On the boob tube there was a local private art school commercial advertising a
graphics degree program. The announcer states…“You don’t know how to draw?
No problem, you don’t have to.”
The school claims that their professors can mold you into a superstar designer without having prior drawing skills or talent for that matter.
So that brings up the question. Should drawing be fundamental for designers?
Um, ABSOLUTELY! Below we have compiled some of the benefits for designers
if they apply drawing to their overall creative process. Stick figures are as far as
you go? No problem! We’ve also listed a couple of links and resources to get your
drawing juices going.
See the big picture.
When you first get a new project, it’s a blank slate. Although that may be exciting
for designers, it can also be quite overwhelming. Many times we don’t know
where or how the ideas will come, and we usually only have an allotted time to
concept and lay it out. Sketching can be used to see how you will lay out the
piece, whether it’s an ad, a website, or a package design. It is the frame upon
which you will build. Once you have the elements you want in place, it’s a matter
of rearranging them around to see what works best. I find it’s easier to see the
big picture by drawing it out on paper first, rather than jumping on the computer.
Remember a computer is a mere tool – nothing more. The ideas will always come
Become a master problem-solver.
Drawing is the origin of all design. When you draw, you run into and discover
all the obstacles and problems you have to resolve in design down the road.
After all, isn’t it easier to use a pencil than a bulky mouse? So it’s best to start at
the root. For example when you draw, you learn where to apply your shadows
according to where the light is coming from. You also master color theory. It’s one
thing to see how colors relate to each other on the color wheel, but it’s another
when you’re sketching with color. Color excites and inspires, so don’t be afraid of
putting color to paper. I can’t emphasize how much drawing as a child and a teen
helped to understand design on a deeper level.
Save time and avoid headaches.
Countless times designers have attempted to design directly on the computer
without any prior sketching. Sometimes it works, but other times it’s inefficient.
It’s like attempting to put up shelves in a house with no walls. It’s pretty much
useless. I can’t stress enough – foundation, foundation, foundation. Lay a basic
foundation by sketching your idea out, and you are guaranteed to shave off time
towards your final project. There are so many other elements as a designer you
have to stress and spend time on. Don’t let this be one of them unnecessarily.
Incorporate your drawing into the project itself.
Want to become a double-threat designer? Draw and design! Demonstrating
your skills and talents in such a way can add value to the brand you’re designing.
For example, drawing an image that will be part of a logo will ensure that brand’s
individuality. To be able to incorporate your unique art within a project can only
help your client. By drawing it yourself, you’ll definitely stand out in the vast sea
of clip art and stock illustrations.
Links and Resources
With so many benefits to drawing, you are probably anxious to get started. Here’s
a compilation of useful websites and books to assist you.
• Odosketch (http://sketch.odopod.com) – Think of this as an online
sketchbook. It allows you to save your sketches online by just creating a
simple account. It’s a treat to browse through what others draw as well.
• How to Draw It (http://www.howtodrawit.com) – This is an online step
by step on how to draw different things including animals, cartoons,
and my favorite, people. The people section includes lighting and line
drawings. It’s a beginner’s level.
• Fast Sketching Techniques by David J. Rankin – This book teaches you
to loosen up which is what’s needed when sketching. It shows you how
to capture something using brief and quick strokes.
• The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards –
For those who want to delve deeper into drawing, here is the updated
version of a classic (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, 1979). This
book explains drawing to its core and opens your eyes to view drawing
in a different way.
• Autodesk Sketchbook Pro – This is a paint and drawing software that allows
you to transform your desktop computer, laptop, tablet PC, or iPad into the
ultimate sketchbook. You can download a free trial.
Concepts are raw, and thus should be developed using the rawest of tools –
pencil and paper.
On that note designers, if you want to improve, and create intelligent, well
thought-out design pieces, we suggest you dust off your STAEDTLER graphite
pencil and rubber kneaded eraser and have at it! Draw!