Learning how to sketch?

20 May 2007 - 4:00pm
7 years ago
12 replies
1745 reads
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

Dear all,

I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
sketching skills.

I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating physical
concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.

I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.

Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
experience with following any short courses in this area.

Thanks in advance,

Alex

Comments

20 May 2007 - 4:34pm
Joseph Tate
2007

The most helpful tip I've received in this area is: do it everyday,
fifteen to thirty minutes a day, changing up what you sketch daily.

-jody

On May 20, 2007, at 3:00 PM, Alexander Baxevanis wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
> sketching skills.
>
> I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating physical
> concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
> short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.
>
> I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
> diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.
>
> Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
> experience with following any short courses in this area.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Alex
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>
>

20 May 2007 - 5:28pm
AlokJain
2006

I would recommend - Drawing from the right side of your brain -
http://www.amazon.com/New-Drawing-Right-Side-Brain/dp/0007116454/
ref=pd_bbs_1/002-3232066-4723204?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179700085&sr=8-1

Cheers
Alok Jain
----------------------------------
http://www.iPrincipia.com

On May 20, 2007, at 5:34 PM, Joseph Tate wrote:

> On May 20, 2007, at 3:00 PM, Alexander Baxevanis wrote:
>
>> Dear all,
>>
>> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on
>> improving
>> sketching skills.
>>
>> I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating
>> physical
>> concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
>> short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.
>>
>> I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
>> diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.
>>
>> Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
>> experience with following any short courses in this area.
>>
>> Thanks in advance,
>>
>> Alex
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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20 May 2007 - 6:01pm
Trip O'Dell
2007

I gave up on sketching for a lot of my concepts. My training is
limited with traditional media, and it takes me too long to get a
concept to look the way I want it to. Sketching limits my creative
process because I become too invested in the sketch and the amount of
work required to produce it.

I like to use 3D software to quickly throw together a physical
concept (I use Cinema 4D) - it allows me to rough out the idea
quickly with primitives and zygote figures and once the model is
built I can grab as many stills as I like from different angles, or
even animate the camera for a quick and dirty fly through. I know
many architects have migrated to using Google Sketch Up for initial
visualizations for similar reasons. If you really want a concept to
have that "sketched" look, you can always run it through a render
module like sketch and toon.

Just my 2 cents

On May 20, 2007, at 4:00 PM, Alexander Baxevanis wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
> sketching skills.
>
> I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating physical
> concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
> short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.
>
> I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
> diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.
>
> Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
> experience with following any short courses in this area.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Alex
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

20 May 2007 - 4:49pm
Jeff Howard
2004

My experience with learning to sketch was through class after class
after class of drawing as part of a fine arts degree. Design drawing
is a different skill than fine art drawing, but fundamentally you
still need to learn to make the pencil do what you want whether
you're drawing from imagination or drawing from life. We never had a
book. We refined our skills through practice and critiques. You can do
the first on your own, but you need people for the second.

Lots of colleges with fine art programs have open drawing sessions at
night where you can go and practice your craft. If you're all drawing
the same still-life, it makes it easier to compare the results and get
ideas for how to improve. Depending on what they're drawing that
night you might need to chip in a few bucks to cover the cost of the
model.

When you're not doing that, try drawing things around your house. A
stack of books, your camera, draw them again and again. Keep a
sketchbook to track your progress. And like Joseph mentions, do it
every day. When you get tired of drawing them, pick a different
medium and start drawing them again. Pen instead of pencil. Markers.
Stop by your local art store to get some good tools.

You might be able to get some insight into the scenario design
process from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. This won't teach
you how to sketch, but will help with things like pacing and
narrative. I skipped his second book, but Making Comics was a good
read too.

20 May 2007 - 6:27pm
Jay Morgan
2006

Copy or replicate things you see.
- copy: other people's drawings, especially ones you're fond of and want to
emulate
- replicate: things you see in the physical world - trains, cars, roads,
houses, neighborhoods, maps

Draw spontaneously from your ideas, imagination, and memory:
Since you're setting out to draw abstract and often complex things, practice
putting your own thoughts on paper. Ultimately, you'll be translating your
thoughts and ideas. Get used to that translation - it'll let you be faster
and feel more confident in your understanding of things you need to draw.
- Ideas and imagination: just draw, start basic, let the complexity fall
away and draw the most basic representation of it that you're capable of
- Memory: draw things you remember from books, stories, your past; these
are things you've probably thought a lot about and can think through readily

Practice brings experience and confidence:
Draw the same object a few times in succession.
Draw it from multiple perspectives.
Draw it larger and smaller.
Draw the opposite of that object.
Draw something that object is not.

