10 Popular Hand Rendering Techniques

By Tata Rossi 9 days ago, Inspiration

Hand rendering is a classic in the industry of design sketches and other visuals that artists create with their own hands using traditional artist tools from pencils and pens to various types of paints.

In today’s world, designers increasingly prefer rendering software to create their designs and 3D models, however, a physically hand-drawn design will always be more valuable, as it has the soul of the artist and a special vibe invested in it.

1. Hatching

hand rendering hatching

Hatching is a drawing technique that is actively used by artists when creating their hand-made renders. The bottom line is to draw parallel lines, which create shading and tone in the picture. Here the number, thickness, and distance between the lines play an important role, changing the overall tonal value of the artwork.

hand rendering hatching

The closer you draw the lines to each other, the darker the area will be, and vice versa, by drawing them further apart, you will end up with a lighter area.

2. Crosshatching

hand rendering crosshatching

Crosshatching is somewhat similar to the previous interior design hand rendering technique, but here shading and depth are achieved by overlapping or changing the direction of parallel lines. You can draw lines in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal direction.

hand rendering crosshatching

This method allows you to achieve a variety of effects in the picture, both light and airy shading, and dense and solid. Experiment with the density, direction, and thickness of the lines to finish in a wide variety of patterns and tones of your designs.

3. Stippling

hand rendering stippling

Stippling is a painting technique where shading and depth are achieved by drawing many dots. To get more or less dense and dark areas, you can experiment with the sizes and distances between points. To achieve a darker effect, place the dots as close to each other as possible and vice versa.

hand rendering stippling

This is one of the most spectacular-looking drawing methods, especially when viewed from afar. At the same time, it is also the most time-consuming. This method is often preferred by artists as it does not require blending or shading techniques to shade a drawing or create a specific pattern.

4. Scribbling

hand rendering scribbling

Scribbling is one of the easiest and fastest ways to fill in your design while still looking great. Free from detail with the advantage of speed, this handcrafted design rendering method is more often sketchy, yet detailed and exquisite work is also often embellished with scribbles.

hand rendering scribbling

Generally, artists prefer circular scribbles, but this method gives you the freedom to choose the thickness, length, and color of your lines.

Pro Tip:

You don’t often see a render made entirely in one technique, as artists combine several of them in one work to achieve more stunning and accurate results. Learn and practice a few of those available to apply to your work.

5. Charcoal

hand rendering charcoal

Drawing with charcoal sticks to create tonal values in a hand rendering is another effective way to sketch your future design. Charcoal hallmark is its softness and richness of black color. Most often, charcoal is found on drafts depicting the essence of your project.

hand rendering charcoal

Concerning the shortcomings, I should mention the challenging handling of charcoal and the works of art drawn with it. This is because it’s easy to get dirty with this material and therefore it requires special storage conditions.

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6. Watercolor

hand rendering watercolor

Watercolor is a great option for those who want to make their handmade interior design renderings light, airy, and colorful. The combination of subtle strokes and high transparency gives your sketch lightness and elegance. The most common watercolor techniques are wet-on-dry, dry-on-dry, dry-on-wet, flat wash, and gradated wash.

hand rendering watercolor

Watercolor has an advantage over other interior design techniques because it allows using paper as a light source. You can leave some parts of your drawing unpainted, thereby making them brighter and more luminous than others. It looks impressive for depicting light pouring from a lamp or other light source.

Pro Tip:

In practice, watercolor is used to leave large areas of the drawing intact, for example, the ground, water, and sky often remain white in sketches. To make it clear to the viewer that this is water, you can simply draw a reflection on it.

7. Magic Marker

hand rendering magic marker

Markers are one of the most convenient and easy-to-use tools for creating interior design hand rendering, which cannot be said about watercolors or oil paints. It’s fast and practical and allows you to create full renderings full of vibrant, impressive colors.

hand rendering magic marker

The markers come with a very rich pigment that dries quickly. Due to this, the pictures are clean, and the lines are clear and saturated.

Pro Tip:

To make your sketch as neat and clean as possible, sketch with a red pencil that will easily blend into the marker and leave no marks. After finishing with the outline, determine the direction of the light. A distinctive feature of this method is the visualization of secondary surfaces, rather than painting over large ones.

8. Oil

hand rendering oil

Oil painting is one of the oldest hand-rendering techniques that has been popular among artists of the past centuries. Using oil paints, they created their lifelike-looking and detailed masterpieces, reminiscent of today’s visualizations that we can develop in interior design apps.

This is a complex and long process that requires skills because to achieve a certain color and texture in your painting, sometimes you need to layer the paint several times.

hand rendering oil

Painting with oil paints is a versatile technique suitable for most purposes. This is because mixing and layering paints leads to a variety of results – new colors and shades, smooth compelling gradients, bizarre textures, and the overall saturation of the picture.

With the help of such paints, you can also make your visualizations as detailed and accurate as possible.

9. Сolored Pencils

hand rendering colored pencils

Colored pencils are another easy way to create colorful interior design renderings. It does not take much time, and the result grabs attention. Ease of use and transport is all about colored pencils.

hand rendering colored pencils

Colored pencils take up little space, so you can always carry them with you to sketch on the go. They also require virtually no preparation before starting to draw. Pencils are also versatile – use them for sketching or a detailed drawing of a design and the result will please you.

10. Water Ink

hand rendering water ink

Water ink is also a popular technique, but not as common as the previous ones, as it’s a rather messy process.

The artist must have sufficient knowledge and feel of the process to find the balance between the amount of ink and water and achieve the desired result. However, the colors and shades of this method look very attractive.


  • • What are the benefits of hand rendering over digital?

Hand rendering is something about uniqueness, exclusivity, and individual approach. It does not limit you in the flight of fancy and embodiment of ideas, as is the case with digital visualization. It may also be more affordable, as digital options are not possible without a powerful computer and cutting-edge dedicated software.

Digital renderings involve the use of Photoshop for architectural renderings or other interior design software, while manual renderings require only suitable art supplies and a bit of imagination.

  • • How long does it take to create a manual architectural rendering?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as it all depends on the chosen painting technique and the complexity and size of your render. Sketches and drafts will typically take you hours, while detailed, crisp, and large-scale projects will take you days or even weeks.

  • • Can manual architectural rendering be combined with digital rendering?

To get the best of both worlds, designers often combine these two different rendering types. The best option is to sketch the project by hand in pencil or watercolor, scan it and download it to free architectural design software, where you can make digital changes and complete the project.

  • • Do you need to be an artist to create manual architectural renderings?

Of course, drawing skills will greatly simplify your start in this industry but do not give up if you don’t have these skills. With a qualified teacher and frequent practice, you can master this skill and start creating your own amazing architectural renderings.

  • • What supplies do I need to get started with manual architectural rendering?

The basic set is paper, pencils, an eraser, and a ruler. If you want to work on other techniques, then you need to get watercolors, charcoal, oil paints, etc.