We often get asked 'do you need great drawing skills to become a great Designer?' and the answer almost always shocks and reassures aspiring creatives...no you don't.
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In the post, I will explore why being amazing at drawing is not essential for Graphic Designers but why rough sketching of your ideas can be invaluable. Along with some tips for getting started if like me, you are a bit shy when it comes to putting pen to paper.
Drawing Skills for Designers
You may already be great at drawing which is definitely a useful skill to have...but if you have never been a natural with a pencil in your hand not to worry!
Graphic Design is all about communication of a message or idea. Often you need to work with assets, i.e. images, typography and illustrations and use them to communicate with an audience successfully.
You are often creating layouts, packaging, poster design, web banners, and even designing websites. These projects can involve little to no drawing, but it is handy to be able to check your ideas will work before hitting the screen (so to speak).
Even when it comes to creating logos, most designers will start with 10-20 (or even 30) very rough sketches. Then choose 3x options which have a bit of promise to start hashing out in Adobe Illustrator. That's where a good knowledge of the Adobe Applications is far handier than amazing illustrative skills (for designers anyway!)
I mentioned before that sketching is a useful tool in a designers toolbox! It is all about getting ideas down on the page. The sketches don't need to look polished; they are a tool to help you establish which ideas have promise and which just are not working.
Here you can see how the designer Mahmoud Sadeghi has experimented with how simple lines and shapes fit together.
Once he can see how a logo could look. He selects the strongest designs to take into Adobe Illustrator.
Read the brief:
Before you put pencil to paper make sure you understand the task at hand and what the necessary outcomes are. If you get stuck while creating ideas refer back to the brief for help.
Do some visual research:
Take a look at how other creatives are solving a similar challenge to your own. Collect images you can use to help inspire your ideas.
Try not to over think it just start doodling whatever comes to mind and go from there. Once you get into the process it gets easier.
Get hold of the tools
If you do decide to grab an iPad check out this video to discover our favourite accessories. They will help to maximise your creativity.
Alternatively you could invest in a Wacom product they have a big range to choose from. All of their products provide a great digital drawing experience!
Watch the video below to see a review of their new Cintiq 22.
The iPad & Wacom products are a great alternative if you do not feel confident putting pen to paper.
OUR TOP TIPS:
- Practise sketching for fun and get used to it before you jump into a client project.
- Give yourself a time frame to work within (say 20 mins) this will prompt you to get started and stop you getting carried away!
- Trying using both pencil and pen then work with the option that feels best for you.
- Don't start over if you make a mistake. Remember it does not need to be perfect!
- Always be prepared to go back and sketch out ideas if none of your current ideas are working.
- Enjoy it and have fun coming up with ideas!
Developing your drawing skills
There can be a lot of cross over between Graphic Design and Illustration work. If you enjoy drawing keep at it and develop the skill. Personally I used to think I sucked at Illustration but with practise and a little encouragement I gained in confidence a developed a little style all of my own!
If you want to learn more about Illustration skills and get better at drawing/sketching check out this tutorial where Yes Founder and Adobe Certified instructor Martin reviews a character design contest which was held over on 99designs.
In this tutorial you will learn more about Character Illustration for Branding, how to read and interpret a creative brief, how to learn from other peoples design work and what goes in to creating a winning character!
Overall remember you don't need to be amazing at drawing to be an amazing designer! If you do enjoy it there is also no reason you can't hone and improve the skill to start creating your own Illustrative work.
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