Become a Master at SketchUp With Matt Donley from MasterSketchUp.com

I use SketchUp extensively at my drafting and design firm. The simple, user-friendly nature of SketchUp makes it easy to communicate design ideas with my clients. Knowing the basics of SketchUp is definitely enough to convey certain ideas but mastering it can really get you to the next level as a designer. That’s where MasterSketchup.com comes in!

There are many great tutorials and blogs on SketchUp out there (click HERE to check out an extensive list of SketchUp resources), but one that stands out the most to me is MasterSketchUp.com. Matt Donley, who runs this site, provides amazing tutorials, articles and resources for SketchUp users. No matter what is your level of SketchUp proficiency, Matt’s site can definitely help you become a master at SketchUp.

Below, is a short interview with Matt. He shares some great insights about SketchUp as well as his website. Enjoy!01-Headshot

DraftingHub: Give us a little background on who you are and what you do.

Matt Donley: I’m a SketchUp guru from Rhode Island, USA, who has a background in various construction industries. I run Mastersketchup.com, and am the author of SketchUp to LayOut (DraftingHub: Grab a copy HERE). I help people learn how to use SketchUp.

DraftingHub: When did you start www.mastersketchup.com and how did it all come to existence?

Matt Donley: I started Mastersketchup.com in 2012 after struggling to find a good source for consistent quality tutorials on how to learn SketchUp. I had dabbled online with various websites and had always wanted to build a large site. I decided to combine my love of SketchUp with my desire to build an online presence, and so Mastersketchup was created.

DraftingHub: What are some challenges and rewards of running a successful blog like MasterSketchUp?

Matt Donley: The biggest challenge of running Mastersketchup.com is creating the content, and keeping up with social media and emails. It’s different from other types of blogs because not only am I writing an article, but I’m building a 3D model, taking screenshots, and annotating them. It’s much more involved. Videos are extremely time consuming as well. As my traffic grows, I find it harder to keep up with all the emails I get from my readers. Right now I’m a few weeks behind, but I respond to every one of them. :)

The most rewarding part of what I do is knowing that I’m able to help people from all over the world. It still amazes me to get emails from people on the opposite side of the globe.

03-Website ScreenshotDraftingHub: You have a big community around your site, if you could ask your followers/readers one thing and get an answer from all of them, what would that question be?

Matt Donley: I would ask them “What is one thing you recently learned about SketchUp that you wish you knew when you first started?” I would then create a video of the top answers. You know what? I should probably send out an email to my readers and ask them that very question, lol.

DraftingHub: What are you working on right now, or in the recent past, that you are excited about and want to share?

Matt Donley: Right now I am in the middle of writing my second book, SketchUp & LayOut for Architecture, only this time, I’ve teamed up with Nick Sonder to co-author the book together. His experience using SketchUp and LayOut exclusively in his architectural firm combined with my experience teaching SketchUp has me really excited about what we are working on. You can find more information about our book at www.sketchupbook.com

02-Book 1DraftingHub: What would you recommend to someone who is new to Sketchup? Where is a good place to start? Any resources from your site?

Matt Donley: The best advice I can give new SketchUp users is to use a three button mouse for navigation (DraftingHub: Here is the mouse we recommend), and learn about groups and components as soon as possible. Here is one of my most popular articles http://mastersketchup.com/10-sketchup-tips/

DraftingHub: What other resources, blogs, podcasts, books would you recommend to our readers?

Matt Donley: My favorite resource for beginners is the SketchUp for Dummies book by Aidan Chopra (DraftingHub: Grab a copy HERE). Sketchucation.com, SketchUpartists.org, and the official SketchUp forum forums.sketchup.com are great places to find help and learn more about SketchUp.

DraftingHub: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Matt Donley: Someone once told me “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” It was spoken in the context of time management. It applies to 3D modeling too! Keep your level of detail in check, just because you are capable of modeling at extreme detail, doesn’t mean you should waste your time to do it. And remember, don’t reinvent the wheel, use the 3D Warehouse.

