Drawing or Drafting?

I think a confusion between “drawing” and “drafting” could be that drawing is a superset of drafting. Drawing can be any kind of image making with pen or pencil, while drafting refers to carefully made drawings with the aid of straight edges. All drafting is a form of drawing, but not all drawing is a form of drafting. Once in a while, you see the phrase “technical drawing” to refer to a drawing that was drafted. Sketching means typically fast and freehand; quite the opposite of drafting.

That’s traditional media. What do you call what we do in SketchUp? That’s hard to say. When you use the mouse, and eyeball everything, it’s more like sketching, while typing specific dimensions into the VCB to carefully make something is more like drafting. Just call it modeling, and you can avoid it all together.

I have always wondered what the German word for drafting is, as opposed to drawing in general.


Thanks for your input Robert.
Yes I agree, the stuff we do in SketchUp is 3d-Modeling. But we also have Layout.

So when you work in PowerCADD (or Layout), you can call the output a Drafting? And if I have a 2d-Drawing, which is deduced from a 3d model, I also can say “this is a Drafting”?
If yes, does that mean, Drafting is usual in the U.S.? And not in England (like simoncbevans wrote earlier)?

As far as I know, in German there is no superset like Drawing. But there are these categories:
Skizze (noun) / skizzieren (verb): like you wrote fast and freehand = Sketch / Sketching,
Malerei (noun) / malen (verb): Painting with Brushes on a canvas or paper.
Zeichnung (noun) / zeichnen (verb): Drawing things with Lines and Dashes. The guy who is doing this is called: Zeichner.
My profession is called “Bauzeichner”. “Bau” means Construction/Building. But the guys who works in the automotive and metalworking-Section are called “Technischer Zeichner” = technical Draftsman. Which I think is curios, because I´m also drafting technical things.

But there are also the Designers and Illustrators. What do they do? designing and illustrating things :sweat_smile:. But they also do Drawings & Draftings i guess. :joy:

To me it seems that here you need to skip the word a, the result is still a drawing, although a technical drawing.

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If I do it by hand I call it a Drawing.

If I create it on the computer I tend to call it a CAD Drawing… embracing the CAD [Computer Aided Design] term.

The CAD revolution hasn’t been around long enough to redefine the full definition of what Drawing historically is… And I think the term Drawing also implies that a person knows how to draw by hand using whatever drawing (or drafting) tools they may like… Pencil, Charcoal, Ink Pen, or even a stick to put a mark in the sand—which is sometimes (but not always) quite a bit different from knowing how to use a CAD program to produce your work.

CAD Design, and Drawing, are pretty much two different skill sets… but certainly closely related… and knowing how to do one always seems help and enhance using the other.

adding in ‘Architectural’, ‘Technical’, ‘Engineering’, or whatever other prefix you’d like, in order to create a “__________ Drawing” just saves a lot of time, and focuses the topic into a specific area of interest. If nothing else, it helps tremendously in keeping those interested only in the Art of making 'Nude Life Model Drawings’ (e.g. the Artsy crowd)… from accidentally attending conferences on Architectural or Engineering Drawing standards.

Drafting, and/or, Drafters… create Drawings… But I don’t tend to see it the other way around.

I might say… I Drafted a set of plans,… or that,… I stayed up all night drafting these documents. But I don’t think I’ve ever said… I like to Draw a drafting project.

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It’s funny, but the actor (noun) is a draftsman, the act (verb) is drafting, but the product created is always referred to as a drawing … unless it’s a pretty picture done with water colors, markers, colored pencils and the like, in which case it’s a rendering.

Is entwerfen used for architectural design?

Interesting difference in British English spelling vs. American common spelling. Not that Americans haven’t seen “draught”, but they’re more likely to associate it with beer.

I still have a few of these Berol 314 “draughting” pencils from the '80’s~'90’s.

Ironically, they are a favorite for sketching freehand on trace, not technical drafting. You can still buy them, but they don’t say “draughting” on them anymore.

BTW, in other usage, drafting is also what Mark Cavendish relied on lead out men like Mark Renshaw for. I suppose on the Isle of Man, that too is spelled draughting?




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The past tense of the verb “spell” can be spelled in two ways.

Always nice to know.


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Seriously, this turned into an English lesson for a German that comes on here speaking better English than many Americans?

Where are you in Germany? I love Germany and apprecuated the “Draught” replacement. One thing Germans surely would appreciate! I have family in Fula and I am trying to get there every 2 years!

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Sorry Fulda!

I thought the english lessons were aimed at the merykins…


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To further muddle the waters, a draftsman produces mechanical drawings. So called, I guess, because in the old days one used a T-square, triangles, French curves, and other templates to put the right shapes in the right places. This as opposed to freehand drawing. Or sketching, to some of us.

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Robert, Thanks! I think now I gott it!

Yes, “entwerfen” means designing Architecture. “Entwurf” is called the finished design. This is usually a Drawing by hand.

Nick, thanks a lot, but in writing english I´m much better than speaking it. This is because when I don´t know a word, I can stop my texting and quickly can take a look at dict.cc :grin:
But my goal is, to be able to speak english fluently. And of course I appreciate this little english lesson a lot. Thanks to all!
Funny thing is, that I learn a lot from watching SketchUp-videos on youtube.

Fulda? 4 hours away from the place where I´m located at. I live and work in a town called Albstadt. 800 m above sea-level, which means chances are that we have building freezes during winter. But we use that period to design next projects.

Little Story: Before I started with SketchUp two years ago, I thought, SketchUp can only be used for very simple things. But after I saw a video on Yt, showing your awesome work and workflow with the program, I was very surprised and thrilled!


Not a native English speaker but I’ve interpreted drafting as referring to making an actual (technical) drawing, while drawing could refer to sketching and other things too. Typically, at least in the old days, an older architect would make decisions and communicate them as quick sketches, while an intern would typically then draft the actual drawings to scale and with straight lines.

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was it in the beginning of the 70’s?


Architecture school never prepared me for this!

Well I used to learn English from Python😃

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Note that it is “Queen’s English”. If you speak about “flats” in the US they will send you to a tyre repair shop.
When I was at school in the third quarter of the 20th century our English teachers scolded us severely for using Americanisms acquired mostly from TV. Now Google or someone puts wavy lines under English spellings.