Despite being practiced in a documented way for centuries, architectural survey drawings have been understudied and overlooked as a form of inventive drawing. Although the architect-as-surveyor's scope of creativity may be more limited and nuanced when compared to other kinds of architectural drawings, it would be a mistake to assume this kind of image-making has no interpretive dimensions. This dissertation traces the historical trajectory of architects' drawing practices between the 1920s-1940s when the profession's interests and approaches to recording the built environment changed from examining architectural masterpieces in Europe to investigating buildings by collecting "data" across the US and China. This study compares various architects' drawing processes by examining archival records, field note sketchåçes, and final published drawings. Drawings by architects Harold Van Buren Magonigle, John Russell Pope, Douglas Ellington, employees of the Historic American Buildings Survey in its first phase, and the "First Generation" architects Liu Dunzhen and Liang Sicheng as members of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture, reveal the international scope and variety of interpretations resulting from a recording practice often described as objective. This history foreshadows contemporary heritage interpretation practices and the instrumental role of architectural survey drawings for attributing meaning to the past in the present.