DraftingHub: How do you measure success?

Matt Donley: My success is measured by the number of people I can help.

DraftingHub: How can our readers stay connected with you?

Matt Donley: My email is Matt@Mastersketchup.com. I’m also on social media Follow me on: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google + | LinkedIn


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The War of Art Book Review | Practical Lessons for Designers & Drafters

I love books and I love reading them! I read as many books as I can every year. Besides books, I read and follow blogs, articles, news on a daily basis. Reading is a big part of my life. In fact below is a picture of my home office… (Click here to see my home office drafting workstation set up)

01-Office That’s right! Physical books that you can actually touch, feel, smell… Old fashioned? Maybe. But that’s how I consume information best. Yes, I read books in digital format as well, but there is something special about reading a physical book.

Anyways, that’s not what this post is about though. Once in a while I will be writing a short to the point reviews of books related, and not directly related but still applicable, to drafting, design, architecture and creative work.

Today I would like to review a book that I recently read, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. You can grab a copy HERE. This book is for anyone who ever struggled with “creative blocks” and other barriers that stopped you from achieving your goals. Whether you are a writer, artist, freelance designer, entrepreneur or just consider yourself to be a creative person, this book is for you.

Steven Pressfield divides the book into three parts:

Book One | Resistance: Defining the Enemy

Book Two | Combating Resistance: Turning Pro

Book Three | Beyond Resistance: Higher Realm

Book One | Resistance: Defining the Enemy

Right from the start, Pressfield puts into words something that many creative people struggled to identify. Resistance! Throughout the first part of the book author identifies different barriers in our lives that can stand in the way of our success.

This quote stood out to me the most from book one, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” Later he continues, “Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t pain, an entrepreneur who never starts a new venture? Then you know what Resistance is.”

Book Two | Combating Resistance: Turning Pro

This middle section of the book is the most practical. Pressfield shares tips motivating the reader to battle the resistance. Author introduces the concept of combating resistance by turning pro. Here is what he means, “The professional loves it (the calling) so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time. That’s what I mean when I say turning pro. Resistance hates it when we turn pro.”

Book Three | Beyond Resistance: Higher Realm

In the final section of the book reader will be challenged to look beyond the resistance. Author talks about connecting to things more greater than ourselves to accomplishing our calling. Pressfield also talks about the concept of separating our ego from the self.


What can designers and drafters learn from The War of Art?

In my opinion this is a must read for any creative person. If you are freelancing, this book will help you battle fear. If you are a designer, this book will help you deal with negative criticism. If you are an entrepreneur, this book will encourage you to keep going and see challenges not as your enemy but rather a confirmation that you are on the right path.

You can grab a copy of The War of Art HERE.

P.S. If you read The War of Art before, I would love to read your thoughts and opinion? Please feel free to share in the comments below.


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Top Qualities Architects Look For In a Drafter

What makes a great drafter? What qualities should a drafter possess that would land him/her that dream job? What skills are important to develop for a drafter? What role does formal education play in a drafting career? If you are a drafter or CAD technician most likely at some point you asked some if not all of these questions.

Few weeks ago, I had a chance to ask some of the most prominent architects with significant online influence the following question on Twitter, “What do you look for in a drafter when hiring or outsourcing? (Qualities, characteristics, skills)“.01-QuestionI was very curious to read their answers and insights. What qualities and skills will matter most to them? Will education play a big role? Will they care about experience? What about proficiency in drafting software? Below you can read their direct responses to my question and draw your own conclusions.

By the way, if you have not already, make sure to follow these architects on Twitter and bookmark their websites. They all provide exceptional content and value!

Bob Borson

Website: www.lifeofanarchitect.com | Twitter: @bobborson

Knowledgeable, happy with their role, team player, free thinker, considerate, and more skilled than me

02-Bob Borson

Mark R. LePage

Website: www.entrearchitect.com | Twitter: @EntreArchitect

Outsourcing these days, so looking for confident skilled friendly listener.

