeatability factor is always present, delivering high productivity in any manufacturing or architectural discipline. The root of this engineering maxim for accuracy can be traced back through the myriad stages of a process, taken back to the inception of a project, the application of a high-performance technical pen to a blank sheet of paper.

These specialist pens possess numerous features designed to eliminate ill-defined freehand movement. Instead, they promote decisive strokes, omitting the kind of ink seepage associated with traditional pens. Seepage, also known as bleed, reduces the razor-sharp definition applied by a project draftsman, introducing inconsistencies that simply aren't acceptable. The craft of drafting works only in lines of ink and the background those lines are being etched into. What we're illustrating here is an uncompromising necessity for a dramatic demarcation between ink and paper, an aversion to nebulous ink seepage. Of course, the concept of the line we're referring to here includes the drawing of angular properties upon the paper, the positioning of curves and arcs.

A well-designed technical pen utilizes an intricate mechanical release system to optimize ink flow. A wire and an ink reservoir are carefully arranged to ensure the ink is released evenly to a tubular point, and this point is typically sized by manufacturers, positioning the pen for different applications. Each one demonstrates design characteristics for different disciplines, for the everyday draftsman or the artistic illustrator/cartoonist and architect. The pen internalizes design factors designed to promote the same consistency in productivity that the draftsman is intent on putting down on paper. Finally, the specialist instrument is filled with an exceptional ink, a liquid marker design to minimize bleed and clogging, resulting in clean lines that always retain the same width, a delicate span that depends on the chosen characteristics of the instrument.

Look for the right point size for a pen, and partner this accurate point with an ink that won't bleed or fade.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What to Look For When Buying a Student Portfolio

A portfolio is a necessity for carrying artwork, drafting supplies and plans. Many different styles of portfolios are available today. It is important to look for a few different things when buying a student portfolio.

Size and Portability

The first thing to look for is size and portability. Portfolios that are too large can be difficult to carry and transport. They could also allow paintings and other items to be damaged as they move around inside the portfolio. Choose a portfolio that is a manageable size but large enough to carry the papers, boards and canvases that are used on a daily basis. Another thing to look for is a comfortable handle so that carrying the portfolio does not become a painful chore.


Be certain to consider strength and durability when buying a student portfolio. It is best to choose a portfolio that is made from a heavy material like nylon. Avoid portfolios made from paper or lightweight plastics since these will tear or break easily. Look at the way the handle is attached. A portfolio with a double stitched handled and seams will last for a very long time. A final thing to consider is getting a portfolio made from a water resistant material for added protection against the weather or accidents in a studio.


Look at the overall capacity of the portfolio. It is a good idea to choose a portfolio that is made from a woven and flexible material. These types of portfolios can expand naturally to accommodate a larger amount of artwork or supplies. Try to avoid rigid portfolios. Rigid portfolios tend to hold a very small amount because the exterior is not flexible.

Easy To Store

One final thing to look for is ease of storage. There will be times when the portfolio is empty and needs to be stored in a convenient location. A flexible nylon portfolio is the right choice because it can fold down into a compact shape that can be placed into a backpack or a drawer in a studio. It is easier to keep a portfolio in good condition when it can be stored in a convenient way.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Which Drafting Table is Right For Me?

Which Drafting Table is Right for Me?
The answer to the question which drafting table is right for me is one that suits drafting needs best. Engineers rely on drafting tables for various types of design work. Drafting tables are also used in engineering meetings to discuss design specifications. Drafting tables can be sized for an individual or for multiple users. This depends on the size of the design.

