Sketch more being more creative in the subway |TIP115


Time is precious and no one can stretch it.
How about converting your transportation time to a productive session ?

I remember after class, I was drawing in the subway going home.
And my classmate asked me:
– Hey you never stop drawing ?
– Humm yeah I do… ?!

That question surprised me because it occurred natural to me to draw even if we just left the class. I didn’t do it because I had to, but because I wanted to.

01- Get excited!Jordanhill School D&T Dept
Preliminary sketches – Jordanhill School D&T Dept

Receiving homework in a Design School is a pretty different feel from the one you get during High school (from your math, or physics classes for example). Having a new Design project is like when a friend explains you the rules of a new game! You get excited by it – and want to start playing now like a child. Human can accomplish serious things, yet having fun. I guess that’s why we love so much Design. 

Play the game, take the challenge with excitement and you’ll produce hundred more ideas per day. Remember that a designer is driven by emotion. 

Emotion =

E + Motion = Energy + Motion = There is motion only with Energy.

When you start to assimilate the rules from the brief and already perceive some creative direction – “you are hooked” ! Your brain got warm up, but soon the class end and it’s time to go home. Keep this momentum of energy.

02- Sketch in the subway !

Student thinking subway MrVudoo
Student thinking in the subway – Mr Vudoo

If you take the bus or the subway to go home, start your homework! Don’t wait to reach home to relax, to have dinner and so on… You may have to restart gaining your momentum.

  1. On the way to the subway, you can start with a mental brainstorming.
  2. When you get in the subway, try to get a sit. Place your art portfolio on your knees, and use it as a “desk”.
  3. Now you can start. Write down and doodle all your ideas that you’ve just gathered. Remember, no pencil, no eraser. It doesn’t matter if your doodle are ugly as long as you can refer to them later. Just drop as many ideas as you can. Each time you take too long at sketching neatly a doodle, you lose opportunities to produce more ideas.
  4. I know that the subject given is still fresh and you don’t master the subject yet. It doesn’t matter. Carry on and continue to fix your ideas on paper. You will learn how to trust your instinct.
  5. Warning: Make sure you don’t miss your stop ! (It happened to me a couple of time.)
  6. After that some of you may get impatient to reach home to verify, confirm, dig further there first impressions. If you do well, you may reach 60 to 70% of your research within the first day ! You will have 6 more days till you next class to elaborate the details and give a better form to your ideas.

Count how long is your transportation journey and multiply it per week, month, year. You may be surprised.

Bonus: Study Zen

zen green tea robert s donovan
Release your stress starting your research at Day-1. Picture from Robert S. Donovan – Zen

The above technique is a good way to release some stress.
From day-1, you already know that:

  • you got enough substance to start the project with confidence.
  • you will get more free time to work on your sketching skills.

If you too use some tricks to save time and get more productive. Share with us in the comment below.

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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.

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