Sketchy Ideas Are Good

Sketchbooks make better thinkers
Remember when you were a kid and you drew all over everything? Walls, furniture, people, pets…Well, just because it isn’t cool to cover the walls in permanent marker anymore doesn’t mean you should abandon your art career altogether. Even if nobody ever sees your ‘masterpieces’, the practice can keep your eyes and design skills sharp, as well as record those bright ideas when they hit.

Have Sketchbook, Will Travel

Buy yourself a sketchpad and a couple of pencils or pens…whatever is your medium of choice, and keep them in the car or next to your desk – and get in the habit of using them! Sure, there are millions of apps and note-taking devices for your phone, laptop, iPad, etc…but there is something visceral about the act of scraping a pen across paper that makes it more fun. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but for me, writing and drawing will never be replaced by voice recorders or tablets and other digital doodling devices. They even have pens that record audio…talk about redundant technology! The simple sketchbook will go anywhere, travel well and doesn’t require batteries. You don’t even have to turn it off on a plane.

What if I Suck At Drawing?

Most kids love to draw—that is why crayons are marketed to them—they have no inhibitions about drawing or painting and just dive into it, without fear. Adults can learn a lot from this, as we tend to ‘grow out’ of art, which is a shame. There are hardly any efforts made to market the practice of art to adults, and when asked to draw something most adults just shy away “Oh I can’t draw at all!” There are plenty of great drawing books on the subject, which are targeted specifically at people who left drawing behind in their younger days, or stopped at lollipop trees and stick figures.

All in the Eyes

If there is any one ‘secret’ to sketching or drawing well, it’s the fact that the skill is more about ‘seeing’, not penmanship. It has been said that if you can write your name neatly, you probably have the technical skill to draw. It has to do with how you observe shapes and spatial relationships, as well as light and dark values. Other than that, it’s practice. Learning ‘How to see’ is the real secret. And it won’t just help your sketching ability—it can make you a better conceptual thinker, designer, and generally more creative. How? Because the act of drawing engages the senses in a way that most people don’t experience in day-to-day life. It forces us to think in dimensional, spatial, aesthetic ways—concepts that have been shelved for most adults, but usually nurtured in children.

Just Let It Fly

So grab a sketchbook and a scribbling device and see what happens! Most importantly, don’t be self-conscious or timid about what you create – just let it fly and have fun with it.