Drafting Table Features
Today's drafting tables are built for convenience and functionality. If ease of mobility is important, the drafting table that can fold and be transported easily is the one to choose. The surfaces of drafting tables vary. These surfaces range from wood, to metal and glass. Engineering designers prefer metal surfaces due to daily use. Glass and wood drafting tables may be preferred by crafters, artists and fashion designers. Drafting tables are available with flat or tilting tops and strong, well balanced legs. Table surface size is also important. For example, engineering designers prefer a large table surface so they can spread out blueprints. These are known as "professional drafting tables." Artists and fashion designers may prefer a smaller work surface suitable for sketching and standard sheets of art paper. Schools generally choose a student size for drafting tables for art or workshop classes. For special needs, there are also wheelchair accessible drafting tables. Light table drawing boards are used mainly by graphic artists who plot large designs for use in advertising and promotions.

Drafting Table Extras
In addition to a sturdy table frame, work surface and legs, drafting tables are available with a wide range of features like drawers, attached file cabinets, lights and slide rules, as well as T-squares, drawing tubes and adjustable features to raise or lower the table surface to a convenient height. Detachable organizers and rolling drawing storage bins are also available. The proper drafting chair is ergonomically designed to reduce back and muscle strain. There are a wide variety from which to choose like leather, mesh and vinyl for minimal maintenance. Drafting tables have many uses among students and professionals in businesses and schools.

Monday, September 22, 2014

How Can a Light Table Increase my Efficiency as a Drafter?

When working as a drafter, one can make a lot of money and enjoy a solid, long-term career. While true, without the right tools at one’s disposal, it’s hard to accomplish all of the goals. With this in mind, here are three reasons why a person should use a light table to increase his or her efficiency as a drafter.

See the work: Without a doubt, when working at a drafting table, it’s easy to miss some of the work, especially when one doesn't have the right tools. In fact, with the wrong table, one will suffer immensely if they can’t figure out how to find their work and get things done. Luckily, with a table that works, one can see their work and complete it in a timely and easy fashion. Simply put, without enough light, one will struggle.

All that space: Now, when working at a typical table, one will not get plenty of space. Typical computer desks or tables are not made for working in front of. No, in fact, it’s not beneficial at all to take this approach. Instead, when one can sit at a light table, they can get work done and not worry about any clutter getting in the way, which often happens when using other solutions.

Takes up less space: Finally, when working with a table, one will take up a lot of space in their study area. This should be avoided as one will need a lot of room to accomplish all their day-to-day tasks as a drafter. Remember, in the studio, room is at a premium, and any serious drafter needs to take this into account when planning the layout of his or her tools and other items.

Without a doubt, when working as a drafter, one needs to invest wisely and buy the right tools. Luckily, when doing so, not only can a drafter save time, but he or she will save money as they can complete more tasks and take on more customers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How Often Should A Cutting Mat Be Replaced?

A quality cutting mat should last for years, but it is inevitable that it will eventually need to be replaced. There is no firm rule governing how often crafters should replace cutting mats since it depends on the treatment and use the mats have received.

Most cutting mats sold today are self-healing or self-sealing, which means that cuts made into the mats will close up and leave a smooth surface for future cutting. Over time the most heavily used areas of the mat will begin to lose this healing property. The cuts will stay open, marring the surface of the mat and requiring the cutting tool to be used with more force. This is extremely dangerous. Rotary cutters in particular are as sharp as razor blades; when used with force an accidental slip can inflict a dangerously deep gash. If a mat has reached the point where the cuts are no longer healing, it should be replaced.

If a cutting mat becomes warped, it will also need to be replaced. A warped mat is usually the result of either unwitting or accidental mistreatment. Some users do not realize that the mat should always be stored flat; storing it on its edge will often cause warping. Heat will also warp a mat, so if it has been ironed on or had a hot mug of coffee spilled on it, it may warp. It is impossible to cut straight lines on a warped cutting mat, so a new mat is in order.

There are a few less common ways that a cutting mat can become damaged beyond repair. If it has been rolled, it may crack. Regularly exposing the mat to strong sunlight can cause the surface to break down. If used for general crafting, there may be a buildup of glue or other materials that ruins the surface. All of these conditions will require the mat to be replaced.

