Author: Jeff Herring, Technical Specialist

November 18, 2015

Sketching is as old as rocks and cave men. We all start sketching as small children with a fist full of crayons. It can be as simple as scratching out a line in the sand with a stick, drawing stick figures, or a quick set of directions on the back of a napkin. Or, it can be as complex as you can imagine defining multi-dimensional shapes, concepts, and even feelings. Sketching can be done on virtually any medium, from dirt to white boards, or even the back of envelopes to electronic mark-ups. All are sketches that convey information from one person to another.


Sketching is similar to singing, playing an instrument, or painting. It is natural to all of us. Everyone can do it, but it is an art form that must be practiced and cultivated to be good or great at it.  It is simply a manually-made graphic representation of an idea. The sketch could be static and once finished, used or distributed to many. It could be the living medium used by the sketcher while telling a story. The sketcher can lead a group or act as a scribe during a brainstorming session. Sometimes we even sketch together as concepts and or ideas are discussed or debated.


In our formal working life of formatted electronic documents, CAD drawings, and three dimensional models, precise to six decimal places, we sometimes get bogged down in the details and tools used. Sketching, free of these encumbrances, allows us to think more quickly, communicate with others faster, and bring an idea to fruition sooner. It allows us to simply figure things out. Another sketching advantage is telling a story with “live” sketching, in which the sketching matures as the story is told. We live and work in a world of communication. Keep practicing and use sketching in every facet of your life.