73 Things you asked about Design sketching | Part 1 (+ New upcoming Creative program 2017)

Learn how to make greater design and eye-catching sketches joining me on Facebook LIVE! on Wednesday 1st February 2017.
Click here to get your Free invitation: https://facebook.com/events/1184847524963001

Hi guys,

I hope you had a great day ! Here in Asia, it feels like Chinese New Year already. So everybody is happy and in a good mood the meet relatives. 🙂
I have prepared for you 73 little secrets (we’ start with 36 today, the rest tomorrow!) in response to your questions from the previous survey about our Upcoming New Creative Project 2017 !! But first, let me tell you a bit more about how it will help you making progress much faster and enjoy sketching daily.
If you are like me when I started, you may feel pretty lonely at learning how to sketch. Sketching is not something taught at a “regular” school. You may have no friends who share the same passion as you. Your parents and teacher encourage you, but whenever you have a question, you have nobody to ask for help, neither anyone to ask for quality feedbacks. : / That’s how I started too.
This is why I decided to prepare for you guys a “New Creative Program 2017” that I am launching very soon. It will be a cosy place where I can take care of you guys giving you design sketching courses and follow up your progress. I also want to gather a Community of Passionate as it’s always more fun to learn in a group of motivated people! Basically, it means that you won’t have to learn alone anymore very soon! We will all cheer up each other and progress much faster!! Yahoo!!

To celebrate the Launch of this new program that I called: “BRING YOU SKETCH ALIVE! The private club for designers.” I will organize a Facebook Live with our first “The Design Sketchbook Show!!” in less than 2 weeks. 

Here is a quick preview of the program:


“BRING YOUR SKETCH ALIVE!” Creative program will be released in February 2017!!

Make sure to be there, I will give you a lot of content so you can do greater sketches at the end of this Live. You will be able to ask me anything, your questions, your doubts all in Live! I will be always happy to help you.
For now, all I can say is that you can note in your agenda: Wednesday 1st February 2017 for the moment. It will be most probably at this day. I’ll let you know soon on the exact timing. Make sure to register to the blog to get the information on time.

Few days ago, I have send you a little survey to help me build the Creative Program 2017. One of the question was: ASK ME ANYTHING!

Today, I publish the answers in the blog so all of you can benefit of other people’s questions. Here we go ! Here is a selection of 73 things you asked me about Design Sketching! Part 1.

Let’s start!

1. Luke, 17 from London: Whats the hardest part about designing a new product?

The most common mistake we see from beginners is: They stick to the first idea or first sketch that looks cool.

I remember the time when I felt lost in front of my blank page. I made a sketch that looks awesome or at least good enough, and I tend to like it a lot (too much). I unconsciously hoped and convinced myself that idea was THE NUMBER ONE IDEA! So I spent hours trying to devlopp it without considering any others. And sometime even though it drove nowhere, I became stubborn and even rejected feedbacks. If you face that situation, know when you need to put an idea aside and move on.

My recommendation is: Don’t rush for your first ideas, they are just the starting point. Make sure you devlopp multiple axis of research as you will discover even more awesome proposals on the way! You would be surprised how much more creative you can be when you get out of your comfort zone.
TIP: To expand your creativity, remember to use the techniques of:
What if ? And be provocative. Always create with the users in mind. Propose various stories and scenarios of life. That’s how your sketches will have a meaning and will give Life to your imagination.
To know more:
– TIP 78: Ask yourself “What if” to explore new ideas
 Edward Eyth interview:” The whole process can be reduced toone fundamental question: “What if?”

2. Pat, 26 from USA, aspiring designer: Digital art vs conventional sketching… What is your opinion on the differences and advantages of both?

To me, both are essential for the design industry, and the trend goes like that:
Conventional sketching is a no brainer. It’s fast, easy, convenient. It’s great for expressing ideas on the spot and making research.
Digital sketching is awesome for presentation purpose where you can give great rendering to your sketches. Photoshop and Illustrator allows you to test and modify coulours and textures fast.
A common practice is to sketch on paper, scan, and render on computer.
Once again, this is a trend. Feel free to explore other ways. Like the day I tried to mix watercolour with product design sketch. Take what’s happenned in the industry as a guideline, and feel free to explore other ways too – so you may create your own style.

3. Shubham, 24 from India: What’s your biggest strengths and weaknesses when it comes to Design?

My strengh?
I guess creating stories. This is where I feel the most of fun at sketching them. At this stage, you may not even draw the product itself, but thumbnails of people using it. If you don’t  know how to draw people, it doesn’t matter. Drawing stickmen will do at early stage.
TIP: For presentation purpose, you can cheat taking picture of yourself in situation and use them as underlay.

