Architectural Graphics, 5th Edition / Edition 5

Architectural Graphics, 5th Edition / Edition 5

by Francis D. K. Ching
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Architectural Graphics, 5th Edition / Edition 5

Francis D.K. Ching's architectural bestseller, thoroughly updated

Since 1975, Architectural Graphics has been a bestselling classic that has introduced countless students of architecture and design to the fundamentals of graphic communication. Featuring Francis D.K. Ching's signature graphic style, it illustrates how to use graphic tools and drafting conventions to translate architectural ideas into effective visual presentation. This Fifth Edition has been updated to reflect the latest drawing techniques helping it remain the leading book on the topic.

  • The latest edition of the classic book on architectural drawing by the master of architectural communication
  • Over 500,000 copies sold of previous editions
  • Revised and expanded to include more information on computer-generated graphics and the latest drawing conventions for architectural representation
  • The author is world-renowned for his numerous architecture and design books, including Architecture: Form, Space, and Order; A Global History of Architecture; Interior Design Illustrated; Building Codes Illustrated; and Building Construction Illustrated, all from Wiley.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470399118
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/23/2009
Series: CourseSmart Series
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Francis D.K. Ching is a registered architect and Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the bestselling author of numerous books on architecture and design, all published by Wiley. His works have been translated into over seventeen languages and are regarded as classics for their renowned graphic presentation.

Read an Excerpt

Architectural Graphics

By Francis D. K. Ching

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-20906-6

Chapter One

Drawing Tools & Materials

This chapter introduces the pencils and pens necessary for inscribing lines, the instruments available for guiding the eye and hand while drawing, and the surfaces suitable for receiving the hand-drawn lines. While digital technology continues to augment and enhance this traditional drawing toolkit, hand drawing with a pen or pencil remains the most direct and versatile means of learning the language of architectural graphics.


Pencils are relatively inexpensive, quite versatile, and uniquely responsive to pressure while drawing.

Lead Holders

Lead holders employ standard 2 mm leads.

The push-button action of a clutch mechanism allows the exposed length of the lead shaft to be adjusted or withdrawn when the pencil is not in use.

The lead point, which is capable of a variety of line weights, must be kept well sharpened with a lead pointer.

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils utilize 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 0.9 mm leads.

A push-button mechanism advances the lead automatically through a metal sleeve. This sleeve should be long enough to clear the edges of drafting triangles and straightedges.

The relatively thin leads of mechanical pencils do not require sharpening.

0.3 mm pencils yield very fine lines, but the thin leads are susceptible to breaking if applied withtoo much pressure.

0.5 mm pencils are the most practical for general drawing purposes.

0.7 mm and 0.9 mm pencils are useful for sketching and writing; avoid using these pencils to produce heavy line weights.

Wood-Encased Pencils

Wooden drawing pencils are typically used for freehand drawing and sketching. If used for drafting, the wood must be shaved back to expose 3/4" of the lead shaft so that it can be sharpened with sandpaper or a lead pointer.

All three styles of pencils are capable of producing quality line drawings. As you try each type out, you will gradually develop a preference for the characteristic feel, weight, and balance of a particular instrument as you draw.


Graphite Leads

Grades of graphite lead for drawing on paper surfaces range from 9H (extremely hard) to 6B (extremely soft). Given equal hand pressure, harder leads produce lighter and thinner lines, whereas softer leads produce denser, wider lines.

Colored Leads

Nonphoto blue leads are used for guidelines that will not reproduce on photocopiers. Nonprint violet leads produce guidelines that will not reproduce on diazo machines; the lines, however, may print on photocopy machines. Test prints are therefore always advisable when using either nonphoto or nonprint leads.

Plastic Leads

Specially formulated plastic polymer leads are available for drawing on drafting film. Grades of plastic lead range from E0, N0, or P0 (soft) to E5, N5, or P5 (hard). The letters E, N, and P are manufacturer's designations; the numbers 0 through 5 refer to degrees of hardness.

Recommendations for Grades of Graphite Lead


This dense grade of lead is best suited for accurately marking and laying out light construction lines.

The thin, light lines are difficult to read and reproduce and should therefore not be used for finish drawings.

When applied with too much pressure, the dense lead can engrave paper and board surfaces, leaving grooves that are difficult to remove.


This medium-hard lead is also used for laying out drawings and is the densest grade of lead suitable for finish drawings.

2H lines do not erase easily if drawn with a heavy hand.

F and H

These are general-purpose grades of lead suitable for layouts, finish drawings, and handlettering.


This relatively soft grade of lead is capable of dense linework and handlettering.