03-Mark R. LePage

Jes Stafford

Website: www.modarchitect.net | Twitter: @modarchitect

“Experience. Detail oriented portfolio. Standards. Licensure is a plus.”

04-Jes Stafford

Doug Patt

Website: www.youtube.com/howtoarchitect | Twitter: @howtoarchitect

“A draftsperson should be conscientious, accurate, and reliable. But most importantly, a self motivated problem solver.”

12-Doug Patt

Lora Teagarden

Website: www.L-2-Design.com | Twitter: L2DesignLLC

“Skill, timeliness, ability to problem-solve, general construction knowledge.”

05-Lora Teagarden

Lee Calisti

Website: www.thinkarchitect.wordpress.com | Twitter: @LeeCalisti

“Work in native program (@Vectorworks), independence, follow my rules, add something new, knows construction, think 3d”

06-Lee Calisti

Meghana Joshi

Website: www.aremeghana.wordpress.com | Twitter: @MeghanaIRA

“Reliability is the first and foremost. You can work out everything else if qualifications are good :)”

07-Meghana Joshi

Michele Grace Hottel

Website: www.inmawomanarchitect.blogspot.com | Twitter: @mghottel

“I do most of my own drafting but when I do have someone cad draft for me, I think good communication is key!”

08-Michele Grace Hottel

Sean Jefferson Tobin

Website: www.seanjtobinarchitect.com | Twitter: @SeanJTobin

“Great question I look for experience, program compatibility, ability to differentiate important vs urgent information, plus good communication.”

09-Sean Jefferson Tobin

Jeff Echols

Website: www.architectoftheinternet.com | Twitter: @Jeff_Echols

“If I were… I’d look for proficiency in the software I use and experience in project types and locations.”

10-Jeff Echols

Marily Moedinger

Website: www.mwmoedinger.com | Twitter: @mwmoedinger

“Construction knowledge, attention to detail, ability to think in 3d while looking at 2d drawings, knowledge of drawing conventions”

11-Marilyn Moedinger


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Why Every Drafter Should Know How to Use Photoshop

In today’s highly competitive market, drafters are under a lot of pressure to perform, innovate and stand out from the crowd. Whether we like it or not, drafters are often expected to wear multiple hats in the office. Being a great drafter is important, but sometimes that is not enough. Constantly expanding your skill set is an important aspect to a successful drafting career. Learning new software like Photoshop, can be just the thing that will give a boost to your profession and help you to “stand out”.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “Haven’t you heard of saying, jack of all trades and master of none?”. I’m not trying to say that drafters should become experts at Photoshop, but I do know from personal experience that having even basic knowledge of Photoshop can help advance your career.

Below are six simple reasons why I believe every drafter should consider learning Photoshop.

1. Creating Presentations

Yes, printing your detail or elevation and presenting it to a client or your boss is simple and nice, but sometimes that’s not enough. Spending extra few minutes in Photoshop, applying colors and depth to your detail, elevation or floor layout can help make your presentation so much more impressive. Here is a post on how to create simple colored elevation in Photoshop.

03-Elevation2. Editing Field Verification Documents and Photos

Every time I go out to the job site I take a lot of photos, write a lot of notes and sketch existing conditions. You can read more about field verification here. When I come back to the office, I organize all gathered data in specific folders. Often times I need to send some photos to consultants and/or clients. Photoshop is a perfect software to edit your photos and make them more presentable to the client.

05-Floor3. Conveying Ideas to a Client or Boss

Sometimes we forget that most clients don’t spend every day of their lives looking at drawings. It’s not always easy to communicate certain ideas and concepts to the client, Photoshop can be a great tool to help with that. Simply adding color to delineate certain parts of you drawing can eliminate a lot of unnecessary questions and confusion.

