4 Simple Steps to Improve Your UI Sketches


Have you ever uttered the phrase “I can’t draw’?

Ever felt that your UI sketches weren’t good enough to show to potential users?

Below are four very simple steps, which will help you produce more engaging sketches and give you confidence to test with paper prototypes, earlier. Everyone can do this, regardless of whether you think you can draw or not.

You will need…

  1. A fineliner
  2. A Sharpie
  3. A light-grey Copic marker (C2 or C3)
  4. A coloured Copic marker (any colour, but not too dark)
  5. Some grid paper (optional)

Throughout this demo, I will be drawing a dashboard for a fictional fitness tracking app.


Step 1: Draw the basics

Start with the fine-liner and draw the basic outlines of your interface.

Step 2: Add some structure

Go over the main structural components using the thicker Sharpie. As you can see, you are already starting to see some visual hierarchy coming through.

Step 3: Highlight the key features

Highlight the most important aspects of your design using a coloured Copic marker. Now it’s really starting to take shape.

Step 4: Make the foreground pop

Shade the background using a light-grey Copic marker. This ensures that the foreground elements really pop out.

You will notice that I also drew light shadows under and to the right of the ‘cards’ to give some extra depth to the sketch. This is where the Copic markers are great, as they allow you to layer colour to create different shades.



The technique was introduced to the SEEK team by Michael Stoelwinder during a Design Sprint workshop, which I’ve written about in depth previously.

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