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Drawing in Design: a lecture and workshop series

Drawing offers a practice for thinking and an important mode of communicating ideas in design. Since 2016 the Department of Landscape Architecture, in collaboration with our professional partners, has convened a quarterly series of public lectures and weekend workshops for students that focus on representation in design.

“Drawing is a language that expands and enhances our visions for the future of our landscapes and, as such, calls for a robust and rigorous investigation and exploration.” Thaïsa Way, Professor

The series enables opportunities for professionals to work closely with students to pose questions and facilitate dialogue on how we draw, what we draw, and how we read drawings. Each session informs design as a process and development, and shapes how our communities understand and respond to design ideas and visions.

Spring 2023 Lecture + Workshop

MAY 12– 13, 2023

Spring 2023 quarter’s workshop will be led by Stephanie Bower (Instagram: @stephanieabower)

Sketching Trees
Not only do trees shade and protect us, but they also add beauty, color, texture and so much more. They speak to us about a place and time. They are an essential design tool for every landscape architect, so knowing how to represent them in your projects is important. 

This one-day workshop will teach you how to sketch trees in pencil and watercolor—spreading or columnar, deciduous or evergreen, foreground or background

This 1- credit course will include an evening lecture on Friday, May 12 and an all-day workshop on Saturday, May 13Attendance for both the lecture and full workshop are required.

If interested, please submit an application. We have an application process as there is generally more interest than availability, however we strive to select a cohort from a range of academic levels (undergraduate, graduate and PhD), and all disciplines are encouraged. If you are not selected this round, your application will be prioritized in later terms. Applications are due by next Friday, March 10 with notifications the following week.

Past Lectures

NOVEMBER 4– 6, 2022
Autumn 2022 quarter’s workshop was led by Tori Shao (
ON THE WALL: Painting a Public Picture
Public art is public speech. Bring together ideas and images that engage communities, and create an installation that can define a place, create space, and inspire connection.

APRIL 22 – 24, 2022
The Spring 2022 workshop was led by Milenko Matanovic (


JANUARY 28 – 30, 2022

This past winter’s workshop was led by Ann Marie Schneider (

Capturing Energy and movement
Sofia Warren,


Earth, sky, present, past
Mia Rosenthal,, Philadelphia

The drawings of Philadelphia-based artist Mia Rosenthal invoke a long human history of rendering the world by hand. Focusing on cosmology, time, discovery, invention, and the intersection of the natural and man-made world, Rosenthal’s works are grounded in a fundamental human experience that dates back some 30,000 years: observing, processing information, and then picking up a tool to draw it in one’s own hand, with one’s own voice. Fascinated by and drawing from the real world, Rosenthal connects us to this flow of time and experience, going beyond mere duplication to explore, learn, select, organize, and build with mark making. Earth, sky, present, past features new and recent works.

See. Process. Make.
Janelle Johnson, Omni  Ecosystem, Chicago

Janelle Johnson hails from Champaign, IL and earned her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Purdue University with Distinction, before going on to the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Master of Landscape Architecture and Certificate in Historic Preservation. Janelle has 10 years of experience in site planning and design. She spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on April 5, 2019, presenting a talk titled “See. Process. Make.”

Design Thinking – Utilizing Hand Graphics to Explore Ideas
Kona Gray, EDSA

Kona Gray is a Principal at EDSA. Due to inclement weather, we were forced to cancel this lecture. However, Kona Gray did lead a student workshop and gave a presentation at the Seattle offices of GGN in March 2019. Watch the presentation here. You can read about Kona’s work in this piece from Medium: Design Manifestos: Kona Gray of EDSA.

Graphic Design and the Third Dimension
Michael Bierut, Pentagram

Michael Bierut is a partner in Pentagram (New York), teacher at Yale School of Art and Yale School of Management, and author of Now You See It and Other Essays on Design. He spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on October 5, 2018, presenting a talk titled “Graphic Design and the Third Dimension.”

Drawing is the Entrance of Thought
Ron Henderson, L+A Architecture

Ron Henderson is a landscape architect and the director of the Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program and professor at IIT in Chicago. He practices through his studio, L+A Architecture. He spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on April 6, 2018, presenting a talk titled “Drawing is the Entrance of Thought.”

Drawing Zoom
Alma Du Solier, Hood Design

Alma Du Solier is a landscape designer and architect with twenty years of experience in the practice of design. She is currently the Studio Director at Hood Design in Oakland, California. She spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on January 19, 2018, presenting a talk titled “Drawing Zoom.”

Drawing What You Can’t See
Shannon Nichol, Keith McPeters, David Malda, GGN

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) is a Seattle-based landscape architecture that received the Firm of the Year distinction from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2017. Three GGN designers spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on November 17, 2017. Shannon Nichol, Keith McPeters, and David Malda all presented a talk titled “Drawing What You Can’t See.”

Drawing as Speculation

Teresa Galí-Izard is a principal of the landscape architecture firm ARQUITECTURA AGRONOMIA. She is also an associate professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia. She spoke at the University of Washington campus in Seattle on April 28, 2017.

Drawing Pictures In Your Mind
Alan Maskin, Olson Kundig

In February 2017, the department hosted Alan Maskin ’88 and his associates from Olson Kundig. With Maskin, the students learned to draw what they imagine. Students from landscape architecture, architecture, real estate, urban planning, and construction management heard about Maskin’s approaches to drawing and design. Maskin emphasized the influence and legacy of Emeritus Professor Frank Ching on his work. Students spent time on specific drawing exercises and gradually shifted to the grand landscape of the imagination including reimagining downtown Seattle. In teams, the students created three vibrant murals of a possible future for green and blue Seattle.

Drawing What You See
Michael Vergason, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects

Michael Vergason’s workshop  focused on drawing what the artist sees. Vergason shared with students his drawing history and journey to find inspiration. Landscape students spent the weekend using Japanese format notebooks with accordion pages, to draw trees, bridges, and courtyards. They explored historic sites through drawing through plans, sections, and perspectives.