4. Save Time and Money

Whether you are a freelance drafter or working in an office, having even the basic knowledge of Photoshop can save you time and money. Hiring a graphic designer to tweak and modify your logo and other various designs can be costly. Doing these simple tasks “in house” can greatly benefit your company.

5. Learning Photoshop is Not Hard

It has never been easier to learn Photoshop, or any other software actually, than today. There are a lot of great free or paid resources and tutorials out there. In just few hours you can learn the basics of Photoshop and use it to your advantage. Below are just few online resources that can help you with Photoshop, whether you are a beginner or an advanced user:

04-Elevation6. Staying Competitive in Your Field

This basically sums up all of the previous points. Knowing AutoCAD (or other drafting platform) from A to Z is a great thing, but in today’s competitive and demanding market it’s important to constantly expand your knowledge. Again, I’m not promoting being “jack of all trades and master of none”, but having even the basic knowledge of software like Photoshop, can be just the right boost to your career.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject? Do you use Photoshop? Why or why not?


Make sure to check out my FREE eBook “Designer’s Toolbox” for more Photoshop resources that every drafter must use.

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Tiny House, Huge Purpose | Helping Homeless Find Purpose Again

Sometimes we get so busy and consumed with our lives, work, career, hobbies, that we forget that there are people around us in need. When we do become aware of the needs and problems, we tend to think, “I’m just one person, what can I do?” Today’s post is a great example and a reminder of how one person can make a big difference. It’s a reminder that even if you don’t have a lot of time, money or resources, you can still make a difference in this world.

Few moths ago I stumbled upon a video on YouTube that intrigued me. It was a time-laps video of a man building a small house for a homeless person living on the street in his neighborhood. The man’s name is Elvis Summers, a simple guy from Los Angeles who is making this world a little better place by constructing tiny homes for homeless people. Here is a news story featuring Elvis and his project.

Since that first video, Elvis started a non-profit organization and raised more than $80,000 to help build even more of these tiny homes. His goal in his own words  is to “building as many tiny houses as I can and help as many people as I can.”

Few weeks ago I had a chance to interview Elvis. I wanted to find out more about his cause and help as much as I could. Also, being a drafter and a designer, I wanted to learn more about the design and construction process behind these tiny homes.

Hope you enjoy the interview!

DraftingHub: Give us a little background on who you are and what you do. Are you a millionaire and have too much money to give away?

Elvis Summers: Well, my name is Elvis Summers, I am from Seattle, but now live in Los Angeles, CA. I ran an online retail store for work before all this happened, but now it seems I am helping people full time now. I am flooded with emails from people all over the world asking me for help. I am NOT a millionaire or anywhere even close, in fact it’s more the opposite, I’m pretty poor myself, barely paying my bills, and sometimes not.

DraftingHub: How did “Tiny House, Huge Purpose” come to existence and what inspired you to start this project?

Elvis Summers: This elderly woman would come by my apartment every few days asking for recyclables, and as she was polite and kind I told her I’d save them for her. After a few months, I started asking her questions (where are you from, how long have you been homeless, what’s your favorite color, what did you want to be when you grew up…etc). To get to know her better. I knew she was homeless and slept down the street, but once I asked her exactly where she slept, I found out that she didn’t even have a make-shift shelter, tarp or even a card board box. Well that was enough for me. She’s a human being, and regardless of the who, what, and how’s…she needs help and I refuse to ignore it and move on with a “who cares’ or it’s not my problem” judging selfish attitude like the rest of the planet seems to be doing. So I decided to skip a couple bills that were due and went to Home Depot and started buying supplies.

Image Credit: www.facebook.com/mythpla

DraftingHub: What materials did you use for “Smokie’s” house and how much did you spend?

Elvis Summers: I used 2 x 3’s, OSB, screws (so I could easily undo mistakes), some trim boards, a door, hinges, paint, casters and some brackets I’m pretty sure are used for ceiling beams. It all cost me about $500, and since that was all the money I had, I sweet talked a roofing company and a carpet store into donating the rest… (cedar shingles, underlayment or whatever it’s called, roof shingles, carpet and pad.)

