My Sketches

I was going through the drawers in my office recently and happened across an old sketch book of mine. I used to do a lot of sketching of ideas, working things out by drawing the details before they actually became a reality. I would always carry a sketch book with me where ever I went so I could quickly capture my inspiration as it occurred. I haven't been doing enough of that lately with the advent of Auto Cad, a program where drawings are computer generated, and with my small digital camera in my purse at all times. I don't know whether it is laziness or the advent of technology, but I must say that looking back on these quick hand done sketches that they have a certain charm that the computer or the digital camera just can't achieve. There is something to be said for hand drawing. When I went to Design School we were taught to hand draw and I filled copious sketch pads. I studied Architecture in Paris and we would sit for hours in front of an important building or monument while the professor talked about the merits of the architecture and we would be fastidiously sketching away. I remember my first art class where there were nude models. I was very young and very naive and must say that it was very embarrassing for me to learn to draw the human body anatomically correct. Hand drawing is a very good way to train the eye to see details, and details are the stuff that design is made of. There is something magical about capturing the essence of something with a few lines.

tie back draperyfabric and trim

This was a sketch for a doorway into a Master Bedroom closet. I played around with different fringes to edge the drapery. One side was striped and the other side was a coordinating floral in linen.


This was an alternate detail for the drapery to cover the doorway into the Master Closet. Instead of being held back with a piece of curved metal it gathered back on itself with a series of loops sewn onto the back of the fabric, much like a roman blind. The top of the drapery was hung over the curtain rod with tabs that folded over and were pointed on the ends. There is even a design for coordinated lampshades trimmed with cord and tassel.

cushion details

These were sketches for toss cushions with notations for the size,fabric, trims and even the colors.

detail 1

This was a sketch for the drapery workroom for a "balloon" valance treatment with a decorative French mirror between. The windows bothered me as they were not even, so I added full length side panels to each window, as noted in the bottom notation, to have 10" hems/headers and I wanted them to puddle on the floor so I added an extra 40" to the over all length. I would not have been able to make this decision to frame the windows with full length draperies as easily if I had not done a sketch first.

ash street bed

A sketch for the arrangement of toss cushions and bedding, that were made of 3 fabrics: Cream Silk Taffeta, Anjelica - a beautiful cream and navy linen toile, and a charcoal pin strip Egyptian cotton. Funny I even added a little quotation: "Each Day Dawns But Once".


This was a sketch that I did of a chair in a Hotel Lobby in London, that intrigued me. I was sitting down waiting for the check-in to happen. The British do wonderful detailing on their upholstery and drapery treatments. I remember being totally charmed with the fabric and color selection of this chair, that I had to note exactly how it was done. I even drew the skirt in detail showing a section through it. People must have thought I was crazy, as I lifted up the skirt several times to see exactly how they had sewn it. I used to carry a travel palette of watercolors and would use whatever liquid I could find, for this one I might have dipped my paint brush into diluted tea?? After all it was London.


  1. sketch books are a designers best friend! I have a note/sketch book that i carry around everywhere i go and whenever i get inspired i write, draw, create floorplans for etc... :)

    it's great looking back as well and going over old ideas! great sketches patricia! thanks for sharing.

    jenn lee

  2. thank you for sharing these Patricia!! I love the loose/sketchy technique on these! You add quotes too...now that is priceless :)


  3. i usually start out with sketches then go to my computer program to finalize and get measurements down to scale.

    I love how you colored your last drawing!

  4. I totally agee that drawing trains the eye to notice details. Such a shame that technology has replaced this...I think most designers are guilty of taking digital photos instead. I used to carry a sketch book with me everywhere too, but not so much these days. I love that you sat and sketched a chair in a hotel lobby - and then proceeded to water colour it!

  5. They are simply beautiful and functional! Thanks/Soussan T.

  6. I love these! Especially the little lampshade with the detailing and the chair = I love how you shaded the cushion, very, very well done!

  7. Anonymous28/2/08

    I love that you share these scetches with us! So interesting to see how you work, and the attention you pay to those little, but sooo important details!

  8. Anonymous28/2/08

    Great sketches Patricia. I prefer drawing to Autocad, but I realize that drawings aren't so great for presentations.

  9. The sketches are absolutely charming. Love, love, love your devotion to detail

  10. Oh, I love sketches and yours are so fun to check out.

  11. Thank you! I have so enjoyed this insight. How good that you have kept these 'works of art'!

  12. Anonymous28/2/08

    Sketch books are one of my best friends and I'm always happy to get a sneek peek inside someone else's. Love your detail and love the quote on the sketch of the bed..inspiring.

  13. Anonymous28/2/08

    I love your drawings and this post! I still hand draw all of the gardens that I design : )

  14. I love this artistic way better than the technoligical way !

  15. Wow, these are fabulous! How inspiring - thank you for sharing!!

  16. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog.

  17. I agree...the sketches are charming and speak to your incredible talent!!


  18. watercolor on the fly? i am impressed! lovely quality to that chair sketch, btw- you are very talented!


Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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