Architectural Record Selects Kevin Utsey’s Napkin Sketch as 2018 Registered Architect Winner

Kevin Utsey's napkin sketch was the registered architect winner in Architectural Record's 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest

Kevin Utsey's napkin sketch was selected as the 2018 Registered Architect Winner in the 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest. Kevin is a principal in Clark Nexsen's Charlotte office.

Architectural Record's Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest demonstrates there is still a passion for drawing within the architectural profession.

From Architectural Record

Each year more than 400 architects, designers, illustrators, and students submit sketches to the Architectural Record to enter the Annual Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest, which is now in its eighth year. Architectural Record editors sifted through upward of 2,000 individual napkins to select the two winners (one registered architect and one non-registered architect), six runners-up, and three individuals representing the best firm submission. See the 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Winners and Runners Up.

Kevin Utsey, FAIA on Sketching

How does sketching fit into your practice?  I have a drawing table in my space and use it as often as I can to sketch ideas and intended outcomes on the projects I touch. I travel with a sketchbook and always try to draw the places I visit (I have many city views outside hotel windows!). Over the years, I’ve collected the drawings and have made a few efforts to have them published (I’m still crafting the story to go with them. 

What approach do you take when it comes to sketching? I am usually very impressionistic in the way I draw. A critic one time wrote that my drawings reflect “the hand recording with energetic lines what the eye saw.”  In doing the napkin sketches, this approach would clearly not work on flimsy paper, so I had to be very intentional, with a .01 Micron pen. The sketch is still, in my biased view, the best way to explore and share ideas. And, in these days of digitized imagery, the ability to draw well and quickly by hand has become a rarer commodity. It’s one that I will continue to practice and promote.