The Art of Sketching

In the mid-1980s, advances in computer technology changed everything, revolutionising the industry and empowering a whole new generation of designers. Without doubt, most of today’s commercial design work is now done digitally and there’s no denying its many benefits. 

But there was a time when there was no ‘undo button’ and the only way to create a visual was by putting pen or pencil to paper...

For the digital design process to function fully at its best, sketching by hand still has a crucial and continued part to play. So with this in mind, here are 5 reasons you should pick up a pen before reaching for your tablet or mouse...

It’s fast

This is probably the main benefit markers have over digital design tools. The ability to express a thought or idea immediately, in its raw state without getting bogged down in the detail. And before you forget why it was a good idea in the first place.

It makes you stand out

Whatever design industry you go into, it will be highly competitive. Leaving your course with a balanced portfolio that showcases a range of digital and hand-drawn styles will make you stand out from the crowd. It impresses future employers and prospective clients.

It reminds you that concept is king

Resolving your ideas on paper first can prevent them becoming over worked on-screen (a big potential pit-fall when using design software, with its may tool bars and chances to hit command z!). Because hand rendering is so uncomplicated and immediate, you are far less likely to get waylaid by endless tweaks to the design. Your original concept will be in clear sight at all times.

It streamlines the whole process

Hand-drawn sketches don’t just influence the early design stages; they make the whole design process more efficient from end-to-end. A solid set of sketches will ensure everyone (including you) is focused and bought into your core concept from the outset. Before sinking time into lengthy finessing and polishing of later digital renders.

It helps you master your art

The best digital renders don’t look digital at all, and the more your hand-drawing skills improve, the easier this will be to achieve. Learning to accurately render a texture or highlight without the aid of a computer, forces you to think a lot more about the form and physics behind it. As a hands-on process, sketching with a marker or pencil helps make you a more intuitive, technically competent designer.