Cutting mats are a wonderful tool for the modern crafter, but the user should replace cutting mats whenever normal wear and tear or damage make them ineffective or even dangerous. A new cutting mat properly cared for will give years of safe and convenient service.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Prismacolor: The Best-Selling Quality Colored Pencils

Prismacolor is the best-selling brand of colored pencils for the discriminating artist who seeks quality, color range and performance. Offered in three different varieties, Prismacolor Colored Pencils give professionals and students alike the tools to realize their creative visions.

The Premier line of colored pencils is Prismacolor’s professional grade. These pencils have a high-quality pigment in a soft, thick lead, which allows for multiple effects from the same pencil. Heavily covered swaths of saturated color can be combined with lighter, more subtly shaded areas, and blending between the two is effortless.

For the illustrator looking for more precision, Prismacolor offers their Verithin pencil. In contrast to the soft, thick lead of the Premier line, the Verithin has a hard, thin lead. This allows the pencils to be sharpened to a fine point, which gives a clean, honed edge to their marks. For lettering with sharp borders, designs with stark outlines, and objects with crisp boundaries, a pencil with a hard lead is essential.

Prismacolor’s Scholar line of colored pencils is offered at a lower price for the student of art or design. These pencils are also an excellent choice for the professional who wants to test ideas or make sketches before choosing a Premier pencil for the final work. The Scholar pencils are affordable while maintaining quality. The lead has a very smooth texture, giving excellent coverage, while also being strong enough to produce firm lines.

All lines of Prismacolor Colored Pencils are available in a stunning color palette. A full set of Premier pencils contains 150 colors, the full Verithin set has 36, and the Scholar set has 60. The Premier and Verithin pencils can be purchased in sets or individually, while the Scholar line is available in sets of various sizes from 12 to 60 colors.

The student discovering the possibilities of colored pencils for the first time and the experienced artist exploring the boundaries of a familiar medium need only look to Prismacolor for the quality and performance they seek.

Monday, September 15, 2014

5 major architectural design failures you do not want to make!

Playground at Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park- Located in New York

The creators of this park made some big mishaps, they designed 3 of the structures out of steel. This made the playground equipment to hot to touch, and therefore could not be used! They were found to be at a whopping 127 degrees! The mistake was quickly remedied and replaced with new equipment. 

Vdara Hotel & Spa- Located in Las Vegas, Nevada

The designers of this hotel created a unique curved structure of the building that surrounded the pool area. However the unique curvature backfired, and ended up being extremely dangerous. It collected solar rays and beamed them onto the hotel guests that were trying to relax in the pool area. Many guests were singed, and one guest in particular said that it burnt his hair as well as a plastic bag he had with him!

Kemper Arena- Located in Kansa City, Missouri 
This bulding was created as an indoor stadium, and featured a roof the was hung on trusses. It was created in this manner to allow rainwater to slowly release and avoid flooding. Unfortunately though, this caused the rainwater that was collected to gather everywhere the roof sagged and added weight to those areas. The roof ended up collapsing entirely, but luckily there was no one in the bulding and no fatalities. 

CNA Center- Located in Chicago, Illinois

This bulding was created for the Graham, Anderson, Probst & White firm, and then painted bright red to stand out. Years later a window become loose due to thermal expansion and fell from the 29th floor to the ground, causing one fatality. The backlash was an 18 million dollar settlement, every window in the building was required to be replaced, and each window is still checked every month to this day. 

Tacoma Narrows Bridge- Located in Tacoma Washington

This bridge was designed to connect Tacoma to Kitsap Peninsula. The bridge ended up collapsing due to improper girders. These girders were chosen because it kept the cost of building the bridge low. They were not able to keep the bridge in place correctly, and it swayed even when there was a strong wind. Its collapsed during a 40 mph wind. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Artist Gunnar Jenssen

This drawing was created by artist Gunnar Jenssen using design markers and pen. It is entitled Rhaeghor The Terrible. Gunnar has always had a fascination with these mythical creatures and has loved drawing them since he was a young boy.

