1966 to 1971 – Those Anecdotal Five Years …. – The Practical(s) : Engineering Drawing – Fortunately It Turned Out To be More Engineering Than Drawing [1]

Drawing in the name of the subject itself had chilled me to the bones.

Just one illustration will suffice to show that I so much did not have the basic inclination towards the drawing as an practical art form that I could not develop most rudimentary skills of drawing any object.

My first encounter with Drawing was when I had reached Virani High School in the second term of eighth standard, in the year 1958-59. Drawing was one subject that we had to study, along with Music and Craft, in addition to the other regular subjects. I very distinctly remember that first topic that was assigned to me was A Kite-Flying Boy. For the convenience of the class, our teacher had drawn live a picture on the back board. It hardly would have taken five minutes for him to do so. I picked up a few clouds in the sky as my first choice. Since clouds have no specific shape, I could satisfy myself with what I drew. Then in the rest of the time, I chose to draw the kite and the string that held it, being next simpler topics. At the very first attempt, my kite turned out to be a non-parallel, four-sided object, perhaps one of the most asymmetric 4-sided polygon. Realising my error, I immediately rubbed it off. I must have spent nearly whole of the next drawing period in drawing up a decent-enough looking lite. However, even after making that part of the sheet almost back, I could not manage with a decent-looking kite.

My rest of the memory is totally blank, so I do not really remember what happened to that drawing or how would have I managed to pass the subject that year or the next year, before I left Virani because of transfer of my father to Ahmedabad. However, there is little doubt that I WAS indeed extremely poor at the drawing.

Clearing the first hurdle

I then came face-to-face with drawing as subject of study now, and that too, once again, where I had to draw objects. The only silver lining to the dark cloud was that this was not to be free-hand drawing, but drawings to be created with the help of various instruments.

However, there can not be any drawing where I would not face hick-ups.

Till now I only had used a pencil that had a point which as not too blunt. Now, we were to purchase pencil with 2H and 4H classifications, one each was to be prepared with a sharp conical point and other with a chisel-type edge.  What appears to be so simple when I write this or read it, actually had turned out to be an as arduous task as that of drawing that kite.

The first assignment was drawing a few alphabets and numbers as well as the drawing identification ‘name plate’. Well, after several iterations drawing one alphabet and getting it rejected because of right thickness of the pencil point not used, I managed to get that assignment approved.

The subsequent topics had good deal of theoretical backing, well covered and explained in our Machine Design textbooks. So even if, the overall quality of my engineering drawings remained poor enough, I was able to understand the theoretical part well enough to help me sail through the three years of study of the subject.

As far as I recollect, several of my batchmates were sailing in the same boat, with varying degree of comfort (or discomfort). Dilip Vyas has capitulated these feelings as –

“Drawing was never my strong suit from school years. When I had to draw structure of eye in General Science in SSC exam, that was the only difficult part in an otherwise easy paper. So entering Engineering college, I was not looking forward to the drawing part. But seniors and my cousin reassured me that Engineering drawing is different and easy because it is to be done with all kinds of gadgets and not free hand.

“I now realize that even though engineering drawing involves using tools and techniques to create technical illustrations, it still requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. Concepts such as orthographic projection, isometric projection, and dimensioning are all critical to creating accurate and useful technical drawings.

“Looking back, I’m not entirely sure how I managed to get through that part of my coursework. But somehow, I must have done the minimum required to earn my degree. I remember feeling a great temptation to cheat, but I resisted and didn’t do any TC or engage in any other form of academic dishonesty.

“As I progressed through my career, I began to appreciate the benefits of actually doing engineering drawings. One of the biggest advantages was being able to interpret blueprints of parts and machinery more easily, as I had a better understanding of the technical illustrations and the principles of engineering drawing.

“In today’s age of computer-aided design (CAD), engineering drawing has undergone a significant transformation. Three-dimensional images and models can be created and modified with the stroke of a key, making the design process faster, more efficient, and more precise than ever before.

“While I’m sure this technology has made engineering drawing easier in many ways, I also hope that the importance of foundational skills such as orthographic projection, isometric projection, and dimensioning are not lost in the process. These skills are still critical to creating accurate and useful technical illustrations, and they provide a solid foundation for understanding the principles of engineering design.

“Overall, I’m optimistic that the advancements in technology have made engineering drawing more interesting and accessible to the current generation of students and professionals. I look forward to seeing how this field continues to evolve and innovate in the years to come.”

I would fully agree with Dilip’s optimism of the present and future of engineering drawing as  a discipline of study and practice.

Apart from these core part of the topic of Engineering Drawing, I recall several soft aspects, which did add some colours and life those days to the subject in particular and the study in general.