Tracing Ideas Through Digital Sketching

Date and time: 
Thu, Nov 2 2006 - 3:30pm
220 Deschutes
Nancy Yen-wen Cheng
Department of Architecture, University of Oregon

How do design ideas come together? Sketching provides a way to quickly examine a variety of design solutions. See how a digital pen-and-paper system reveals graphic processes through interactive animations. High-tech meets high-touch with Anoto technology, allowing traditional designers to easily generate vector animations. By recording stroke by stroke how designers develop their ideas, Architecture Professor Nancy Cheng is building a new way to teach drawing and research design thinking. She has been collecting and analyzing animated sketches in order to understand expert processes that are invisible in static drawings. The sketches allow her to track the progression from novice to expert skills.

In Winter 2006, Prof. Cheng and the Wired Humanities Project put the animations online as SVG files for immediate upload and sharing in the classroom. She is currently developing different ways to present the animations and testing their teaching effectiveness in live presentations and remote collaborations.

Digital pen-and-paper makes it efficient to collect a large amount of graphic information for later review, analysis and demonstration. The technology can be applied to any type of graphic problem solving. The session will maximize the opportunity for interaction, interspersing demo/lecture, hands-on exercises and discussion.


Prof. Cheng received her B.A. from Yale University and her M. Architecture from Harvard University. Her research is in the area of digital media and design communication. See for more information on Prof. Cheng's research.