DraftingHub: Did you know much about building, design and construction before you started?

Elvis Summers: No, not really. I always been pretty creative and handy, and I love building things and tinkering with stuff. Although I have done some construction before in the past, I really had no idea what I was doing. Still don’t. lol. I’m just really good at figuring things out. I looked at the houses on my block, and just thought smaller.

Image Credit: www.facebook.com/mythpla
Image Credit: www.facebook.com/mythpla

DraftingHub: Why did you build “Smokie’s” house the way you did? Any specific design ideas behind it?

Elvis Summers: Well really I just made do with what I could get. I could have just built a plain square box and called it a day, but I thought about the psychological side to it, and realized that in order to help her out, it needed to be more than just a plain box shelter. Think about it, she’s been homeless for 10 years, treated like a crack head bum and or an annoying piece of trash. Nobody cares about her, judges her by the cover, she has nothing, nobody, both kids and adults say mean hurtful things daily, etc. Now I’m pretty sure that no matter how tough you are, or where you come from and what your beliefs are… having this be your life every day, especially year after year… Eventually it’s going to break you down, seriously mess with your head, and ultimately if you never get any chances to get out of it… will wipe clean any and all hope you once had. And without hope, for anything…. well really what do you have to live for?

So, I decided it needed to look like a house (or as close to one as I could make it). It needed to at least cosmetically have the look and feel of a house; it needed to bring a feeling of possibilities and hope. Something I could give her that would be a shelter for the physical help and protection, but so much more mentally that would bring a glimmer of light to someone who was lost in the dark. By taking a little extra time to do this, you can bring back a person’s hope, self worth, Dignity. It may sound a little “hippie”, but to a person who has no love from anyone, the extra love you put into the house… Really shows. And believe me, it’s needed. And all it takes is a little extra effort.

DraftingHub: Have you heard from city officials? Are there any restrictions implemented by the local building code for structures like these?

Elvis Summers: I haven’t heard s        from the city. They know who I am, they know what I want to do and am trying to do, and they know I am trying to talk with them…. Not even a generic email. They don’t care. But via the LA Times, the spokesperson for building and safety stated that due to the size and that it is on wheels, the city does not consider it to be a dwelling or a building as it does not meet the definition of either, therefore it does not require permits or code.

08DraftingHub: After building few of these “tiny homes” already, are there any design changes you want to implement to improve future structures?

Elvis Summers: I have tons of ideas! Lots I want to do, but even though I have raised a bunch of money, and things are slowly moving forward and getting better each time… I am still very limited because I lack the resources I need to fully open things up and/or to bring on people who have the skills I don’t to make them better designed and more cost effective. Hopefully I will figure out a way, sooner than later. But eventually I will. Trial and error. Each house I build, I will improve on. If I knew what I was doing, I would just sit down with a pen, pad and calculator and nerd out all night designing a masterpiece! lol

DraftingHub: What advice would you give someone who is considering starting similar project in their neighborhood/city?

Elvis Summers: If you want to help people, then DO IT! Don’t over think what about this and what about that. If you’re helping someone who needs help, then do it from the heart and do it because it’s the right thing to do. Period. The way the world is right now…. it doesn’t matter who, what, where or how… Your going to get flack or opposition from someone, it’s just the sad fact. Ignore it. Do it anyway. But the more and more people stand up and be the change the world needs and show others how we should be, the more people will follow.

Image Credit: www.facebook.com/mythpla

DraftingHub: What is in store for you and “Tiny House, Huge Purpose” project in the near future?

Elvis Summers: I plan on building as many tiny houses as I can and helping as many people as I can. I am also doing a public build here in Los Angeles at the end of the month. I welcome any and ALL help I can get. Anyone who wants to come join me and build tiny houses to help the people in our city, these human beings who have fallen down is welcome to come help me lift them back up. I have a lot more things planned as well, but one step at a time. 😉

DraftingHub: How do you measure success?

