Sketching is fast, generative, exploratory, and playful. For me, it’s the process that I rely on the most in designing.
There are a few things that you should know about how to sketch so that you confidently take full advantage of its benefits in your design process.
Watch this video where I describe a few tips on how to sketch:
(I‘m glad you checked that out! I thought it was going to be really easy to get that shot, but setting the camera up on the table was actually pretty awkward lol. I’ll keep everything in focus and in the frame when I make a part 2! Haha)
For sketching to really be effective, you have to be comfortable doing it. That’s really what the three tips boil down to.
Don’t beat yourself up for not drawing straight lines. That is the EASIEST and the WORST excuse to not sketch. Process drawings do not have to have really straight lines. There’s a reason we go to great lengths to use parallel bars, and triangles, and CAD to draw our straight lines.
So let the sketch lines wiggle.
If sketching is done by a human, it should look like a human did it. When you use a straight edge, that human character is ripped away. Also, if you primarily use your fingers and wrist to move the pen across the paper, the lines will have a certain quality because of the tight “turn radiuses” of those particular joints. And if you use your shoulder to move the pen (with your fingers merely making small course changes) then it will have a different character, one with nice curves. When the wiggles are tight and kinky, they look neurotic and insecure. When the wiggles are fluid and wavy they look expressive and confident.
Which emotion would you rather generate in yourself while you were designing a building?
Drawing as quickly as you think is the best way to get your ideas out of you head more comfortably. Your brain probably darts around faster than you can speak or write. So when you first try to draw as fast as you think, it may be difficult. But to get used to this, sit down to sketch for two minuets and never pick you pencil off the paper and never let the pencil stop moving. You can go over things multiple times just don’t stop moving the pencil.
This is an exercise in thinking as much as an exercise in drawing. When you can think through your hand like that, you can get into a “flow” where great thinking happens.
The notion of thinking this way is the same concept behind stream of consciousness writing, improv acting, and freestyle rapping and dancing: make your actions and thoughts one and the same, and the genius of the human mind can more fully express itself.
So in other words, relax and get out of your own way.
Let me know what you think about this approach to sketching? Do you have any techniques that you use?
Drew Paul Bell