Friday, May 23, 2014

#TipsForUSTArkiFreshies Part 1: Things You'll Really Need

I've been wanting to do a tutorial of sorts for the blog because I feel that it's becoming really boring and monotonous; what with it just hovering from personal style to travel to food. I want it to be a bit more different and a bit more fresh, which is why I've decided to share some stuff that's also a really big part of my life right now: school and architecture! I'm so excited to finally do this because I think it'd be a big help to the incoming freshmen. When I was starting out, I wish I'd have found a guide to tell me about what I really needed and I figured why not make one for whoever needs it?

So I've decided to start a really short series about what I feel every architecture freshman should know; whether you're Thomasian or otherwise! This is all totally based on my experience as a freshman not too long ago. :)

Just a quick disclaimer though: I'm not saying I'm the expert or anything remotely similar to that, but I just wanted to share a few tips that I think are going to be really helpful.

Of course, this first tutorial pretty much covers what you'll be needing for your major subjects which are:

1. Architectural Design (AD) - This is where you get to unleash your creativity because it's where you really design.
2. Graphics (GR) - Graphics is all about the technical stuff and the things you really need to know. Here, it's all about learning the right way to draft and the different tricks every architect sure know. In short, this is manual mechanical drawing.
3. Visual Techniques (VT) - This is the class where you learn how to make things pretty. LOL I know it's a funny description but that sums it up. Here, you learn how to render/color your drawings. You start with the most basic which is pencil shading. And I will have a totally separate post about my experience with the different mediums and a few tips about them. :D

1. Canister - This is where you store your plates; you roll them and store them inside, and that's pretty much it! The one in the photo is from Rotring and it can carry a whole lot, also it's adjustable so it can carry the bigger plates as well. Only downside is that it can be a bit noisy when you pull it open, but isn't really a big deal. If you want a slimmer one that isn't as noisy, go for Staedtler.

2. T-Square - Undoubtedly, it's one of the most important things EVER. And it comes in two major sizes: 24 inches and 36 inches. Believe me when I say, go for 36 inches. It may be huge, but it's what you really need and it's a lot more comfortable to use. A 24-inch may be considerably more mobile but it won't be so fun when you have bigger plates to do, and there are going to be a LOT of them. ALSO one really helpful secret about buying T-Squares is to buy them from the Espana branch of Joli's. Remember to buy them early on the first sem! Since it's less traveled by for students, they keep old stock of Rotring T-Squares that they put on sale there for 200 bucks! I got mine there for exactly that price and I have absolutely no regrets. It works just as well as any other brand new T-Square and it saves you a buttload of money. Haha! Lastly, there's no major difference here whether you get Rotring or Staedtler or any other brand. They're just giant rulers with those head thingies. #SoProfessional LOL

3. Scale - Also very invaluable in your arsenal, it won't feel as important at first, but believe me it will be one of those things you can't live without. Basically, what a scale does is give you the measurements you need on different scales. When you buy one, get it in 1:100, 1:200, 1:300, 1:400, 1:500, 1:250. Scales come in different sets of proportions so you have to make sure that these are the ratios it has. Also, I think it's pretty important that you invest in a Staedtler scale because it's a lot sturdier, from what I've heard. It's a bit more expensive, but worth it.

4. Compass - Sadly, you'll only be using this a whole lot during your first semester of Graphics, but you'll need it when you plan on doing circular structures in the future. And mind you, this isn't your normal high school compass for studying circles and angles, these things mean business. In all seriousness though, when you buy one, buy one with an extender, but don't buy the one the unbranded one because that's what I sadly got for myself and it's just really weird. (The one in the photo.)

5. Erasing Shield - The metallic thing that kind of looks like razor blade is an erasing shield and you basically use it to erase with precision by putting it on the exact line, curve, or dot that you want to erase so you don't needless remove anything else. Be careful with handling this one too, because it is also a bit sharp around the edges. It's not a blade but it can give you cuts if you're not careful. I got the unbranded one and it doesn't seem to be any different from branded ones.

6. Circular Template - This is something I really wish I had at the start of the year, because it's one of the most awesome cheat tools you can have at your disposal. When you start your GR class, you're going to use your compass to practice drawing all kinds of circles and when you get to the smaller circles it's going to be really really difficult and could cost you a large deduction if you made a mistake. The circular template gives you access to just about every small circle you'll need and it's absolutely awesome. So far, you don't really need to get the really legit ones because they are incredibly expensive. Rotring ones retail at 400 pesos, and I don't even want to think about how much Staedtler may cost. I got mine at National Bookstore for about 75 pesos so keep your eyes peeled for a nice circular templates when you're out! :)

7. Technical Pens - These are basically your very fancy ink pens. With all that fanciness comes a very hefty price too. Your tech pen set will be the most expensive thing you own, and you have to take really good care of them, especially since dropping them could destroy them like the famous G-Tech pens, only these cost at least 8 times that. You'll be using this when you ink or finalize your plates, and you can't not own a set. When you buy one though, I implore you to get the Staedtler set. It costs about 2000 pesos but you get three tech pens with your choice of points, a large eraser, and a nice mechanical pencil. It also comes with letter stickers for you to put your name on the cool case it comes in. LOL jokes aside, I regret getting Rotring because the bodies are sadly very fragile, and now I have to tape mine to prevent the points from falling out. The Staedtler tech pens are much more reliable on every level and I really hope you don't make the same mistake I did. BUT before you buy a set, wait for your Graphics teacher to give you the points that you'll be using. It's different for every professor so watch out for that.

