Spontaneous Design Genius: Important and Inventive Napkin Sketches

The Finnish architect Alvar Aalto famously said that “God made paper to draw architecture on it.” And apparently, cocktail napkins. Proof that design genius knows no boundaries, here is our roundup of impromptu sketches illustrating the many creative ideas that have originated in bars, lunchroom cafeterias and gem museums from the likes of Liz Diller, Andy Warhol, and Steve Martin’s character in Housesitter.

Should you suffer from a similar inability to effectively disengage and leave your creativity at the office, check out this helpful book to up your napkin sketching ante: Dan Moyer’s self-published Napkin Sketch Workbook. Let us know in the comments about the wackiest place you’ve ever been inspired!

Liz Diller
Blur Process Sketch, ink on paper napkin (1998)

From a discussion over a meal listing “all of the qualities of architecture that can be blurred.” Image credit: Architects’ Drawings