The Do’s And Don’ts of Sketching

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If you are a professional graphic designer and want to start sketching, there is a lot of information out there. But often the tips offered are too “theoretical” and not really helpful for a graphic designer who has just started sketching.

Trying to find a blog on sketching do’s and don’ts, I found that most of them did not contain enough information about what to do when starting to sketch. The tips were often too “theoretical”, and not really helpful for a graphic designer who has just started sketching.

And so I decided to write my own blog on sketching do’s and don’ts.

The purpose of sketching is to refine the design and generate a mental picture of what you’re doing.

This page is all about the do’s and don’ts of sketching. It will also give you some insights into why you might want to sketch as part of your design process.

Sketching is one of the most powerful tools available to any designer or engineer. It’s fast, cheap, flexible, and easy to learn. In fact, sketching is the medium that designers and engineers can use to build their understanding of an idea or design solution.

Trying to explain a concept or solution with words is just too ambiguous, too much like talking in circles. The reason is simple: there are too many connections in our brains that allow us to make sense out of things we hear or read. We all have had this experience: we hear something and instantly form a mental picture based on what we know. This picture may bear little resemblance to what was being described!

This happens because we fill in the blanks—we create our own association between what we’re reading/hearing and our own experiences. So when someone says “table,” you might see a picnic table but I might see cut sheet metal sitting on cinder blocks! You both

In this article, I will provide you with a list of the top 12 do’s and don’ts in sketching.


1. Do focus on what you are drawing not what you are drawing it with.

2. Do draw from real life models as often as possible. The more time you spend drawing from life the better your drawings will be.

3. Do be neat and make sure that your drawings are well constructed. A crude drawing can be a good drawing but it is hard to draw something that is not there!

4. Do make sure that your drawings are accurate and proportionate, if they are not accurate then they look wrong, even if they are not!

5. Do use value to create depth and interest in your work. Help the eye move around your picture by using highlights and shadows to show volume and form.

6. Do copy drawings from books or the internet, but try to add some of your own ideas too! 

  7. Don’t worry about making mistakes – everyone makes them! It is how we learn!

  8. Don’t use black pens as they tend to look too heavy and make your pictures look flat and lifeless, instead use a softer pen such as a 2B pencil or

There is a huge world of sketching, with many different aspects to it. Some are quick sketches and some are more detailed sketches. Some are done in graphite and some in colored pencils, etc.

The basic sketching do’s and don’ts are the same for all kinds of sketching, but there are many different ways to do them well or poorly. If you don’t know how to do something well, how can you tell if you’re doing it wrong or not?

So here is a list of suggestions on how to improve your sketching skills. It’s by no means everything there is to say on the subject, but hopefully it will help make your work better:

1. Use the right tools for the job!

2. Not every tool is meant to be used for every job!

3. Don’t expect a single tool to be good at every job!

4. Practice makes perfect!

5. Be patient with yourself!

6. Take your time! It’s not a race!

Sketching is a very effective way of learning and remembering what you see. I have been drawing since early childhood, and in the many years I have been drawing have learned some basic rules of sketching.

Trying to apply these rules to your sketches will make you a better sketcher.

Many of the people who ask me how to sketch want to learn how to draw portraits well. I find there are two types of people: those who want to draw realistic portraits, and those who want to go beyond realism into abstraction.

Trait-based drawing is the method developed by Andrew Loomis, who was one of the great portrait artists of the mid-20th century (see his autobiography, One Boy’s Life for a fascinating glimpse into the art world of that era). It relies on observation and memorization of underlying structure. The idea is that you learn to see the underlying form, then use that as a guide when filling in the details. In this way you get realistic results without much training.

The problem with Loomis’s method is that it doesn’t help you understand what makes a good portrait. Why does one portrait look more like its subject than another? What are the differences between a photograph and a painting? And what are the qualities that make one person’s portrait better than another’s?

This is important because if you’re going to improve your skills, you need to be able to judge what they should be improved toward. If you want perfect likenesses, but your portraits don’t look like its subjects, or if you’re

The trick to sketching is to be able to keep the gag fresh even as you are refining it. You have to be willing to toss a joke that isn’t working no matter how long you labored over it. You have to be willing to experiment and if something doesn’t work, let it go.

You need to experiment with different styles and different approaches. Do one page of stick figures. Do one page of mostly word balloons with just a few lines of action. Do one page where the joke is what’s going on in the background.

The point is not just that you should try different things, but that you should actively seek out new kinds of things to try. Don’t do the same old thing because it’s easy and comfortable. Push yourself to do something new, even if it’s hard at first.”

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