A trick for artists and designers to beat the blank page

Hello guys! It’s raining.

I stay home and I’m in the mood to sketch something.
But what could I sketch?

I don’t know what to sketch, and I’m facing my blank page on the screen.

Blank page on sketchbook pro drawing with wacom cintiq question

Are you facing the blank page syndrome?

How to beat the Blank page syndrome?

For years,
I thought copying was Cheating.

“Cheating is bad.” I told myself.

I would feel guilty to use someone else’s
drawing to inspire me.

As a kid I loved copying my favorite cartoons
(Dragon Ball Z, Super Mario, Ninja Turtles…).

When I wanted to create something new:
“No! It had to be 100% from me.”

For “pure creation” I would not need any reference picture!
I was so wrong hehe.

I think it was mostly a matter of ego.
(a big ego for someone who had no experience)

I wanted to come up with something 100% new from zero.
So I would have 100% of the merits.

What happened?
My page remained blank.

My head had some crickets
playing music inside.

If you too raise some musical crickets in your mind,
you sabotage yourself.

Open yourself, be humble,
and start copying other artists / designers and products around you.

Ergotron for wacom tablet inspired artificial arm drawing blank page product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac a

Drawing something new using existing object for reference

Ergotron for wacom tablet product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac

My Ergotron arm

Copy to learn Product Design Sketching

Don’t worry, that’s a normal thing many beginners face.

At school, copying your classmate was wrong.
So a little voice in our head paralyzes us from drawing.

If you want to become a great designer,
you have to incorporate copying in your creative process.

That is compulsory.

So only you will raise your level!
If you love sneakers, car, coffee machine design, draw them, copy them!

Why?

Because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Accept it as your LEARNING PROCESS.
No one is born a genius.

Copy others so you can one day deploy your own wings and create your own!

A trick to kickstart your drawing

Let me share with you one of my creative techniques to overcome the Blank page syndrome.

TIP: Find existing products to draw in your house.

Start drawing and let inspiration come along the way.
You don’t have to picture 100% what you want before starting.

Your objective is to create new forms using your product as a starting point.

Feel free to practice with your digital tablet or on paper. Both are fine.

Basically here, I saw my Ergotron arm that holds my Wacom Cintiq tablet.
And use it to produce some new forms.

You may recognize the Ergotron logo, the axis,
the plastic cap, some mechanical features.

Ergotron for wacom tablet inspired artificial arm drawing blank page product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac

Drawing something new inspired from my Ergotrom arm for my Wacom Cintiq 22HD

Mix your inspirations

The Ergotron arm for my Wacom Cintiq is a very cool product.
It is mechanical, and inspire me some cyborgs like Terminator T-800.

You can mix up the real reference, with some you have in your memory. 
Think of them, and they will “diffuse” unconsciously in your lines.

terminator t-800

Terminator T-800

“Creativity is organic”, alive!
Copy someone’s creation, modify it, transform it, mix it.
And you’ll create something new.

Then someone else will copy you, modify, transform… and so on.
Don’t let the feeling of “cheating” become a major handicap for you.

I love Celia Calle’s artworks.
She’s an amazing Illustrator.
Her fluid lines have inspired my product design sketching style.

callia Calle drawing style dynamic sketches

Celia Calle’s Illustration

Another example:
If you wanna become a remarkable chef,
you will learn the basics, observe other chefs, practice…
copy hundreds of recipes.

Then with your talent, you will add in your personal touch.
A simple touch, even 10% could reinvent the whole experience.

To conclude,

  • Love people’s work.
  • Study them.
  • Learn from them.
  • And create your own style by mixing your influences.

So you will create your own “Creative universe”.

Cheers,
Chou-Tac

PS: Don’t get me wrong,
copy is a learning booster and necessity.

However, remember to credit if you decide
to publish something that is 100% copy.

When I was a student,
a classmate copied a sneaker design I published
on www.coroflot.com.
(A website where artists and designers publish
their portfolio to find an internship or job)

We went to the same interview for Adidas Innovation.
The recruiter saw the similarities,
and it became quite a serious problem for him and I too…

He copied something he really liked to practice
his sketching and Photoshop skills.
By chance, my classmate recognized his fault.

PPS: If you wanna see more about the Ergotron arm
I use it for supporting my Wacom Cintiq 22HD.
It allows me to use it in any position
as a second screen, or a drawing tablet.

Ergotron for wacom tablet product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac standing position

Standing position

Ergotron for wacom tablet product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac drawing position

Drawing position

Ergotron for wacom tablet product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac

Back view

Ergotron for wacom tablet product design sketching techniques The Design Sketchbook Chung Chou-Tac fixature on screen

A fixture on Wacom screen tablet

PPPS: If you want to know more about my
IKEA “office desk” installation for Wacom Tablet.

ikeashoppingforwacomcintiq22desk

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About The Author

Chou-Tac

Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. 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 to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com : )

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