Everything Starts with a Drawing
At Pratt Design Studio, you will notice upon meeting me, that I always carry something to draw on wherever I go. If for some reason I don’t have a pad or pen, a stray piece of sheetrock or the back of a receipt will also do. It’s ingrained, and it is necessary to work through a challenge by drawing. While the methods used to draw over the years may have changed, the idea is still relayed from our brains, through our fingers to a means of drawing. Drawing is one of the things that I enjoy most about my work. – RP
When I was young, my father had a wood shop in our garage. He had lived through the depression, started making his own sellable widgets at age 12, and by 32 started his own company selling furniture that he designed and built.
That business lasted beyond his lifetime and became one of the most well-known furniture stores in New Jersey.
He also designed and was the general contractor for seven houses he lived in over the years and two buildings for his business.
He started with the drawings and then had an architect take it from there.
I was involved as his helper in many wood and metal projects. Furniture, a mermaid figure head, 25 Franklin stoves, 25 sets of toy blocks, the list goes on and on…
When, at 12 years old, I wanted to build a toy boat, I tried to ‘sell’ my idea to him. “Dad, I’d like to build a boat for the pool.” “Okay” he said, “do you have a drawing?” “No, said I.”
“You’ll need a drawing to build a boat. Get your ideas set, draw it up with dimensions and we’ll build your boat.”
Hmmm…maybe I could make a Christmas ornament for Mom I thought to myself because surely, I wouldn’t need a drawing for that. When I approached him with that idea, he again asked me if I had a drawing, which I did not.
I eventually yielded and came up with a drawing for the boat and many other things. With his help, we built many projects together, and eventually on my own, ALL starting with a drawing. When I was a freshman in high school, he bought me a small drafting table and I began designing houses as he had done so many times before.
While in school at Drexel University pursuing my degree in Architecture, I took a design class – of course. But this class wasn’t about designing buildings, it was about designing everything anything. No matter where you are; whether you’re sitting, standing or walking, everything man-made in sight was designed by someone and started with a drawing . Paper clips, chairs, wallpaper designs, light fixtures, deck chairs and boats. Big boats. Doll houses, dog houses, modest houses, large houses, and warehouses. Shoes, fences, buttons, eyeglasses, iced tea bottles and boxes.
Did you know that the nerves in our hands are wired into 70-80% of our brain? That means when we roll up our sleeves and start [drawing] with our hands, we connect into a huge part of our brain and tap into stores of information and knowledge… in our unconscious mind. Researchers have found that our unconscious processes information millions of times faster than our conscious mind. That’s why we have… amazing flashes of creative ideas when we set the conditions right.1