My weakness? 
Know when to stop making research on time so I could get a comfortable timeframe for rendering, and not feeling rush before the deadline (so I could get a proper night of sleep before the presentation day). I often went to school present my project without sleeping the previous night. Ohoh.
TIP: That was a prety much “bad habit” as I tend to put aside my personal life for work. But if you want to perform long term, you got to find a good balance.
Here is an extra point. Good working/life balance to me DOES NOT means half/half each. As this equal to average intensity for both.
The good balance would be identifying time when you put all your heart for your work, and some others for your personal life, your family. That’s how you can always live with full intensity! If you are student in a design school, make sure your girl friend and parents are aware of the amount of work you need. On you side, make sure you spend quality time with them. 🙂

4. Abhishek Sunny Pingua, 22 from India: Can I become an automotive designer without going to design school by self learning and taking online courses?

Basically, a portfolio matters more than a degree. So yes it’s possible – However, with or without online course you will need a mentor to get result faster.
It all depends of what you will be able to produce and how much creative you can show. To me, I would still recommend you to join a design school as the environement will help you reach your goal and get sensitive to innovation and users.
The biggest mistake you would do is to be able to design cars only using actual references. You are more than a great sketcher, but a designer. Make sure to show disruptive innovation. Something that is totally new and/or relevant to our upcoming future.

5. Jayant: How much do you draw each day?

It’s one of the most common question I receive from my students and my friends. They actually meant: How many hours per day is needed to get results ? What I am tempted to say is that more you draw, better your level will rise. With good guidance and practice of sketching fundamentals, that will be your logic path.

To define how many hours is needed ? Ask yourself: how much eager are you to learn how to draw ? Then you will find the answer in your heart. If I draw 10, and you feel you wanna draw 20, please go ahead ! Drawing is a lifestyle. Draw without counting the hours ! 

To know more:
The “10.000 hours of practice” under fire.

6. David Doodley, 32 English, live in France | Footwear designer: I’d like to be as fast and accurate as possible, what is the best approach?

Stop looking for perfection.
Practice drawing with fluidity without fear of mistake. Look for gaining precision along the way. How ? Start with a light pen pressure and iterate with bolder one. Your lines and curves will get more accurate and soon with practice. Soon, you will need lesser lines to draw and your sketches will get a more minimalistic and clean look. 🙂
+ Make sure to practice your sketching fundamentals in parrallel.

To know more:
– TIP 97: How to improve your quality of lines

7. Adrian Baranek, 24,germany I am a design student in Schwäbischgmünd: Will the designsketchbook show open to all ?

Yes! The Design Sketchbook Show will be open to all. However, I will introduce you to a new membership design program where I will be able to follow up you guys progress! 🙂

8. Abhishek Neogi, 20 years old, India: Hmmm… How are you and how was your day? 🙂

Haha thanks Abhishek for asking. Abhishek is one of my student.
I am fine, thank you! And happy taking the day to answer you guys hoping it will be helpful.

9. Seher, 22 from Denmark | Student in Engineering in Integrated design: Can you show us/me the level where you start drawing? And how do you draw now? 😀

Yes of course, I invite you to see more at this article: How I started design sketching, and kept motivated?
My drawings was flat like a pancake. But I did not deseperate and learned that people who succeed in my school are no better than any of us. They started from zero as well.

10. Rahul Soni, 20 from India | Footwear designer: How can I sketch the shoe in different -different perspectives.

Train at drawing the last first (The last is a standard shape of a foot). So you can draw your design on top of it. Make sure you draw the last seeing it in transparency.

11. Valentina, Im 20, I live im Chile and I study design.: Any plan of making a book in the future?

I am thinking about it more and more!

12. André, 38 years, from Brazil | Product designer: Tell me about yout professional experience until now

I started design later than most of students and I was graduated at 27. Since, I love travelling where I worked for Adidas in Germany, Daihatsu in Japan (internship) but also a local company in Singapore and China. Design is to me a universal language that has no geographical barrier. I invite you to read more about my design background here. 🙂

13. Murray, 29 | Industrial Deisgn student
How important is traditional sketching to modern Industrial design?

It has always been important, and will still be forever. There is no faster way to express ideas than handsketching. You don’t have to see traditional sketching opposing to Modern Industrial design. They are complimentary. If there is one thing the world will need forever, is your ability to sketch.

14. Kiran I am 22yrs old | Product design student: Can you give me any references where I could learn more basics in sketching

The book Sketching the basics, 2nd edition from Koos Eissen is great!

15. Borne’ Sanders, 23: How to stay focused?

I would say cutting distraction from social media is a great start.
There is a technique called POMODORO. It’s about doing more in lesser time. Basically, use the egg timer for cooking eggs. Set up the time to 20, 30, 50minutes. Up to you. Then stick to your task, and try to produce as much as you can till the Pomodoro ring. Take a 15 minutes break. Rest the timer and start an other session!

16. Erick Beebe, 59, USA | from IT and in love with Concept art: I like the program you’re currently running. Will the new one build on that?

Yes, they are complimentary. 🙂

17. Chris, 34 Trinidad | From IT: How to draw dynamic poses?

You gotta focus on the line of action of your characters. Use it as a guideline to draw the poses. Don’t hesitate to exagerate like how the cartoonist do!

To know more:
– TIP 1: Sketch the world! (Showing dynamic football player poses)

18. Optimus 19 Spain, Student: Would it be possible to have a web’s spanish version?

Maybe one day I will translate the whole blog in Spanish. But it’s not yet planned for now. There is already a Spanish version of the Designer Starter Kit. I send it to whom registered to the blog and request for it. 🙂

19. Name is NAVED, 24 year old from India. In love with animation.
What should I do to be out of the crowd ???? I really want to develop my sketching skills.

Start by copying artist you love. Study your sketching fundamental in parrallel. With the mixes of influence, and self-exploration, you will create your own style. Look for expressive way to convey your ideas through sketching.
To know more: TIP 133: How to devlopp your own style? 

20. Nickolas Teixeira from London | Product design student
Would you ever consider giving feedback sessions? For people who are struggling and maybe gives advice to them where they need to focus and improve.

Yes I do ! I also think feedback are essential to progress.
I have an online course called Sketch like the Pros where I give one-to-one follow up to my student. The registration are now closed as the course is now ongoing. However, I am now preparing a new course where there will be a community of passionate who can give feedbacks and cheer up each other! I will be there to give you online courses, tasks, challenges and be there to follow up your progress. : )

21. Josh, 29, US. writer in tabletop games and in love with Concept art
I’m having trouble doing consistent lineweight. If I have a product with two or three connected pieces in Perspective, how do I know what to make thick and thin?

Here is a good introduction to line-weight: How to get your sketches convince your audience?
I may talk about this topic during the upcoming Design Sketchbook Show!

The best trick for that is to think of wireframes. You will build your surface like a 3D software. A tip is to think of a cloth with a grid pattern that would fall on your object.

23. My name is Kevser and I’m a product design student in Turkey
How can I do better projects at school?

Your school is going to emphasize on creativity more than your sketcheing skills. So you got to be creative to fill their expectation, but also self learning your sketching skills to be able to convey your ideas with impact.
If you are just starting, I recommend you to go through the Ugly doodles technique.
Start ugly to drop down your ideas, and refine your sketches along the way.

24. Lidia – 51yrs – Australian – Senior business analyst (IT): How do you motivate yourself to practice sketching when you’re tired and don’t feel like sketching?

Always remember WHY are you doing it. When your WHY is powerful, the HOW does not matter much anymore, and you will croos the obstacles with passion.
TIP: Don’t think of the why for yourself only. But about your impact on others. Are you doing it for helping people ? Contribute to your country ? Make your family proud of you… ? Showing to your kids that perseverance is beautiful ? And so on.

25. Francisco Juárez, 47, Product Designer.: I believe that sometimes designers worry more about producing great sketches/drawings/renderings than on the design idea itself, what do you think?

I agree. Art & Design is also about visual performance. Best it to make sure your sketch is serving the purpose of your idea. At Adidas, you could have 10 beautiful sketches or rendering – if you had no story, your proposal would be rejected. Some companies goes for the look, others for the story. From my experience, the most innovative companies are the one that go with the story. They are also the on I admire the most.

26. Erika Reyes, 25, USA. Working part time at a learning center while I get my BID in Industrial design (I have a BA in psychology and sociology): 

Many people have told me to practice drawing from life, but I have been having a hard time being able to have things scale properly.

I will look at an object, start at one part, and end up having to make the entire thing bigger because i didn’t leave enough room or I messed up where things are supposed to go.

I thought focusing on one portion at a time what good but when I look at the end result, things aren’t correct in relation to one another.

What exercise or technique should I practice to help?

You are having a common mistake that even if you practice drawing from life for ages, you won’t grow your skill much. You have to go through the sketching fundamentals and start your sketch by simplifying object first. Draw the global shape in perspective with a light pen pressure. Then, add the details. That’s the only way you can make sure drawing with good proportion.
To know more: TIP 162: Wanna get cool sketches? Do not start with details.

27. Shira Macedo, 24 years old and I live in Caracas, Venezuela. At the moment I’m studying industrial design currently in the 2nd year.
For me has been really difficult learn to draw, because my lines are too rusty. I wanted to ask you, how can I get better in that area?

You gotta draw using the ghost drawing. It means simulating the movement of your line, curve or circle before drawing them. You have all the details in the Designer Starter Kit!

