Too many students “hide” their poor sketching skills behind learning 3d software.

They want to impress with a portfolio full of quality pictures.
Some will suceed. But too often the porfolio ends poor in ideas…


Today, let me show you why as an aspiring Product designer,
you should NOT rely 100% on computer if you want to succeed in the long run.

If you are ok, let me share with you my personal experience
taken from my first internship in Product design.

I was at my 3rd year of design school.
I succeed to join one of the top company
a product design student would dream of joining in Paris.

The company was in a human size, talented and so friendly!
It was previously called ABSOLUT REALITY (today: BETC Design).

They are driven by a big group called: BETC EURO RSCG.
One of the major group of communication in Europe such as TBWA or Publicis.

internship goal skills knowledge mentoring practice opposrtunity training.png

At that time, the whole design team fit in a 40m2 design studio.
The marketing team was in the floor above.

We were 3 interns, and they took well care of us.
They train us on how to think, and encouraged us to multiply our ideas.

I remember their nice collection of design books in their shelves to indpire us. : )


I remember before meeting them for the internship interview,
I did research on their website.

They had so many famous clients
in their portfolio, from electronics, transportation to food packaging…

Working for a design agency
allows you to create for so much variety of projects!

I could see their amazing work made with Illustrator, Photoshop
or 3d softwares such as Rhino or 3Dsmax.

I was literally impressed!
The whole team knew how to make quality finished visuals.


One day, we didn’t have much work.
They taught me their techniques using Illustrator.

I remember “Violet”. (His nickname because he often wears a purple pant)
One of my mentor congratulated me because I was willing to learn.

But, they wanted us to understand that pretty pictures
made with softwares are the top of the iceberg.

90% of the time we were using piece of paper and hand sketching only.

The time allocated for rendering
came only at the 10% of the final stage of the project.

It was like the cherry on the cake
to get the Wow and last validation from the client.


To reach that stage,
we had to go through 2 to 3 phase of proposals first.

If everything went right till that stage, the final one would be only a formality.

If you want to learn more in details about these phases:
The 5 phases to present your project to your design company

As an intern I was honoured to be fully part of the project.
So I also had to present my ideas like any other senior designers.

It was intimidating, but I had so much fun!

They made me feel love being an intern designer.

Not because of any talent in softwares.
But for listening to my ideas and stories for the design project.

Remember, a designer is a story teller.

Even though my sketching skills were still very clumsy,
I had to present my ideas with my beginner sketches…

I felt a bit shame of them at start.
But I realised the team was comprehensive and were very encouraging.

I had a trick though.

My sketches didn’t show precisely the products. But a story.

I was drawing people in a scene like a comic thumbnail.
(Plus I added happy face expression on them.)

Because it was all about sketching,
I could explore my ideas fast.
And I did draw so many!

I really enjoyed that!
Creating ideas the whole day drawing with my pen. 🙂


Oh! What was the project about ?
You may wonder : P

We were asked to create an ephemere selling corner
for a Famous brand of Chocolate: Fererro Rocher
for a special display in megamarket for Christmas.

So we could promote the chocolate and attract
a maximum of people to enjoy their buying experience.

You know what?
Among all designers, my creative proposal was chosen by the client!

The chocolate has a luxury feel.
So I thought about presenting them like an Art gallery
And present each chocolate box like a piece of art.

Few months later, with the amazing support of the team,
my idea came into life in major supermarket of France! 😀


I hope you can feel the benefit of sketching.
It is intimately linked to productivity and creativity.

It allows you to be highly creative even with a tight deadline.

If I were using 2D or 3D sofwares to make pretty pictures from start,
I would have to time to make 1 or 2 proposals only.


And what if they were both rejected?

I would have lost a full week,
and became frustrated. (The client as well)

Motivation would be low,
and I wouldn’t carry on with a good energy and full creative potential…

Remember that when your client see your sketch,
it creates doors for him to imagine your idea evolve!

So you guys cocreate the project together.



So remember that jumping too early into softwares might put you in “creative danger”. 

So Sketch!! Create a maximum of ideas
to explore possibilities that will impress your colleagues and client!

But most important make the final user happy!
That is the best satisfaction you could have.


PS: Do you have your own internship story?

Tell me in the comment below or send me an email at : )


1 comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *