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Sketching habits: No rules or rulers

Zander Whitehurst
Founder and CEO, Memorisely
3m read

Spend time away from the screen sketching

If you've followed me on Instagram you'll know I am a huge advocate of sketching. One of the great things about sketching is the imperfection of it. It's all about creativity and not abiding by any rules. It's important as a digital product designer to spend time away from the screen and invest time into ideating with pen and paper.

Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see.

By Edgar Degas

Use a thick brushed pen

Using this type of pen allows you not focus too much on detail. This might sound counter intuitive, but the thickness allows you to create an idea and forces you to not get obsessed with detail. Little details come later. Sketching is purely to get your broader idea on paper.

Micron offer a great sketching set and I recommend using their Brush nib for sketching

Put a 30s limit on your sketch

Sketches are best done when you act quickly on an idea. If you think too much on them then you lose your creative spark. Do them fast, get them out, and then iterate over and over.

No rules or rulers

Sketches are for pure ideation. There is no need for concise lines or accurate angles. Putting away your ruler allows you to focus on the idea in its imperfect state. This is where the magic happens. You developer is there for the perfection, that's their job.

Sketchbooks are great for personal development, but it's important to share your sketches

Sketchbooks are private. Sketches are not

Sketching is a personal brainstorm. But these brainstorms are no use unless shared. Get feedback over your sketch, make them public and allow your team to help you and improve.

Paper over Books

Sketchbooks can also be quite rigid. When building out an idea you don't want any boundaries.  Sketching on loose paper opens your mind and allows you to move your ideas round. You can test different flows or components. Tear the paper up, reorder it around. You can't do this in the confined space of a book.

Working with loose paper reduces expectations and give you flexibility to shift components and pages

Voice your sketch

As well as sharing sketches, present them and voice your thinking. A voice behind the picture allows your team to understand your nuances and thinking. This means they will understand the way you work and therefore your team collaboration becomes better. Loom is a great tool to record your sketches or paper prototypes

Give these tips ago. If you like them or loathe them (or even have your own ones to add), let me know!!

Zander Whitehurst
Founder and CEO, Memorisely

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