Sketching Makes Everything Better

The title for this article may not be entirely accurate.  That's right.  It's a little unrealistic to expect sketching to help you fix your car or bake better lasagna.  If you, on the other hand, are an artist, more than likely the simple act of sketching can benefit your work in more ways than you think. For many artists, when the topic of sketching comes up so do a lot of excuses.  There are two heard over and over again.  First, “I'm just not very good at sketching and I don't see the benefit.”  Second, “I just can't figure out how to add time into a project to sketch when the deadline is already short.”  In this article, we'll learn why sketching is important to many different types of artists and how they can expect to see it improve the work they create. Who Should Sketch? Everyone should sketch!  Sketching is not only fun but also relaxing if you give yourself  a chance to appreciate it.  From a professional perspective, those in creative fields can expect to see the work they create benefit directly from sketching.  Whether you are a graphic designer, a digital painter, a modeler, a sculptor, a motion graphics designer or an animator, sketching will help you raise the bar and create better, more well thought out pieces of art for your projects. 1078_MASTER Yes, Sketching Is Important. Why is this?  As artists, we respond especially well to thoughts and ideas that are communicated to us visually.  As a matter of fact, if this article didn't have any pictures, you would probably stopped reading by now!  In short, we like to see things.  When we can see things, our minds can then begin to evaluate them.  Seeing one idea, no matter how simple, could spark another better idea.  That idea might evolve into something completely different and better still.  The sketching process is the experimentation phase where there is no risk of failing. When we set about to create something, whether it is for fun or for work, at some point we have an idea in our head of what it is we want to create.  For many artists, the process of realizing the idea we have in its final format can be a tedious one that demands a good deal of time.  That idea can be very expensive to finalize for a client.  Wouldn't it be a good idea to invest just a little time making sure it is the right idea before investing countless hours in it? How Do I Manage Time for Sketching on My Projects? There’s no easy answer to this question.  There are only so many hours in a day.  What we can tell you is that with good time management, sketching can be fit into virtually any production schedule.  What will help is if you set a deadline and make a goal when it comes to the number of sketches you want to generate.  Even if it’s only an hour or two, often times this is enough to break through the barrier between the fluffy expected solutions to the problem and the truly great ones. 1308_MASTER What Challenges Should I Expect When Starting to Sketch? Many people struggle to get past what they perceive as the “quality” of their sketches.  They spend a little time putting ideas down on paper and then they begin to evaluate their drawing ability, not necessarily the ideas they are trying to communicate.  The outcome we expect from a sketching session shouldn't be one that would make our high school art teacher proud.  As a matter of fact, if you spend too much time on a sketch, then you run the risk of other valuable ideas never making it to the paper in the time you have allocated.  Try not to be discouraged by your sketches rather look to find inspiration and direction in them. What Tools Do I Need to Sketch? To effectively sketch for your projects, you don't need any fancy software or hardware.  All you need is a simple pencil and a piece of paper.  Does this mean that you can't sketch digitally?  Absolutely not.  There are an excess of truly amazing applications out there that can be used for sketching on all platforms including mobile devices. There can be something magical about working with traditional tools when sketching though - there is nothing quite like the feel of a pencil on paper.  It can also help keep you grounded as digital artists, remembering where you came from. 237_CourseRender With the level of competition rising across the board for creative jobs, artists are looking to find that edge wherever they can.  Hopefully you can see how adding sketching to your process can improve the quality of your work.  Give it a shot and you won't regret it.  If you'd like to learn more about sketching, make sure you check out our Beginner's Guide to Concept Sketching tutorial.