He has used multiple forms of techniques in this drawing such as cross hatching, shading, blending of color, and more.

If you don't like working with design markers, you could use Prismacolor colored pencils, charcoal, pastels, etc. Each medium will produce different results, and different variations in color tone and vibrancy. Also working with each medium is slightly different. 

Create your own dragon like Rhaeghor The Terrible, or whatever else fascinates you! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why a Safco 5060 Vertical Blueprint Plan Rack Is Such an Effective Storage Solution

A vertical blueprint rack is one of the most efficient and effective storage options available. The rack combines convenience with a small footprint to make the most of any space. A Safco 5060 Vertical Blueprint Plan Rack is a good storage solution for several reasons.

Keep Blueprints Flat

Storing blueprints rolled up in tubes has a number of disadvantages. The blueprints will eventually start to warp. They will take on a permanent curl that can make consulting with clients, checking measurements or even making modifications more difficult. Rolling blueprints up and unraveling them later can eventually lead to rips, folds and tears. A vertical blueprint rack can keep blueprints flat and functional. The blueprints are held in standard clips at the top. They are allowed to hang down so that the paper is not damaged, curled or folded. Flat blueprints can make things much easier in any office or studio.

Large Amounts of Storage in a Compact Space

A vertical blueprint rack provides a large amount of storage in a compact space. Some storage options have extra components, mechanical parts or decorative elements that add to the overall size of the unit. These extras can increase the footprint of the unit. A blueprint rack is as compact as possible. The rack can hold up to 18 standard clamps. The clamps sit directly next to each other so that no space is wasted. Each clamp can contain around 100 blueprints. This means nearly 1,800 blueprints can be contained on a rack that is only a few feet wide and deep. The vertical storage rack will allow any office to store many more blueprints without having to create new open spaces.

Move Many Blueprints At Once

The Safco 5060 Vertical Blueprint Plan Rack is different from other options because it is mobile. The rack has locking casters on the bottom that roll easily. Any one person in the office has the ability to quickly move as many as 1,800 blueprints any distance that is necessary. The rack can be taken on elevators or rolled between narrow doorways leading into offices. This will make moving any number of blueprints more convenient.

Artist Jeremiah Jolliff

Jeremiah Jolliff is an incredible artist who captures the beauty and more of each scene he draws or paints, or what comes from his own imagination. He is a traveler and very much enjoys the outdoors, which is greatly reflected in his creations. I have included a few samples of his drawings and paintings here in this blog.

To see more of his artwork visit his website -

Or take a look at his blog for simple and informative tutorials!

This first piece is a drawing entitled Morning on the Volga. Jolliff used charcoal and paper for this piece, and the scene was derived from his own imagination.

This next drawing is entitled Earth's Gatway, and was also created using charcoal and paper. 

This painting is entitled Brubaker Bridge, and was drawn on scene in Preble County, OH.

This painting is entitled Empty Musings, and was created with oil on linen mounted to a board. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

List of top 10 schools for engineering

I have done some research and put together a list of the top 10 schools for engineering. If you have any interest in pursuing this as a career take a look at these schools, they have some of the best programs available!

10. Drexel University- Located in Philadelphia, PA
This University offers departments in civil, environmental and architectural engineering.

9. Kansas State University- Located in Manhattan, KS
This University has produced over 20 nationally recognized students!

8. Pennsylvania State University- University Park, PA
In 2010 this University was recognized by the Wall Street Journal  for having the top recruitment ratings.

7. The University of Texas- Located in Austin, TX
In 2011 this university was ranked 11th by the U.S. News & World Report for its programs in the school of engineering.

6. University of Cincinnati- Located in Cincinnati, OH
This University was ranked 11th by the U.S. News & World Report among up and coming schools.

5. University of Nebraska- Located in Lincoln, NE
This University had two students win first place in the Howard Brandston Awards in 2011.