HB lines erase and print well but tend to smear easily.

Experience and good technique are required to control the quality of HB linework.


This soft grade of lead is used for very dense linework and handlettering.


The texture and density of a drawing surface affect how hard or soft a pencil lead feels. The more tooth or roughness a surface has, the harder the lead you should use; the more dense a surface is, the softer a lead feels.

Technical pens are capable of producing precise, consistent ink lines without the application of pressure. As with lead holders and mechanical pencils, technical pens from different manufacturers vary in form and operation. Most technical pens, however, utilize an ink-flow-regulating wire within a tubular nib, the size of which determines the width of the ink line.

There are a dozen point sizes available, from extremely fine (6 x 0, equivalent to 0.13 mm) to very wide (7, equivalent to 2 mm). Stainless-steel tips are satisfactory for drawing on vellum but wear too quickly on drafting film. Tungsten or jewel tips are required for drafting on film.

A starting pen set should include the following point sizes:

4 x 0 0.18 mm line width

0 0.35 mm line width

1 0.50 mm line width

3 0.80 mm line width

The tubular point should be long enough to clear the thickness of drafting triangles and straightedges.

Use waterproof, nonclogging, fast-drying black drawing ink.

Keep points screwed in securely to prevent ink leaking.

After each use, replace the pen cap firmly to prevent the ink from drying.

When pens are not in use, store them with their tips up.

Digital Stylus

The digital equivalent of the pen and pencil is the stylus. Used with a digitizing tablet and appropriate software, it replaces the mouse and enables the user to draw in a freehand manner. Some models and software are able to detect and respond to the amount of hand pressure to mimic more realistically the effects of traditional media.



T-squares are straightedges that have a short crosspiece at one end. This head slides along the edge of a drawing board as a guide in establishing and drawing straight parallel lines. T-squares are relatively low in cost and portable but require a straight and true edge against which their heads can slide.

This end of a T-square is subject to wobbling.

T-squares are available in 18", 24", 30", 36", 42", and 48" lengths. 42" or 48" lengths are recommended.

A metal angle secured to the drawing board can provide a true edge.

Use this length of the straightedge.

T-squares with clear, acrylic straightedges should not be used for cutting. Metal T-squares are available for this purpose.

Parallel Rules

Parallel rules are equipped with a system of cables and pulleys that allows their straightedges to move across a drawing board only in a parallel manner. Parallel rules are more expensive and less portable than T-squares but enable one to draft with greater speed and accuracy.


Triangles are drafting aids used to guide the drawing of vertical lines and lines at specified angles. They have a right angle and either two 45° angles or one 30° and one 60° angle.

4" to 24" lengths are available.

8" to 10" lengths are recommended.

Small triangles are useful for crosshatching small areas and as a guide in handlettering. See page 180.

Larger triangles are useful in constructing perspectives.

The 45°-45° and 30°-60° triangles can be used in combination to produce angular increments of 15°. See page 19.

Triangles are made of clear, scratch-resistant, non-yellowing acrylic to allow a transparent, undistorted view through to the work below. Fluorescent orange acrylic triangles are also available for greater visibility on the drafting surface.

Machined edges should be polished for precision and to facilitate drawing. Some triangles have raised edges for inking with technical pens.

Inner edges may be beveled to serve as finger lifts.

Keep triangles clean by washing with a mild soap and water.

Triangles should not be used as a straightedge for cutting materials.

Adjustable Triangles

Adjustable triangles have a movable leg that is held in place with a thumbscrew and a scale for measuring angles. These instruments are useful for drawing such inclined lines as the slope of a stair or the pitch of a roof.


Templates have cutouts to guide the drawing of predetermined shapes.

Electronic Templates

Drawing and CAD programs include electronic templates of geometric shapes, furnishings, fixtures, as well as user-defined elements. The purpose of physical and electronic templates remains the same-to save time when drawing repetitive elements.

A significant advantage of CAD programs is their ability to have a symbol represent all instances of a graphic element or object in a drawing or design, such as the dimensions of a window opening or a unit plan in a housing project. Any change made to the definition or attributes of that symbol automatically updates all instances of it throughout a drawing or design project.


The compass is essential for drawing large circles as well as circles of indeterminate radii.

It is difficult to apply pressure when using a compass. Using too hard a grade of lead can therefore result in too light of a line. A softer grade of lead, sharpened to a chisel point, will usually produce the sharpest line without undue pressure. A chisel point dulls easily, however, and must be sharpened often.

An attachment allows technical pens to be used with a compass.

Even larger circles can be drawn by appending an extension arm or using a beam compass.

