How many times have you closed off the reminder to save your work only for the software to crash with hours of unsaved work? How many times have you said to yourself “I’ll back up my files on Monday” only for your computer to crash on Sunday night? I want to share with you a mistake I’ve recently experienced in the hopes that you can learn from it, because I surely haven’t yet!

Studio this semester wasn’t particularly a ‘sketchy studio’, in the sense we were encouraged more to use 3D computer software to first make a form, then take it into a CAD to develop plans and sections. You know how some studios are really sketch orientated where you might start massing or layouts on trace and move from there? Or there’s studios that just rely on the computer? The point is, if we didn’t bring a sketchbook to class our tutor wouldn’t exactly notice. However despite this ‘atmosphere’ of the studio I was still drawn (pun intended) to my sketchbook, and started using it quite heavily.

What would I use my sketchbook for? Little diagrams, diagrammatic sections, layout of plans, detailing, elevation treatment, etc and etc. It was handy for me to see what would happen if I angled the wall this way instead of that way, without having to model it on the computer. I started using the sketchbook quite heavily, using both sides of the paper and about 3/4 of the way through the unthinkable happened.

It was a day where I met with a friend so he could show me Grasshopper, I had a idea of ‘shrink wrapping’ mesh over my entire site and didn’t know how to achieve this without him. It was also the day we had someone from ARUP come into studio to discuss with students individually about the structural engineering behind their designs. I ducked out of studio to see my friend, sketchbook in hand and met with him in the computer labs. After about half-an-hour we managed to achieve what I was chasing and we parted ways. I returned to studio to show my tutor the mesh we just did and that’s all I can remember.

The next day I wanted to sketch something down and looked in my bag, no sketchbook. I threw the blankets of my bed, no sketchbook. I panicked, I could not find my sketchbook. I breathed and headed into uni to check the classroom we had studio in, no sketchbook. I checked the computer lab, no sketchbook. I ducked over to the lost and found at the student union building, no sketchbook. I started to get frustrated. I left a message on our studio’s Facebook asking if anyone had seen my sketchbook, no replies. I had lost my sketchbook.

The semester went on and I forgot all about losing my sketchbook until we were told a journal would be required for final submission. The journal would typically show your progress from Week 1 to Week 12, and it was then I remembered I never scanned any of my sketchbook. I lost all evidence of any progress.

I managed to somehow put together a journal but it felt weak without my development sketches, it felt like I had zero thought between this design and that design. I did ensure to leave a couple notes in the journal indicating I lost my journal but effectively it was on me. I have ben told on many occasions to spend time each week to scan your sketchbook and any other sketches you’ve done, and a lot of the time I told myself “Yeah I’ll do it next week“, except next week never came.

I’ve yet to receive marks back so I’m not sure how much effect losing my sketchbook has had on my grade, but it’s still something I’m kicking myself over. It’s such a simple thing to do but it does require discipline. It’s better to be proactive than reactive, so if I’m to part some wisdom to other architecture students it would be this. Every Sunday, or Friday, or Wednesday, or whichever day works for you, take your sketchbook, trace paper, scrap paper and whatever else you used to sketch on for the week and go to the printing room at uni. Scan each page and paper for that previous week, email it to yourself and then organise it on your computer. When it comes to putting together a portfolio it makes things much more easier, and it is a good habit to get into.

I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I will in the future scan my sketches on a regular basis! I can’t have another shallow journal! What’s most frustrating is it was becoming my favourite sketchbook, full of little ideas, but they are now all gone! If you choose to ignore the advice given above at the very least follow this one, write down your name and contact details somewhere easily seen (inside cover or first page) so if you are like me and lose your sketchbook, if someone finds it they know how to give it back to you.

Men are facing a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. They are dying too young, before their time. I’m taking action and need your help. This Movember, I am growing a moustache for men’s health. To donate visit my MoSpace here, any amount you can spare is greatly appreciated! And follow my progress on Instagram with the hashtag #thatarchmovember.