Sketch as often as you can and show your drawings to other people. If you
draw at work, use it in communicating with other people. It puts skin in
the game and will get you to really learn and improve. Pay attention to
where you improve over time - it'll help you see what works for you.

Good luck. I'm going to go follow my own instructions now.
- Jay

On 5/20/07, Alexander Baxevanis <alex.baxevanis at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
> sketching skills.
>
> Alex
>

--
Jay Morgan
Applied cognitive scientist practicing information architecture, interaction
design, and corporate culture manipulation

20 May 2007 - 6:28pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

It's kind of like playing the piano. You get better at it the longer you
practice. At least that's what I've been told by people who have practiced
(sketching) more than I have and actually seem to be good at it.

Drawing class is good because it lets you give yourself permission to draw
something. And drawing teachers seem to be encouraging to newcomers. They
give you homework, which means that you sketch more often. I used to walk
out on a nice day during my lunchtime, sit down on a step somewhere, and try
to sketch an interesting construction site (Seattle has been an unnavigable
construction zone for years, so it's no problem finding girders).

Now that I'm not in a formal graphics program, there's nobody to nag me, so
I'm reduced to sketching in meetings or other odd moments. There are trains
outside the window of one conference room, so they show up as odd
punctuation in between notes.

However you approach training, do give yourself permission to draw during
odd free moments. Hope this is helpful,

Michael Micheletti

On 5/20/07, Alexander Baxevanis <alex.baxevanis at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
> sketching skills.
>

20 May 2007 - 6:15pm
Kelly Noah
2007

I've found Rapid Viz to be a great book for improving your
visualization and sketching skills.

The book is structured almost like a drawing class and is very much a
workbook-type format with the author encouraging drawing right in the
pages. It covers everything from drawing faces to perspective, to
shading and really treats visualization as a new language.

Here's the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Rapid-Viz-Third-Method-Visualitzation/dp/
159863268X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-5550633-4444954?
ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179702673&sr=8-1

Kelly

On May 20, 2007, at 4:00 PM, Alexander Baxevanis wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
> sketching skills.
>
> I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating physical
> concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
> short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.
>
> I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
> diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.
>
> Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
> experience with following any short courses in this area.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Alex
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

21 May 2007 - 10:59am
Brad Bonham
2006

Alex, I've recently undertaken the same mission and have done lots of
research to figure out how I could most quickly improve my drawing and
sketching abilities without spending thousands of dollars and thousands
of hours of my time. Much practice and time is required, but here are
the books I've purchased to make this process more rapid:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain:
http://www.amazon.com/New-Drawing-Right-Side-Brain/dp/0874774241/ref=pd_
bbs_2/102-9950540-5444963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179761667&sr=8-2

Mentioned by others here...this is the best $12 you'll ever spend if
you're insecure about your artistic ability. The book is designed to get
you over your insecurities about drawing in as fast a time as possible.
You start and end the "course" with self-portraits so you can see your
progress. My first drawing looked like it was done by a 5 year old, and
my last drawing done a month later looked like it was done by someone
with a fair amount of art experience. Simply amazing. It will take about
12-15 hours of your spare time to complete.

Rapid Viz, Third Edition: A New Method for the Rapid Visualizations of
Ideas
http://www.amazon.com/Rapid-Viz-Third-Method-Visualitzation/dp/159863268
X/ref=sr_1_2/102-9950540-5444963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179761812&sr=1-2

Also mentioned before...In much the same way Drawing on the Right Side
of the Brain jumpstarts your drawing proficiency, Rapid Viz promises to
do the same for sketching ability. I still need to work through this
book, but colleagues and other reviewers glow about it.

My goal with both of these books has been to increase my visualization
skills as rapidly as possible (think 80/20 rule). If Drawing on the
Right Side of the Brain is any indication, I'm well on my way.

