This is the fourth but not necessarily the last in my brief series on the tools used in architectural drafting. I cannot imagine how artists and illustrators whose work features architecture can do it without technological assistance. Art and the machine! In the distant past, buildings were often designed, and certainly built, with a certain indeterminacy of line to which Time and Mother Nature added beauty.
The precision of line and surface was improved over the centuries with the use of drafting equipment, but now computing (CAD, or computer-assisted design) has taken some of the art out of architectural rendering. Still, some want to hark back to ye olden ways. Today, the acquisition of vintage tools can be frustrating. Read “This A-Hole Wants How Much?” by a cartoonist named Douglas (he signs himself “Admin”) at the Arsenic Lullabies Blog.
I read the whole thing. It is not improper to call it a screed, though Admin uses the word rant, or even the less rollicking complaint. Douglas’s complaint is long but the hilarity of his illustrated descriptions of the flaws of drafting tools he buys online compels a reader to follow the screed to the end. Along the way, beware of assorted pottymouthisms, solecisms and neologisms. Here he sums up his predicament:
Since, it would be legally impertinent, to rant about what I’d like to rant about right now,* I’m going to complain about something else I have been putting off complaining about.
One of the great screws of being an Illustrator or an artist is how much good supplies cost. Even in the age of online stores it’s still expensive. For example a 3 ounce bottle of quality ink will run you from $3 to $5. Let me put that in perspective for you. Ink has two ingredients water and dye. Soda has about 49 ingredients and you can get 20 ounces of it for 1.00. People who use oil based paints are laughing at me for complaining about ink, because a set of quality oil pant is close to a monthly car payment. Brushes, pens, canvas….the good stuff is way over priced compared to tools people in other professions use. Even when I was a mechanic and looking through the Snap-On catalogue (the gold standard for tools) tools were cheaper…and you could use the same one for the rest of your life.
The problem is there are not enough of us for the supplies to be mass produced to the point the cost is reasonable. You see a painting for sale, it probably cost 200.00 just in supplies. It’s ridiculous, and a little sick.
*And what might that be?
We are left to wonder. I am still wondering whether the subjects of my three previous posts – Phiz, Antiquity Smith and James Holland – actually used drafting tools in their work. But wondering can be hazardous, for here comes a stray thought: Might greater ease of producing precise lines and curves with the application of drafting tools have played a role in the profession’s drift toward modern architecture? Hmm.