For Albert Paley drawing is a tool. “The drawings enable me to experience and completely understand the form before going into metal and to explain the form to somebody else. After that communication is understood, I go into the studio.”
Albert Paley does not use a computer. Instead, he relies on the pencil to paper as he has since his days as a student at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Concept and idea drawings communicate his intent and form to the clients and metal working staff. Sculpture patterns, also drawn by hand, become the basis for a sculpture’s form although further improvisation will occur as Albert works with the metal.
For the patterns to be useful, they must be converted to computer language or CAD software (computer aided design). A mechanical drafter on the Paley Studios staff works closely with Albert to translate his hand drawn patterns in CAD software. Using the CAD software, the studio can generate 3D models which are used during the proposal and engineering stages of the design phase. Upon completion of the design phase, the CAD patterns are then used to cut the steel plates into Albert’s design. Once the steel is cut, it is returned to the studio for fabrication.
"Drawing is very intimate. You focus all your energy on seeing something and understanding every element; it's a kind of hyper-realization." ~Albert Paley
[Quotes cited from: Schmertz, Mildred F. Inspiration & Context: The Drawings of Albert Paley. Rochester: Memorial Art Gallery of the U of Rochester, 1994. Print.]