4.  University of Miami- Located in Coral Gables
, FL
According to the Carnegie Foundation, this University was ranked as one of the most active research universities in the United States.

3. University of Colorado- Located in Boulder, CO
This University offers programs in architectural, civil and environmental engineering and provides opportunities for internships.

Illinois Institute of Technology- Located in Chicago, IL
The engineering department at this university has a job placement rate of 100%. They offer programs in environmental, civil and architectural engineering.

California Polytechnic University- Located in San Luis Obispo, CA
This University offers hands on practical training, labs, and many research opportunities.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Drafting film- info and tips!

Drafting film is usually used for drawing up plans by engineers and architects. Recently however artists of all kinds have taken a liking to this unique drawing surface. Drafting film accepts colored pencils very well, and gives a vibrant quality to the work. It is great for any work that requires fine details and line work. Works great for portraits of people or animals. Also, since the drafting film is translucent, you are able to draw on either side, adding even more diversity to the any work. When working with drafting film, it is encouraged to wear cotton gloves with cutouts for your fingers, or having a paper towel under your hand as you work so that you prevent oils from the skin transferring to the drafting film.

Oil based and wax pencils both work great on drafting film, however oil based usually produce the best results if your looking for a sharper image, wax pencils produce a softer look. Graphite can be used on drafting film as well, but does have a few disadvantages. Graphite will smudge very easily, which in some cases can be great if you're looking to smudge for shading etc., not so great if you just accidentally brush up against it and are not wanting to smudge that section. You can also use graphite powder on drafting film to create some cool effects. Or use a black colored pencil along with the graphite to create even darker shades. You are also capable of scratching into the drafting film to create even more interesting effects.

When erasing on drafting film you want to use as little force as possible. Kneadable erasers work well, and so do battery operated erasers. Almost any eraser will do, but it is always a good idea to try a test piece first!

Just a few inspiring quotes to think about from master draftsman Leonardo Da Vinci

Quotes from Da Vinci on Painting/Art-

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” 

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.” 

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.” 

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” 

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”  

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.” 

“Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” 

Quotes on Life-

“Time stays long enough for those who use it.” 

“Water is the driving force in nature.” 

“All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions” 

“Realize that everything connects to everything else.” 

“average human “looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.” 

“Wisdom is the daughter of experience” 

“ The deeper the feeling the greater the pain ” 

The Advantages Of Choose the Alvin Roll File Tubular Unit for Storage

Finding the right type of storage for large documents, plans or blueprints is not always easy. Some designs are too limiting or too complex. A roll file from Alvin is a simple and effective storage solution. The wireframe cart is very flexible. The Alvin Roll File Storage Unit has a number of advantages.

Fast Storage and Retrieval

One of the main advantages of the roll file is that it allows for fast storage and retrieval of any document or tube. The design uses three layers of grids. There are 20 individual slots running vertically through the cart. Adding a new tube or document to the roll file involves just lining it up with the openings and letting it drop down. Retrieval is even easier. There is no need to sort through stacks of blueprints or plans. The 20 tubes or documents can all be seen at one time without having to open drawers or rearrange things. This means anyone in a studio or office will be able to access the stored rolls as quickly as possible.

Accommodate a Large Range Of Sizes

Some storage options today for blueprints or documents have strict limits about what size can be put in the unit. This is not true for the roll file. The Alvin Roll File Tubular Storage Unit can accommodate a large range of sizes. The individual slots are several inches across. They can hold single documents rolled tightly. They can hold a group of blueprints rolled together loosely. The different layers make it possible to store short documents along with tall ones. The roll file is very versatile when it comes to the sizes of the documents that it can hold.

Take It Anywhere

The roll file is mounted on four casters. The casters mean that the cart can be taken anywhere. The mobility of the unit is enhanced by the compact design and small footprint. This makes the roll file appropriate for any size office since it can be moved around as needed. The casters on the bottom also lock in place so that the cart can sit in a single stable place while it is in use.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Just a few tips for prismacolor colored pencils!