A few other books I picked up to "hone" my drawing and sketching skills:

Perspective Made Easy
http://www.amazon.com/Perspective-Made-Easy-Ernest-Norling/dp/0486404730
/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-9950540-5444963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179762675&sr=1-2

Perspective is arguably the most fundamental component of drawing and
sketching well, and it's also (at least for me) the hardest thing to
learn. I wanted a book that demystifies it and engrains the ability in
me.

Fast Sketching Techniques
http://www.amazon.com/Fast-Sketching-Techniques-David-Rankin/dp/15818000
53/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-9950540-5444963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179762614&sr
=1-1

This looks like a fun way to become unafraid of scribbling feverishly.
=)

Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil
http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Realistic-Textures-Pencil-Hillberry/dp/089
1348689/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-9950540-5444963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=11797622
26&sr=1-1
This one is all about making drawings intensely realistic. The artist is
amazing. The goals here are perfection over speed, but I wanted to be
exposed to such an intense level of detail to really open up my way of
"seeing" things. Never take a pixel for granted...

Hope these help!

Brad Bonham
Strategy Manager, UxG
Benefitfocus.com
brad.bonham at benefitfocus.com
843-849-7476 ext. 6229

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Alexander Baxevanis
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 5:01 PM
To: IxDA Discuss
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Learning how to sketch?

Dear all,

I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on improving
sketching skills.

I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating physical
concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2) drawing
short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.

I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.

Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
experience with following any short courses in this area.

Thanks in advance,

Alex
________________________________________________________________
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21 May 2007 - 2:11pm
Eugene Chen
2004

Rapid Visualization, Kurt Hanks
http://tinyurl.com/32v7rs

This book has great inspiring writing and goes through the basics of
perspectival drawing and communication through drawing. Most, though not all
of the example come from architectural spaces and/or people doing things.
It's fun to take on an airplane along with some blank pages.

However, I agree with the first amazon reviewer that it is not purely a book
on ideation or thinkers who want to doodle.

Best,

Eugene

Eugene Chen | User Experience Research, Strategy and Design
mobile 415 336 1783 | fax 240 282 7452
web http://www.eugenechendesign.com | aim peastulip | skype eugene-chen

> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 22:00:30 +0100
> From: "Alexander Baxevanis" <alex.baxevanis at gmail.com>
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Learning how to sketch?
> To: "IxDA Discuss" <discuss at ixda.org>
> Message-ID:
> <a803b0820705201400i67259c78s1904ef476b4a5282 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
>
> Dear all,
>
> I was wondering if anyone can offer some some suggestions on
> improving sketching skills.
>
> I'm mostly interested in using sketching for (1) illustrating
> physical concepts (e.g. the form factor of a device) and (2)
> drawing short-scenarios illustrating use of a product/service etc.
>
> I'm currently comfortable at sketching basic block
> diagrams/wireframes, i.e. mostly boxes & arrows.
>
> Would appreciate any suggestions for websites, books, or your
> experience with following any short courses in this area.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Alex
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
> ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help
> .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription
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> ....................... http://ixda.org/ Resource Library
> ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
> End of discuss Digest, Vol 44, Issue 20
> ***************************************
>
>

21 May 2007 - 4:42pm
Andrew Otwell
2004

Dave Gray, the founder of the info-design firm Xplane has a fantastic little
course on sketching on Squidoo:
http://www.squidoo.com/sketching/ It's pretty deep and a lot of fun to read.

It's part of a whole series of articles he's written on visual thinking and
communication:
http://www.squidoo.com/communicationnation

21 May 2007 - 6:15pm
Ari
2006

sketching is easy, one just needs inspiration. for me, econ class was
sufficient:

http://www.flyingyogi.com/yogi_images/war.gif

:-)

Andrew Otwell wrote:
> Dave Gray, the founder of the info-design firm Xplane has a fantastic little
> course on sketching on Squidoo:
> http://www.squidoo.com/sketching/ It's pretty deep and a lot of fun to read.
>
> It's part of a whole series of articles he's written on visual thinking and
> communication:
> http://www.squidoo.com/communicationnation
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

21 May 2007 - 6:54pm
Trip O'Dell
2007

Was that the day they covered guns and butter?

On May 21, 2007, at 6:15 PM, Ari Feldman wrote:

> sketching is easy, one just needs inspiration. for me, econ class was
> sufficient:
>
> http://www.flyingyogi.com/yogi_images/war.gif
>
> :-)

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