8. Triangles - And not just any pair of triangles, these are some big-ass triangles you'll be needing for drafting. These go hand in hand with your T-Square because you use it to make straight vertical lines as well as inclined lines. You'll learn more about it during your GR classes. Anyways, you will be needing the 30-60-90 and the 45-45-90 triangles. The Rotring ones come in pairs and it's safe to say they're pretty much the same in terms of quality and reliability. Just try not to drop them a lot because like most things, they break eventually. Take very good care of your things for the sake of your wallet. ESPECIALLY your tech pens.

9. Tech Pen Refill - When the ink in your tech pens run out, you'll need to refill them manually because there is no such thing as a tech pen refill capsule as far as I know. This came free with my Rotring set  along with 4 filled capsules of ink. With Staedtler, you have to buy the ink separately and fill them first before you're able to use them for the first time.

10. Protractor - It isn't as essential as the others, but you will need it to do precise inclined lines, as well as a possible cheat weapon when you're tasked to do special angled lines that can't be done with your triangles.

11. French Curves - It's the very opposite of the ruler because it is meant to create every curve imaginable which is actually kind of cool. Anyways, you'll need it at first for Graphics but a little later, it's going to be really important when you want to do really cool curved structures, as well as perspectives. You'll understand when you get there. Mine are the Rotring ones and the French curves always come in threes. The orange ones are supposedly the professional line, but the transparent ones are pretty much exactly the same. I just got the orange one because they were out of the transparent ones which are cheaper.

12. Drafting Brush - It isn't as important as the others, but when you erase a whole lot of stuff, it's bound to leave a ton of eraser residue. Instead of using your hands or your breath and risking ruining your plate, use a drafting brush to sweep the residue away. It's unbranded so it's relatively cheap, and I recommend buying the one with black bristles, so it's easier to maintain when the graphite of the pencil sticks to the bristles.

13. Tape - This is something you'll constantly use to keep your plate in place when drafting. You can use masking tape, but I think "magic" tape is a lot better. It's a bit more expensive but there's a smaller chance of accidents with them. When buying magic tape, go for 3M because it's pretty great but it's also quite expensive. The one I use can be bought for 27 but isn't nearly as good as 3M but it's pretty decent. 

I fit all of that in a blue folder I call my "GR Kit." Haha! It's better to put it all in one place where you can just remove it from your bag for easy access. You can also do what my friends do which is to just put it all in an eco bag for you to carry. As for my T-Square, canister, drafting brush, tape, and scale, they all fit into my T-Square case. I got my blue kit from Joli's for about 200 pesos. It can be quite bulky so it might not work for everyone. As for my T-Square case, it's pretty universal so every store in P. Noval has it for more or less 100 pesos. It also comes in a ton of different styles and patterns, but I sadly saw really good designs once I got my plain black one. :(

Pencils reach a whole new level now and the letters on top especially matter even more. The points you'll be needing for now are H, 2H, F, HB, B, 2B. One costs 25 pesos so the total will be quite a handful already. Will talk more about this in my VT guide. :)

The last thing on the list is a drafting table. This is going to be your work station forever so choose one that works well for you along with one that's easy to maintain. Mine is from Jomar's and it costs 3900 which is not bad at all considering it's quite a big table. It also has a little space underneath the table for storage which is handy. Just remember to check for any defects because the first one I got had a few dents here and there so I had to take it all the way back to exchange it but the one I use now is great. :)

There are three major art stores in UST: Joli's, Jomar's, and Joyce's. Personally, I recommend Jomar's because they're incredibly organized so it doesn't stay crowded for a long time. Also, the ladies who watch over the store are considerably easier to talk to. I buy about 90% of my stuff there, and I just go to Joli's for the extra stuff like containers and of course, my T-Square, because it is constantly overcrowded in Joli's and the staff are less than accommodating at times. :(

And that pretty much concludes the stuff you'll need! Of course, this doesn't include the books, ballpens, and other usual school stuff, so be prepared to do quite a bit of spending on the first month of school. An extra thing you can do is to have your picture taken and get it printed in a lot of 1x1 copies, because you'll be needing them in the coming years for professors.

Watch out for the next few posts in my #TipsForUSTArkiFreshmen series. To the students who're reading this, good luck and I hope this helps! :)


  1. This is probably the most helpful Arki Tips post. Thanks. :) - arki freshie

  2. Really, this is very informative and students need to read this article.

  3. Looks like you are ready for your architecture work. The last time I saw this was when I was studying and people from Engineering and architecture using them.

  4. I'm quite familiar with most of the drawing tools you mentioned here. I am a graduate of ECE. The drawing board and the T-square are 2 things I can't forget. Vert essential need yan ng Engineering students. BTW do you know Mrs. Chona Ponce of the College of Architecture?

    1. Siya yung former dean of UST College of Architecture pero ngayon yata dean na sya na National University College of Architecture.

  5. I'm so glad you've got a way to get out of your comfort zone and wrote something beneficial (not to mention, searchable in Google) for UST froshies. :)

  6. Love the photos! How I wish I am also a UST student! :(

  7. Ano pong size ng drafting table? Kelangan na ba bilhin agad?

    1. Hi! Pag sa Jomars ka bumili, isa lang yung size ng drafting table nya. Mine measures 35"x26" basta hanap ka ng table na kayang lagyan ng 20x30 na papel. That's the largest paper you'll be using. Sa Joli's maraming size yung table so you can check that out as well. :)

  8. Hi! Gud am. May I ask for your kind advice for purchasing a drafting table for ECE students? Any size or function(?) in particular that I need to look for? Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Tiffany! I'm so sorry my reply was so late! Anyway, I'm not really sure about ECE students but you have to determine the size of paper you'll be using for your plans. If you will eventually use larger sizes like 20x30, go for a larger sized table. Mine is about 37 x 24 inches and it doubles as a desk for non-plate days haha! :)

  9. These are great and very helpful tips especially that school is about to start! We all know how freshmen are too afraid to ask so telling them these things beforehand will truly help them blend in.