A Beginners Guide: How to Train your Sektch Skills

julia warmuth
Nov 6 · 5 min read

Ever been in the situation that you asked either a teacher, senior designer or colleague how to do something in Sketch and the just need 3 seconds, use 10 different shortcuts, while you not even twinkled. Bad news: It’s normal and you will probably feel this way 1 Mio. times more. Good news: At one point you can be this advanced Sktech pro and you will be asked for help.

In this story I gonna write about my first experiences with Sktech and show you how you can constantly train your Sktech skills to get an advanced sketch user.


Let me tell you the most important thing directly in the beginning:

Learn your Shortcuts, because Shortcuts are King.

If you ever observed an advanced designer using Sketch, you will see that they use there mouses and the menu rarely and do as much as they can with shortcuts. Because shortcuts save time and even when you know exactly where in the menu your command is hidden: The shortcut gonna be faster!

The Sketch Website itself provides you with a lot of useful shortcuts or there’s this other amazing page called sketchshortcuts.com or you just google “sketch shortcuts” and you will get a lot to read!

If your keyboard isn’t an American one (such as mine) please be aware that most shortcuts, if not declared else, are tailored for American keyboards. Since most shortcuts are easier to remember in the American Version, but I’m not used to the American Keyboard I use a little workaround:

Simple change the language settings of my keyboard to US and select “show keyboard” on my MacBook while using sketch.

Here’s a short video how you can change your keyboard settings.

Train, Train, Train

As you might can imaging it’s not done by just googling shortcuts, because if you never use them, you won’t remember. So if you not yet opening sketch on a daily basis, so you should start now.

“Rocket” Challenge

Sketch Challenges

You wondering what to do? Sketch what ever you want. That can be just little tasks. Like try to design “a rocket”. And you don’t need to perform miracles, as you can see on my rocket example. (What was by the way the first thing I ever did in sketch).

So just play around with all the options and try to make a tree, a house, a star, a heart or a car in as fast as possible. There are by the way a lot of funny videos out there designers trying to beat each other in doing this little challenges.

Watch Advanced Designers and Follow Every Step

The internet is full of videos showing other people solving tasks on Sketch. So just choose what ever you want to learn and follow the tutorial step by step.

Don’t stop, when you solved the task with the tutorial. Stop, when you can solve it by yourself.

Honestly if you have the chance to watch more advanced designers doing there stuff in Sketch: Take it! Observe them, compare how would have don it and ASK. Ask for help if you don’t understand it.

Don’t just accept them fixing your problem in 10 seconds!

Ask them to EXPLAIN you how they did it. And afterwards try to redo it over and over again.

Redesign Screens that Already Exists

Easiest way to train your self is just go to Dribble or Pinterest look for screens you like and try to build them by yourself. I know it will take you ages in the beginning but as more screens you build the more shortcuts and functions you will learn and the easier Sketch will get for you.

In a perfect world you would get this task by a teacher who will ask you to build it first by yourself, then he will show and explain you how he would do it and you can compare to your solution.

I know, world isn’t always perfect: Believe me you can train that also without a teacher.

It just takes some more time. And as you can see on the pictures below: You don’t need to get lost in finding the right background pictures. Just use what you get it doesn’t need to be the same for 1000000% it just is supposed to train you getting faster.

Here you can see on the left side the Original Screens provided by my school Ironhack and on the right side the two screens I did.

To improve even more, you can also track your time to see on which parts you spent most time and train especially this skills.

And if you want to start training not on hi-fi and improve your mid-fi skills, just take the screens and try to turn them into mid-fis. Like I did it in the following pictures.

Try to turn this hi-fi screens into mid-fis!

Learn to Use Your Sources

The last tipp I want to give you is to use all the free resources out there. Use free Icon libraries to save time in searching for icons. You can have a look to thenounproject.com to find a general icon set.

Use free wireframe kits to save time on designing the basic stuff, add the kits to your libraries when you want to use them more often. Free usable kits you can find for example on sketchappsources.com.

And you should definitely check out the wireframe kit provided by Apple for Apple Devices and by Google for Materialdesign devices, so you don’t need to care about status bars, keyboards etc.

In case your thinking now I’m a Sketch pro, let me tell you no I’m not (yet). Probably there are many many many other people out there designing way faster than me in Sketch, having a better system to structure their Sketch files or knowing more shortcuts. But hey you know, I’m sure that there’s a video, where they explain how they do it! …. soooo I’m over and out back to training my sketch skills! Julia

julia warmuth

Written by

UX Designerin, glitter fairy, adventurer and always trying hard to keep my head in the clouds — Favourite answer: WHY?

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