Is drawing bad is bad?

practice if you draw bad

First of all, I’m excited to announce the registration of Sketch Like The Pros’ course will reopen this month! Stay tuned for the exact date and more information!


“Is Drawing bad is Bad?” You may ask yourself.

As a beginner,
you compare your “bad sketches” to the great designers you admire.

  • Some days, their work boosts your motivation!
  • But some other days, you try, fail, and feel at the bottom of Everest mountain…
  • It’s hard to keep up motivated.

Do not confuse “incompetence” with “inexperience”.

In other words,
there is no direct correlation between your bad drawings today
and your potential to become an amazing designer tomorrow.

Any professional starts as a beginner!
If you can’t draw, it is just because no one taught you yet.

(Ask me to play the drum instrument, the earth will start shaking!
However, if I start taking lessons, I’m sure I can come up with great sounds!)


What if I tell you:
Starting from zero sketching skill” is an amazing opportunity to become highly creative?
Let me give you 3 reasons why sketching bad is a gift!


1- Create Better Designs (With People in mind)

Too many sketchers come up with amazing visuals of drawings,
but weak stories – that actually lead to poor design.

They focus on the aesthetics of their drawing instead of the user experience.

User interface vs User experience

Let me share with you 3 Creative tips
to come up with great product ideas even if you can’t sketch well yet.

TIP A. Create user experience “mini-comics”

(I remember when I was a kid I wanted to be a Storyboarder.)

One day, my Design School teacher congratulated me on my research.
Surprisingly, I didn’t draw any product!

Instead, I showed him simple stories in thumbnail size.

At that time, I didn’t know how to draw much.
So I compensated by drawing situations and scenarios with stick men.
(I actually tried to avoid making bad sketches of products.)

I asked myself these simple questions:

  • What do people need?
  • Who are they?
  • How they would use the product?
  • How do they feel? (I even added some facial expressions)

I was not interested in the look of the product.
I started by drawing a scene.
I established the context where the product would be used.

All these mini stories gave me precious data about the product features I would need.


For example,
Imagine you create for children who love hiking with their parents.
You want to create a safety and emergency kit.

  1. Instead of trying to jump on how the product would look,
    start by drawing people in action in the mountains, forests…
  2. Visualize the forest, the weather, the equipment they already use… the context.
    Imagine you are hiking with them, like them.
  3. Draw the people facing problems.
  4. Draw people using your product.
    (It doesn’t matter how the product looks.
    You can draw a stone shape instead as a temporary replacement)
  5. All these data will help you figure out the functions they need + protection, ergonomy, batteries…

It’s fun to imagine people using a product that has no form yet!

But that’s how you can create a powerful product,
with a powerful story people will remember and be willing to use.


At that stage, nobody cares about the quality of your drawings.
If you can make people understand drawing stick men, you win!

Keep learning how to draw your ideas, and your project will shine in your portfolio!


TIP B. Think Design? Think users.

A design misconception is:
“A beautiful product is an amazing product.”

Well, this is highly relative…

Young students with at least a minimum of sketching skills
tend to start any project “Rushing to the Design look”.

They try to impress!
They try to make what we call ” Pretty products” and avoid Design thinking.

That’s how they will soon face the blank page, lacking ideas.

What matters most in a design project, is not how cool is a product.
It’s how cool and relevant it is from the user’s point of view.

To generate ideas, always remember WHOM you create for.

Detective Conan

Do not hesitate to meet them in real life, and not only research on Google if you can.
A designer sometimes wears a detective cap, and he will excel if he empathizes with the users.


Anyone can learn how to sketch.
But not everyone is willing to spend the time and effort to understand people.
If you can’t sketch, and your top priority is to make a better world, you are gonna do great!

Because you will fusion: Sketching skills + Social skills.


TIP C. Don’t be tacky.

Fresh student designers will try to sketch products with the coolest functions!
They will try to add in the maximum of all the latest technologies in trends to attract attention.

But it’s a “tacky choice”.

“It’s like trying to wear all the latest expensive and branded clothes
without matching it to your personality and/or where you go.”

It becomes counterproductive to be “super performant”, or “super trendy”
but not being able to answer the real people’s issues.

  • The recipe for a successful product is not using the most expensive technologies.
    But to attach the right technologies to the right people.
  • Search for relevant solutions.
    Even if the technologies you choose are 100 years old.
    (Digging into the past culture and technologies is a great way to innovate)

Do not select technology and wonder what to do with it.
Do the opposite.
Identify a problem and select the technologies you need to solve it.


2- Love making mistakes! (Designer routine)

A designer is a problem solver.
Don’t be intimidated by making mistakes!

I have a friend who enjoy seeing me sketching.
But when I ask him if he wanna try, he freezes.

Why?

Because he focuses on the performance.
Not the fun of drawing or the ideas.

I could understand why (we all went through similar education).

  • We get punished during at school for making mistakes.
  • Mistakes were marked in RED!
    Mistakes were synonymous with DANGER!
  • We fear them.
    We are allergic to mistakes!
Punished at school

My friend avoids drawing, to avoid being judged.

You know what?
Nobody cares!

First of all, people will remember your tenacity and your progress.
They will forget your struggles.

If you give up or do not give it a chance, you lose by default.
Once again, nobody cares.
Except for yourself with regrets.

Second, in design and sketching, failing is a benediction!
Failing is part of the process! 😀

Do you do a mistake? Great time to feel gratitude.
You learned something.

This is called: Iteration.
That creative process makes your projects stronger and better.

For example, when you draw something that is not relevant, you keep it!
You don’t erase it. You never know that idea may trigger something great later.

If you can put your ego aside, and embrace mistakes
you will open the door to endless opportunities during that ideation phase.


I failed a lot. So I could succeed a lot.
Does it make sense? 🙂

During my learning journey,
I learned a lot from other people’s mistakes too.

Learning how to sketch is a cycle.
Don’t stop at the first steps: Try, fail, learn, transmit.

Today, I love to transmit what I learned.
That’s why I love sharing the common mistakes at the beginning of my tutorials.
So you could level up faster than I did.


3- Sketch thousand of ideas Fast and ugly!

When you start a project, you have to start sketching ugly!

  • A common mistake is to think we need beautiful sketches all the time!
  • But drawing well is so time-consuming that it will be counter-productive.

To be creative, you need to come up with plenty of sketches.
The best way is to use Fast sketching.

You don’t have to draw neat and clean drawings.
You can even skip perspective rules if it makes you draw faster
(as long as your sketches can be understood).

  • By drawing fast, you multiply your ideas in a record time!
  • So you can discuss them to your colleague and client for this initial stage of creation.
  • Then, eliminate fast the non-relevant or non-interesting.
  • Only after validation of some of your ideas,
    you will need to come up with better quality sketches.

Imagine spending a full day working for 1 proposal and get rejected by the client.
You would have been heartbroken.

Once again, don’t look for pretty sketches.
Look for productivity and relevancy using fast and ugly sketching.

TO LEARN MORE:
The 5 phases to present your project to your Design company.


Do you have the talent?

Do not give up if you can’t sketch.
Anyone can learn how to sketch.

What matters most is your PASSION for design.
Creative techniques and sketching techniques can be learned.

Put your dedication and you will:

  • Fuel your eagerness to sketch your ideas daily.
  • Inspire you to fill thousands of blank pages with amazing ideas and sketches!
  • Will make you feel alive helping others through your design creation.

If you believe you can make it, you will.
It is as simple as that.

Your mindset is everything.
This is why inside my course Sketch Like The Pros,
the 1st Module, aims to build your Confidence. 🙂

About The Author

Chou-Tac

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

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