Elvis Summers: Good Question!… I don’t know…. By the things I do, the feeling it gives me and the effect it has on others. If that is positive and good, and benefits the future… Then I say that’s success.

DraftingHub: How can our readers stay connected with you and help your project?

Elvis Summers: I have 2 websites up (both are still under construction), but they are up.

First, is the main nonprofit, Starting Human (www.startinghuman.org)

Second, is for the tiny house projects, Mythpla (which stands for “my tiny house project LA”) (www.mythpla.org) There are contact forms on the websites which people can use to reach me.

I also have social media accounts as well:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MythPla

Twitter: @TinyHouseLA

Youtube: @Startinghuman

And I have a Crowd Funding Page as well on GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/mythpla


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Taking the Architecture Registration Exam | An Interview with Tony Gushanas from DesignerHacks.com

Taking the Architecture Registration Exam | An Interview with Tony Gushanas from DesignerHacks.com

Today’s post is a very insightful interview with Tony Gushanas. Tony runs Designer Hacks (www.designerhacks.com), a popular blog focusing on helping designers “protect their lives and create better content“. One of the main reasons why I really enjoy Tony’s website is because he’s not just writing about the theory of design, but sharing his experience as someone who is “working in the trenches” of architectural design. Tony also is in the process of taking the Architecture Registration Examination and shares the details of that journey with us. Enjoy the interview! 

01DraftingHub: Give us a little background on who you are and what you do.

Tony Gushanas: In short, my name is Tony Gushanas and I run a website at www.designerhacks.com.  I’m formally trained in architecture, but have always considered myself broadly as a designer and maker.  I’m passionate about everything that I choose to involve myself in. I love learning, growing as a person, sharing my failures and success stories to help others.

DraftingHub: When did you start www.designerhacks.com and how did it all come to existence?

Tony Gushanas: I started designerhacks.com at the tail end of 2013. At the time I was working long hours and weekends at a job I hated… Designing parking garages (albeit some interesting ones). I wanted desperately to get out of that job.  At that time the site served as a distraction and way for me to help other designers with what I was learning.

Then in the middle of January 2014, I was hit with some news that changed my life.  While sitting at my desk doing some routine drafting, an email came in that mentioned the death of one of my architecture classmates Amber Long.  She had been shot and killed in a mugging the night before.  That was really hard for me.  She was so passionate and caring.  It was really hard to think something like that could happen to her.  In a lot of ways Amber’s death was a wake-up call for me to stop coasting and take advantage of every second I have to live.

I started to take designerhacks.com seriously after that and ended up landing my dream job a few months later.  I can’t help but think Amber has had a hand in all of that.

Image Credit: Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc and Leong Leong LLC

DraftingHub: What are some challenges and rewards of running a successful design blog? ​

Tony Gushanas: Working 10 hour days, commuting an hour to and from work, and then coming home and writing or making videos can be a bit draining.  There have been plenty of times I’ve spent hours researching and writing articles that deliver tons of value but they just don’t get the kind of traction I think they deserve.  That’s always tough, but I guess it’s kind of cool that only the most dedicated of the Design Nation find that stuff.

The best part is getting emails and comments from people that I’ve been able to help.  It’s neat to see how people are using what I teach and how it’s changing their lives.

DraftingHub: What are you working on right now, in your profession and/or on Designer Hacks, that you are excited about and want to share?

Tony Gushanas: I’m currently working on moving through the Architecture Registration Exams and sharing what I learn on that journey. I’m currently studying for the Construction Documents & Services (CDS) exam so I put together a really neat list of resources and a quiz for that exam.  That’s really exciting because I think it’s insanely valuable.  I don’t think there’s anything like it on the web.

04During the day, I’m working on a handful of high-end residential and commercial projects mostly out of California.

DraftingHub: You are in the process of becoming a licensed architect right now. Can you share with our readers what that process is like and what challenges have you encountered so far?

