Get to sketching
Tips on sketching your way into an idea.
Sketching is something we are all capable of. If you’re skeptical or intimidated by taking up the pencil, here are a few tips on getting ideas out of your head and into your hands.
Build your own language
I sketch a lot of websites, so most of my experiments are a mix of images, text, and buttons. Whatever you’re working on, think of a way to visually reduce it to only 2 or 3 shapes or symbols that you use repeatedly. Ideally, these symbols are some type of box that you can adjust.
Less wrist, more elbow
Lots of people sketch using a lots of little lines until they have a prickly shape created.
Instead, look where you want to go and make the mark in as few lines as possible. Keep a still wrist, then use only your elbow and shoulder to draw. Who cares if shapes are crooked or misaligned. The more ambivalent you are about your marks, the quicker you will find them useful.
Avoid criticizing yourself
Ignore whatever internal voice tells you that your sketch “sucks” or that it’s “bad”. You are physically exploring an invisible problem and that is all that matters. Ignore the criticism, especially from yourself.
Use huge paper
Personally, I love big sketch books, especially this beast from Moleskine.
Give yourself enough space to work through whatever it is you’re sketching. Maybe use all that extra room for notes or chop through a few “bad” ideas. Sometimes, interesting things happen when you give your mind a chance to explore without doubt or judgement.
Unless you’re a Pixar animator and can simultaneously create art while you doodle, try not to idealize or overthink the act of keeping sketches in a book.
Start with a box
Don’t use the edges of your paper for the edges of an idea. Designate a separate space on the paper to sketch in. That will give you enough room to do multiple versions, or pepper in some questions or instructions to yourself.
Ignore whatever internal voice tells you that your sketch “sucks” or that it’s “bad”.
The only thing you need to start is paper, pencil, and a problem to solve. Whatever you’re building, whether it’s a plan or a website, sketching is a super gratifying way to get your mind going. Good luck!