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Drawing plans or diagrams

Viewpoints || Set up frame || Adding line drawing || Putting in colour || Adding your labels || Arrows or not? || Make a heading

1. Your first task is to decide what viewpoint to use.

Look at this diagram, to see what viewpoint you will be using. A bird's eye view is usually essential, so you can see where everything goes.

If you are doing one of a house, for example, you would draw it from the point of view of a bird flying over the top, and pretend the roof wasn't there.

Side views are often called elevations. They show what something will look like when you are standing in front of it, or beside it.


2. Now draw up a frame. If you are doing it by hand, make sure you use a ruler. If you are doing it on the computer, use a rectangle tool, rather than separate straight lines. Make sure the corners are right angles, and all the lines are straight. Don't forget to leave room for your title or heading!


3. Do your own line drawing to fit in the frame. Use thin, neat lines, and draw as carefully as you can.

On the left is an example of a side view, and the right hand diagram is a bird's eye view of a room.


4. Now you can decide whether or not to add colour. It may make your diagram look better, or it may completely spoil it, so make the decision carefully.

What do you think? The colour probably adds to the simple side view, but is a bit confusing on the bird's eye view.


5. Neither of these diagrams or plans are very clear yet - it is hard to see what they mean. We need to add labels to explain what each item is. You can see that the colour makes it a bit hard to read some of the labels on the right. Always remember to keep your colours light so that you can read the black writing. You can't read it if it is on top of a dark background.


6. Do you need to use arrows? Look at the examples above. Where the label is on the top of the item, an arrow pointing to it is silly. You only need to use arrows if the object is small, and the writing is beside it.


7. Now you should add your title or heading. The plan or diagram is not finished until that is there. On the left, there is room to put the heading in the big empty space at the top, but usually you would put it across above the plan or diagram, like the one on the right.

In the end, the best bird's eye plan is the black and white one - the colour is confusing, and doesn't help understand what things mean. But the coloured side view is good, so we will stick to colour in that example.  


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