A variety of French curves are manufactured to guide the drawing of irregular curves.

Adjustable curves are shaped by hand and held in position to draw a fair curve through a series of points.

Protractors are semicircular instruments for measuring and plotting angles.



One of the advantages of drawing with a pencil is the ability to easily erase pencil marks. Always use the softest eraser compatible with the medium and the drawing surface. Avoid using abrasive ink erasers.

Vinyl or PVC plastic erasers are nonabrasive and will not smear or mar the drawing surface.

Some erasers are saturated with erasing fluid to erase ink lines from paper and drafting films.

Liquid erasing fluid removes pencil and ink markings from drafting film.

Electric erasers are very convenient for erasing large areas and ink lines. Compact, battery-operated models are especially handy.

Other Aids

Drafting brushes help keep the drawing surface clean of erasure fragments and other particles.

Soft, granular drafting powder is available that provides a temporary protective coating over drawings during drafting, picks up pencil lead dust, and keeps the drawing surface clean. If used too heavily, the powder can cause lines to skip, so use sparingly, if at all.

Pounce powder may be used to prepare drawing surfaces for inking.

Erasing Shields

Erasing shields have cutouts of various shapes and sizes to confine the area of a drawing to be erased. These thin stainless-steel shields are especially effective in protecting the drawing surface while using an electric eraser. Ones that have square-cut holes allow the erasure of precise areas of a drawing.


In drawing, "scale" refers to a proportion determining the relation of a representation to the full size of that which is represented. The term also applies to any of various instruments having one or more sets of precisely graduated and numbered spaces for measuring, reading, or transferring dimensions and distances in a drawing.

Architect's Scales

An architect's scale has graduations along its edges so that scale drawings can be measured directly in feet and inches.

Triangular scales have 6 sides with 11 scales, a full-size scale in 1/16" increment, as well as the following architectural scales: 3/32", 3/16", 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 3/8", 3/4", 1", 1-1/2", and 3" = 1'-0".

Flat-beveled scales have either 2 sides with 4 scales or 4 sides with 8 scales.

Both 12" and 6" lengths are available.

Scales should have precisely calibrated graduations and engraved, wear-resistant markings.

Scales should never be used as a straightedge for drawing lines.

To read an architect's scale, use the part of scale graduated in whole feet and the division of a foot for increments smaller than a foot.

The larger the scale of a drawing, the more information it can and should contain.

Engineer's Scales

An engineer's scale has one or more sets of graduated and numbered spaces, each set being divided into 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 parts to the inch.

Metric Scales

Metric scales consist of one or more sets of graduated and numbered spaces, each set establishing a proportion of one millimeter to a specified number of millimeters.

Common metric scales include the following: 1:5, 1:50, 1:500, 1:10, 1:100, 1:1000, 1:20, and 1:200

Digital Scale

In traditional drawing, we think in real-world units and use scale to reduce the size of the drawing to a manageable size. In digital drawing, we actually input information in real-world units, but we should distinguish between the size of the image seen on a monitor and the scale of the output from a printer or plotter.


The transparency of tracing papers and films makes them effective for overlay work, allowing the selective drawing or tracing on one sheet and the ability to see through to an underlying drawing.

Tracing Papers

Tracing papers are characterized by transparency, whiteness, and tooth or surface grain. Fine-tooth papers are generally better for inking, whereas medium-tooth papers are more suitable for pencil work.

Sketch-Grade Tracing Paper

Inexpensive, lightweight tissue is available in white, cream, and yellow or buff colors in rolls 12", 18", 24", 30", and 36" wide.

Lightweight trace is used for freehand sketching, overlays, and studies.

Use only soft leads or markers; hard leads can tear the thin paper easily.


Vellum is available in rolls, pads, and individual sheets in 16, 20, and 24 lb. weights. Mediumweight 16 lb. vellum is used for general layouts and preliminary drawings.

16 or 20 lb. vellum with 100% rag content is a stable, translucent, and erasable paper used for finished drawings.


Excerpted from Architectural Graphics by Francis D. K. Ching Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1 Drawing Tools and Materials.

2 Architectural Drafting.

3 Architectural Drawing Systems.

4 Multiview Drawings.

5 Paraline Drawings.

6 Perspective Drawings.

7 Rendering Tonal Values.

8 Rendering Context.

9 Architectural Presentations.

10 Freehand Drawing.


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Architectural Graphics, 5th Edition 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GreenArch More than 1 year ago
If you an architecure major or a similar field, this is a great text book and reference guide. It helps me quite a deal when I get stuck on projects. I would recommend this book and any of the books by Ching for that matter.