I just graduated from school with a BFA in Industrial Design.

Here’s my dilemma: I know I’m not the best designer per se, but I wouldn’t say I’m completely pathetic.

I’ve been searching for a job for several weeks now and a few companies have asked to see more samples of my work, sketches, and process. I lack skills in the sketching department (I know… I know…). I’ve been drawing every day to try and improve but I know I can’t improve dramatically overnight.

Does anyone have any tips? I don’t want to abandon design, but I feel that without killer sketching or modeling skills that I’ll be without a job.

I eventually want to be an art director but I know that will be quite some time away.

Any input would be great (unless its just to give up which I’m not interested in…)


no matter how good you are there is always someone better.


I’ve been drawing every day to try and improve but I know I can’t improve dramatically overnight.


What were you doing during the 4+ years you were in school? It’s a little late in the game for you to suddenly realize you need to learn how to draw don’t you think?

start small and work your way up.

My first job…a summer placement…I did technical drawings for the company’s patent applications, after I said I would work for free and just want something to put on my CV.

They also said…since I’m a undergrad designer…to do some concept designs on how I would do it. They didn’t take on my designs, but I got paid for the techy’s I did…then 6 months later they asked me back to do bluetooth headset concepts. Except I was to busy at uni, shame really sounded like a nice project.

make sure your sketches show communication and progress. they don’t have to be pretty. if you need a lot of callouts, you’re not getting the point across. practice, look for a style you like and develop your own. play to your strengths, associate them with your weaknesses.

^^^ That is a friggin’ great piece of advice right there. I wish I could have put it so well.

That is so true - one of the best shoe designers I know is a hopeless artist, and would present the tattiest sketches. But her explaination of everything and her ability to get great samples out of the factory made up for it and she sold shoes, boy did she sell shoes.

Perhaps look more into drafting or technical drawing if you are having a hard time with sketching. You can communicate your idea through with more exacting rules, less freedom, but also less pressure to draw flashy (and complicated) perspectives and flourishes.

In any case, don’t get discouraged by your inability to draw. It is completely learn-able, take a course if it’s too hard for you, and keep drawing in your free time. “Overnight” might be a little too quickly, but don’t worry about learning it quick, just worry about learning it right, it shouldn’t take you too long (only a couple months) and you’ll be back in there. :slight_smile:

It’s probably gonna take several months not weeks. Don’t get overly discouraged. I spent 6 months looking after I graduated in 2004. I’m “on the market again” now, and I’ve been putting serious effort into finding a new job for the past 6 months with no luck yet. Thank God I’ve got an ID job right now to keep me going at least.

I’d also have to say that you need to try as many different methods as possible to get yourself out there. ID doesn’t seem to have a huge job market. I’m sure of course that you’re watching the coroflot listings and sending out to those, but put some time into sending out general resumes, and try networking at IDSA events or tradeshows.

It’s easy to get discouraged and start thinking this way. If you made it through 4 years of school and spent did an all nighter or two a week, survived a half dozen serious file crashes during rendering, and sanded bondo or spray painted stuff on your apartment balcony at 3 am, I’m sure you have some merit as a designer unless you school isn’t being strict enough. I think ID is really a passion driven career field, and if you aren’t passionate about it, you’re gonna find an easier path.

I’ve kinda beat myself up about my skills at times in the past too, but as much as I’ve doubted myself at times I’ve gotten some good feedback on my work. I feel I’m a little bit lacking sketching too, but I am confident in my 3D design and modeling skills.

Q. Are you only showing renderings/models in your portfolio? It could be that they really want to see how you get to ideas. That is, how your brain works. How you connect the dots between hunch to idea to concept to design- and that you have managed to concoct way to do it quickly.

Don’t be afraid to show that, and also don’t worry about sketching skills. It’s not a deal killer.

About the finding the job thing- are you cold-calling (phone-email, hell, even skype). You would be surprised how effective it can be to find a starter job. And there seems to be almost none of it anymore.

Thanks for everyones input.

I have extensive process books for my projects that I show in my portfolio. I’ve always been complimented on my process.

When I’ve been emailing potential employers with my resume and cover letter I have included a link to my blog where I documented my last project. It included visual documentation of my process (sketches, mock-ups, trends, research, etc.) as well as why I chose the direction of what I was doing at the time.

I’ve sent my process books on CD to a couple of employers and they all really enjoyed them.

But I have no “internship” experience and my sketching skills aren’t super stellar.

I will definitely take the advice given. I have a couple of companies I’m talking to now. I will get my foot in the door somehow…

??? Lets see the goods. :wink:

I messaged you with the links yo!

there’s the rub.

i can’t stress enough how important an internship is. beg borrow or steal, it’s worth it to have it on your resume. i don’t care if you keep the blue dress with the stain on it, this experience is like having opposable digits in the darwinistic job search after graduation.

Well… I’m still have hopes. I have had three interviews so far - one phone (in which we had 2 phone interviews), one in person for a freelance position, and another in person for a job. The last one seems the most interested in me and I’m meeting the “owner” on Saturday.

I also have a company flying me to them next week!

There’s still hope for me…

Hey, I’m in the same shoes, with no experience, so if you don’t mind me asking, how many companies have you approached so far from the 3 you have been interviewed…?

I’ve had two other companies approach me - I turned one down as it was an internship. (and their future hiring practices didn’t really work in my favor)

I also had another company demand my salary requirements up front. I never heard anything back from them :slight_smile:

I’ve had a dozen or so replies back (most were very general) thanks, but we aren’t gonna pursue you anymore.