Learning how to sketch

20 May 2007 - 6:40pm
9 years ago
4 replies
907 reads
frank gruger

Hello Alexander,

I'm sure the list with perk up with some of the standard classics, but this
is one I've stumbled across recently and have been buying up spare copies
for friends whenever I come across it:

Visual Notes for Architects and Designers By Norman Crowe, Paul Laseau


A former colleague of mine found it in the "leave a book/take book" pile in
the basement of her co-op. It's focuses more on the informal capturing of
information in visual form, but I think much of it translates to more formal
illustration as well.

I think it's used as a classroom manual at some schools because in Sept and
January it's priced around $35-50 but pretty much any other time of the year
you can find it on eBay for $5-10.

Anyone else on the list familiar with this book? I'm just curious if it's a
classic I missed or a new find.


> 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.


20 May 2007 - 9:10pm
Dave Malouf

A few thoughts here:

1) Never underestimate the power of hand drawing. Its amazing what
happens when you don't need a computer in front of you.

2) I really recommend "Drawing from the right side of the brain".
Good call Alok!

3) I took a Drawing for Product Design class at Pratt Institute. Wow!
ya start w/ Cubes and elipses and it all comes together from there.
Just great! I'd hope that other design schools w/ industrial design
programs would offer this continuing ed class. It was also a great
studio design class as well.

4) My boss has suggested to me (since I'm struggling w/ my drawing
and viz presentation skills as well) that I take a figure drawing
class. He suggested that figure drawing is a great way to do what
Jeff mentioned around motion muscle memory, but also as a means of
learning expression types.

Finding the time is the real clincher.

- dave

20 May 2007 - 9:18pm
Dan Saffer

Some of us at Adaptive Path are thinking about taking this workshop
to brush up on our sketching skills:


Anyone taken this?


21 May 2007 - 10:07am
Christian Crumlish

Another point i'd make is to learn to work with your "natural" style
of drawing. Too often the "I can't draw" emotion comes from
frustration with your inability to map exactly what you're seeing (or
envisioning) onto paper. I wouldn't discount the value of practice and
life drawing, but I also believe that you can cultivate your own style
and find a way of drawing that works without becoming Albrecht Durer.

Oh, and doodle whenever possible, even in your notebook margins,
despite what your schoolteachers may have told you.

This is my perspective coming from someone with an innate knack for
drawing who sketched all throughout my childhood, got frustrated when
I started reaching my limits, and then resumed drawing and painting as
an adult when I was able to embrace my own style.


21 May 2007 - 5:20pm
Wendy Fischer

Some tips for sketching:

1) Take a drawing class - but you might look for a class that something like Drawing for Visualization.

2) Keep a sketchbook and drawing pencil/charcoal handy. Go out and sketch for 10-15 minutes a day something that is in your immediate surroundings. Or sketch from a photograph and analyze the lines and shading in the photograph. Try doing some quick sketches - 30 seconds to 2 minute to do a drawing. This practice really works in helping figure out line and position of a person, and also focusing on the line and the arc. Or get a drawing book or photography book and sketch the drawings in the book.

3) Depending on where you live, there might be drawing groups that get together and have study groups for drawing. These might often be figure models. You pay a small fee or subscription for the group, but it's cheaper than taking a class. There are people with all levels of drawing expertise, and you might learn a lot from drawing with other people.

4) There is no such thing as a bad drawing. Sketches and drawings don't have to be perfect. People get self conscious about their drawing, which often stops them from continuing to draw.

5. Practice. Practice. Practice. That's the only way you'll get better.

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