Tony Gushanas: As a bit of a caveat,  the things I’m about to say only apply to the architecture licensure process in the United States and there are slight variations by state.  By and large, the process of becoming a licensed architect is pretty daunting.  You need a Bachelor of Architecture degree from a NAAB accredited school (typically 5 years of schooling).  Then 5,600 hours (min.) of work under a licensed architect. Then to pass 7 separate exams.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at any point in the process because it always feels like there’s so much more to go.  It’s just one of those things you need take one step at a time.

Image Credit: Nest Architecture, Inc.

DraftingHub: For someone thinking about starting the journey of becoming an architect, what advice, resources and suggestions would you give them?

Tony Gushanas: Make sure you checkout NAAB’s list of accredited schools.  There are a few people I know who went to school and got a 4 year bachelor of science degree in architecture.  With that degree you can’t get your license.  Those people had to go back to school and get their masters of architecture.  That’s kind of a crappy thing to find out after 4 years of school.

There’s also this weird culture that surrounds architecture.  It’s like… lets see who can get the least amount of sleep.  I wrote an article about the lies of pulling an all-nighter.  I fell into that trap my first few years, but really put limits on what I was willing to do towards the end.  Don’t sacrifice your health for a project, in school or professionally.  One of the major reasons I started designerhacks.com was because I think that if designers become more efficient at using their tools they don’t have to pull all nighters.  Work smarter not harder.  I’d also recommend checking out these 10 myths of architecture schools.

In terms of resources, I highly recommend Ching’s Building Construction Illustrated.  It shows basic details of pretty much everything that goes into a building.  Ching’s hand drawings a beautiful and informative.  It was helpful for me in school and is still helpful in practice.

Image Credit: Nest Architecture, Inc.

DraftingHub: What would you suggest to someone wanting to become a drafter? What are the essential skills to focus on when one is starting?

Tony Gushanas: If you’re drafting buildings it’s really important to understand what you’re drawing.  Walk around construction sites and watch youtube videos showing how buildings go together.  Volunteering at your local habitat for humanity can be a great way to get experience around and with buildings.

Aside from that, the most important things about drawings themselves are that they communicate the desired intent.  Practice line weight and understand drafting standards.  Study clear and informative drawings and ask what makes them successful.  Adopt new strategies for things that aren’t working, and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Understand that you’re going to make mistakes along the way and that it’s just a part of the process.  Try not to take it personal.

DraftingHub: What resources, blogs, podcasts, books would you recommend to our readers?

Tony Gushanas: I listen to Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible podcast religiously.  He’s a great story-teller about all things design.

For stunning architectural visualizations, Alex Hogrefe and Ronen Bekerman are must-sees.

For large files that you can’t send through email, WeTransfer is a free service that lets you upload up to 2GB (with each transfer) and send a share link.

If you don’t already have a portfolio website you’re seriously missing out on tons of opportunities.  I put together a tutorial that shows, step by step, how to create a portfolio website in 5 minutes or less.

To keep everything in my life organized I use Evernote & Skitch.  It literally lets me markup and send drawings in seconds.  It’s also a great way to quickly and mindlessly save all of my work so that I can easily add it to my portfolio.  I’ve heard stories of people being “let go” and finding out by not being able to login to their computer in the morning.

I hate having papers around so all of my paper documents go through a tiny portable ScanSnap scanner, get synced with my Evernote, and then get shredded and recycled.

I find myself using similar symbols and labels all the time so I downloaded TextExpander for the mac and Texter on my PC.  Basically it just helps me save a little time but not having to search for things like this ± symbol.  I simply type ”.p” and it creates that symbol.  There are more advanced ways to use it, but that’s all I use them for right now.

For any billable time you obviously have to keep track of time worked.  I tried using RescueTime but it doesn’t keep track of different jobs.  Instead, I use InstantShot on mac to take screen caps every 15 minutes.  Then at the end of the week I log hours per day based on the screen caps.