1. First, and most importantly make sure all your pencils are sharpened well, to a nice point.
If you like, it can help by putting your colored pencils in order from lightest to darkest so you don't have to search for the right color once you start.

2. Focus your attention on one area at a time. This well help to not become overwhelmed with your project. Start with a light shading, not pressing to hard with the pencil. When building layers is what you want, this step is key!

3. To shade, use colors of the same "family", or color group. Continue to just build layers of these similar colors on top of one another until you reach the desired shading effect. It is also very important when you are building layers of similar colors to shade in the same direction each time.

4. To incorporate new colors with layering just begin adding the different colors that you desire, except instead of shading in the same direction, you should use a cross hatch pattern, in the opposite direction, to add the new colors.

5. Add black and white layers and shading as desired.

6. When you have completed the amount of layers desired, use the prismacolor pencil with no pigment added, the colorless blender. Make small strokes as you work. You could also use a q-tip or other things for this process.

7. If something turns out wrong just use the eraser carefully, add other layers of color on top, then continue to re-layer as desired.

Friday, September 5, 2014

5 examples of sustainable architecture

I did some research and found 5 buildings that were designed to be eco-friendly!

5. Cherokee Studios- Located in Los Angeles, California
This eco-friendly design draws on the wonderful California sun, using day light helps reduce the need for electric lights, and also uses passive cooling!

4. Kiowa County Schools- Located in Greensburg, Kansas
This school was designed with the environment in mind! The K-12 school has natural ventilation and uses day lighting! There is also a wind turbine that provides a large portion of the energy, along with a wind farm that is located nearby!

3. LOTT Clean Water Alliance- Located in Olympia, Washington
The methane produced from this water treatment plant is used in a cogeneration plant to provide heat and electricity! The heat is then used in this building which removes the need of a boiler. It also uses day lighting to minimize other lighting and solar energy for heat!

2. Research Support Facility in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory- Located in Golden, Colorado
This building features natural ventilation, day lighting, and an open office plan that minimizes the building footprint per person. They also study and research new ways for renewable energy!

1. OS House- Located in Racine, Wisconsin
Near Lake Michigan, this LEED house uses the breeze provided from the lake, along with solar energy for it's outdoor rooms. This helps provide excellent cross ventilation. It also features an on-demand hot water pump that aids in minimizing water consumption.

5 Best Supplies for a Drafting Student

A drafting student will need plenty of supplies before he or she starts school. Not only will a person need to buy nice pens, but he or she will need to buy much more. With this in mind, here is a short list of the best five supplies for a drafting student.

Drafting tables: First, any serious student will need a table where he or she can work. Non-drafting folks think that a person can work on a table in the kitchen or living room and enjoy it. No, in reality, one needs to use a drafting table to complete his or her projects.

Drafting paper: Now, one may not realize this, but a student will go through tons of paper and will always appreciate paper. For this reason, when thinking of a drafting student, one can never go wrong by buying him or her drafting paper.

Table light: With a well-placed table light, a student can get work done with ease. On the other hand, if he or she uses a cheap light or none at all, they will struggle when it comes time to work in the afternoon or evening. Remember, a drafting student will struggle to see the paper if he or she is not under a powerful light.

Drafting template: A new student will want to rely on drafting templates to hone his or her trade. Fortunately, with the right template, one can complete tasks with ease. Without a doubt, this is an excellent gift to get a young student who still struggles with the basics.

Drafting chairs: Finally, when looking to remain comfortable throughout a long study or work session, a drafting student should sit in a comfortable chair. Then, he or she will enjoy great posture and won't deal with back or neck pain plaguing other people working in an office. This is, without a doubt, one of the Best Supplies for a Drafting Student.

When looking to buy a gift for a drafting student, remember that most people will truly appreciate something that is both practical and usable from day one and beyond.