This paper analyzes the transformation of manual drawing in the context of design and art. The historical paradigm shift from "unselfconscious form-making processes" to "design-by-drawing" is closely associated with the current transformation of manual drawing into "digital" or "spatial sketching." It is argued that design-by-drawing has changed our view of manual drawing as a body technique, for example, from hand–eye coordination more toward an aesthetic perspective by coupling certain forms of attention to this technique. Design-by-drawing is transforming manual drawing into diagramming, coding, or modeling within the paradigm of system design. It becomes obvious that the paradigm shift is not based on disruptive but on incremental innovations since the 1960s. An important focus is on the disparity between a deskilling of classical manual abilities and a reskilling of "body techniques" by the use of innovative man–machine interfaces. By reviewing the pros and cons of manual drawings from the fields of engineering design, graphic design, and art education, future prospects of the use of manual drawings are shown. Examining historical changes in manual drawing can help in understanding current transformations. The arguments presented can contribute to the development of a new framework for the use of this classic technique in design.


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pp. 56-74
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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