28. Nico Weber, 18, Germany and I’m a student.
When did people first contact you about a design-job?

When I was student, we had to do internship from the 3rd year. However we had to present our portfolio early during our 2nd year of school. This is when we start having opportunities with the “real world”. The school did put us in contact with companies, so we could be interviewed. We was in fair competition with our classmates. The most interesting profiles had the chance to to interviewd by the most interesting companies. We was not judge on our project marks – but on our portfolio, motivation and interest.

29. Emmanuel Ojo,16+yrs,Nigeria I’m currently a student in high school
Do you live in Malaysia? 🙂 and how can I overcome procrastinating when it comes to practicing

I am travelling in Asia, but also go back to France when I can.
About fighting procratisnation, I would recommend you to think about: What is your compelling Goal? Feel free to write it down, and stick somewhere visible so it will remind you WHY you are practicing to get better than yesterday.
To know more: Tip 147: How to keep motivated having poor results and avoid procrastination

30. Esra, 35 from Turkey – Industrial and User Experience Designer: Am I late to learn good sketching? Can really everybody sketch good?

Of course you can. There is no age for sketching. If I am not wrong, your body does not have to be flexible as a ballernia dancer :P. Seriously, with proper guidance and support everybody can learn. To me, learning how to sketch is technically easier than learning a new language.

31. Mikael Nielsen, age 45, Denmark, Industrial designer: Do you have more guide then the first 1-4?

Maybe one day I will. For now, I focus on creating content and video tutorial for the blog but also the new Creative project 2017.

32. Stephany, 24, Industrial design student: How did you become an industrial designer? Is there a way to learn the matter needed without having a bachelor degree?

I attended a design school for 5 years, and push for multiplying experiences such as applying for an extra internship, but also an extra exchange student in US studying in a fashion school instead of taking my summer holidays. Just saying that even if there is rules, you can bend them to do more and learn more. Show your motivation and you will find people who will support you.

If you don’t want to get a degree, I  highly recommend you to meet designers so you can make sure you are on track. As soon as you can, try to negotiate internship or even work for free. Your objective won’t make money, but learning. So that’s totally fair. You work for free, they take care of you. That’s how you will start building your portfolio.

 33. Ken Moyer, 40 from USA. Graduate Industrial Design Student: How do you get confident and proficient at speed sketching a product?

You can look at David Doodley, at the 6th question.

34. Saptarshi Sarkar,23, from India. A mechanical engineering student by education and a design enthusiast by passion: How should I plan my design exercise routine ?

Start with learning the basics and sketch anything simple that are related to it. Continue trying to draw them from different angles.
TIP: Do not study alone but with someone who has higher skill than you so you can progress much faster.
I am aware of how difficult it is to find a mentor or even friends who share the same passion. This is why I am preparing a new Creative program 2017 where I will give online courses and invite the members to give feedbacks each other. I will follow up members progress in the group.

35. Vincenzo, 29yo industrial designer from Italy: What are the pens that you usually use for sketching and why?

– Black Ball point pen: That’s my main tool. I use it because it’s fast and easy to get a lot of pen pressure sensitivity. You don’t have to sharpen it, and I dont need to erase anything from my sketch. Why? Because I rather iterate on top of my drawing or draw an extra sketch than supressing my mistakes. Keeping sketching allows me to keep a great flow of ideas, and sketch much faster.
-Black Stylist:
Felt pen are also nice to use. Their lines are clean and dynamic. However note that the quality tend to decrease along the way as the nib is pretty fragile. 
– Pilot Twin marker:
This pen is super fun to draw with with fluidity. It expresses a lot of energy in your lines. Draw with the thick nib so it will “force” you to get rid of perfection.

36. Krishnanunni, 24, India: I am a final year architecture student who wishes to pursue an industrial designer career along with his my architecture practice.
It would be awesome if you could criticize our sketches or create a platform to discuss,criticize, encourage sketching with all passionate people.. Looking forward to 2017!!

Yes, all the things you said are plan in the new program “Bring your Sketch Alive” that will allow you to post your sketches and receiving feedbacks form the community and myself! 🙂

Alrighty, we have covered about half of the questions. I hope you found this Q&A session interesting. Check your email, I will publish the second part by tomorrow. If you have any question about “Bring Your Sketch Alive”, feel free to send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com or leave a comment below !

Take care.

About The Author


Hello! I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim is to help you all along with your design projects and journey! Leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com : ) Chou-Tac


  • Krishnanunni

    Reply Reply January 24, 2017

    Thank you, Mr.Chou, for replying us.
    By the way, I had my CEED aptitude exam on last sunday. I found it easy. 🙂
    Thanks to you. 🙂

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply January 24, 2017

      Congratulation Krishnanunni !! 😀

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