Image Credit: Nest Architecture, Inc.

DraftingHub: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Tony Gushanas: Life is about the journey.  Don’t always look for the next thing, live in the moment.

DraftingHub: How do you measure success?

Tony Gushanas: I measure success through persistence.  Anything worth having is going to take time and sacrifice to get.  Being persistent through good times and bad is what makes success.  With that being said, it’s also important to recognize when something’s not working and try something new.

DraftingHub: How can our readers stay connected with you?

Tony Gushanas: If you head over to designerhacks.com and leave a comment I’ll be sure to respond.  I also am a frequent flyer on twitter @designerhacks

If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to sign up for my blog updates below and never miss a post. I will send you a FREE eBook “Designer’s Toolbox” as a thank-you gift!

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NOTE: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Tony Gushanas will receive an affiliate commission. But don’t worry he only recommends products that he knows will provide value. 

Guest Post on CADSetterOut.com | 4 Proven Strategies to Become a better drafter

Guest Post on CADSetterOut.com | 4 Proven Strategies To Become a Better Drafter

I would like to say big thank you to Paul Munford for giving me an opportunity to write a guest post on his awesome blog CADSetterOut.com. I highly recommend bookmarking his blog and make sure to follow him on twitter (@CadSetterOut) as well. I had a chance to interview Paul few weeks ago, you can read the full interview here, where he tells more about himself and his site.

In this guest post I share four proven strategies that I use personally to grow in my profession as a drafter. You can read my guest post by clicking HERE or on the picture below. Enjoy!




If you would like more tips and resources to improve your skills as a designer and a drafter make sure to get my free eBook “Designer’s Toolbox”. Just enter your email below and I will send it your way!

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Top Sketchup resources every designer must use

Top SketchUp Resources Every Designer Must Use

I though it would be helpful to put together a list of top SketchUp resources I find myself coming back to frequently. Below is the list of 11 helpful websites related to SketchUp. You can find a wide range of useful tools and information on these websites, starting from amazing plugins and ending with informational tutorials that will turn you into a SketchUp expert!

QUESTION: What other SketchUp resources do you use? Feel free to leave a comment with websites that you find useful.


01-SketchUp LOGOObviously we have to start with the official SketchUp website. People tend to overlook official software websites, but often they are filled with tons of useful resources. You don’t want to pass by SketchUp’s official page.

2. V-RAY

02-Vray LOGOV-Ray is a rendering plugin for SketchUp. It’s a quick, easy and cost-efficient way to render final model. Their website contains helpful tutorials on how to effectively use this plugin.


03-Smustard LOGOWebsite that provides free and paid plugins, scripts, content and extensions for SketchUp. They also have a forum where you can get your questions answered.


04-Extension Warehouse LOGOSketchUp’s “search engine” for extensions and add-ons. You can type in your search or scroll through categories.


05-3D Warehouse LOGOOfficial SketchUp 3D model warehouse. You can find free 3D models to use in your project as well as upload your own.


06-Sketchup Texture LOGOFree collection of 3D models, textures and tutorials for SketchUp.


07-Master Sketchup LOGOSite authored by Matt Donley where he provides amazing tutorials, reviews, resources, tips and tricks on SketchUp. One of my favorite blogs!


08-Sketchucation LOGO3D SketchUp community for design and engineering professionals. Their forum is a helpful place to get your questions answered.


09-Designer Hacks LOGOLibrary of tips, tricks and tutorials on SketchUp. Tutorials are conveniently organized in three categories, beginners, intermediate and advanced.


10-Sketch This LOGOSketchUp tutorials, articles, 3D printing, projects and tools for designers.


11-3Dvinci LOGOList of helpful books on SketchUp for design professionals.


If you enjoyed this list of resources make sure to check out my FREE eBook “Designer’s Toolbox”. It’s a collection of 101 resources for Drafters, Designes and Architecture Students. Get it for free below!

Designer's Toolbox