Can I be a good designer without drawing well

Well, as the subject states my drawings are awful. however I’m pretty good on 3d software and I think my ideas are quite good. Will I not be able to land a good job without brilliant drawing skills?

I’m so frustrated!

Testing 123

Longer answer: Not necessarly.

I’ve landed several design-type jobs without sketches. True, they’re not the hottest jobs out there, but the pay has been ok, and I’ve not minded going to work.

It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

to be a good designer you need to communicate your ideas well to others. If you can do that with 3d software thats fine. The only issue there is time and budget. Usually cad will take longer than a sketch, and this will make you less competetive in the workplace.

Don’t sell yourself short! I haven’t seen anyone put in a real effort in drawing and NOT be able to improve. If you take the lazy way out you’ll pay down the road.

You can get better with practice. But like others have said, it’s all just about communicating the idea. I know good designers that don’t draw “well”. Perspective always off, bad lines, etc…but they get the idea across. They put down what they need to and then they direct the sketch / cad/ shop monkeys for whatever presentable format the work needs to be in. Most thinking is done with ugly sketches anyway.
Unfortunately, out of school people will be hired for their presentation (bankable) skills, not enough experience for someone to bank on your decision-making skills quite yet.
So, it’s not really necessary to be a good sketcher to be a good designer but you will most likely have to be one in order to get the opportunity to prove that you are a good designer in today’s field unless you start up your own thing and manage others.

Would you care to tell me how I can try and improve, I’ve bought books, though they tell you to draw things yo see, sort of like life drawing and the problem I have is picturing things when I have to draw them out of the blue.

Testing 123
don’t know about that second one, haven’t seen it, but looks pretty decent from the screen shots. shows what you can’t really find anywhere else.

and don’t forget the

And try Scott Robertson’s first video in the series. It covers the real basics.

Being able to draw from life helps drawing skills immensly, but it is a different realm of thinking when you draw a product that does not yet exist. Some excersizes that may help you: find orthographic drawings and draw them 3 dimensionally… The following book has a few excersizes that begin to build on that idea…

Rapid Viz: A new method for the rapid visualization of ideas
by Kurt Hanks

Drawing takes practice! Don’t be precious with the paper you use or your drawings! And most of all if your passionate - don’t give up!

i have a friend that works for IDEO. he cant draw very well, and consequently got shunted to areas that are more conceptual. he likes this this way. gets to work with big clients, but on more experience-oriented products like cell phone services, etc. he feels like it’s more substantive.

got a friend that started at New Deal. he was hired to do Rhino but they let him go after a while saying his sketching skills weren’t up to snuff. -could be other reasons. maybe they just needed help for a while and then wanted to let him go…

got a friend that just had an interview at Astro. it was supposed to be an informational interview, but he asked for an internship. he was told that all they do at Astro is sketch and Alias. his portfolio had a lot of modelmaking stuff an no Alias. what did he have to offer them? not enough.

I’m recommitting myself to sketching, but I think it is possible to get good work without good sketching skills, you just have to make up for it somehow if you want to be in a high profile position.

-similar to someone elses post, look at the sketches of famous designers. they’re not all great sketchers.

but don’t give up either. i heard a really good remark from someone: “Most of the successful people are just those that didn’t give up”.

I’ve been taking sketching classes for a long time, several years. i get a little better each time. I’ll never be really good, but i want to get to where I have a reasonably interesting style that gets me over that hump…

Definately check out Scott Robertson’s work at but don’t kill yourself trying to get to this level. I had the opportunity to take a workshop from him, and trust me there’s alot that you can learn from him, but at the end of the day the man is just flat out talented and made me want to cry!

Yes, drawing is important, but it’s not always how you draw, but what you draw. I’ve seen people do the most amazing work technically, but boild it down to it’s raw form as an idea and it’s crapulence.

If your sketching sucks don’t worry, it’s just part of your style that isn’t tightened yet :slight_smile:

I feel the painting good is also a very important matter, can develop thus you appreciate beauty the ability, then can guarantee that you do a design for having the personal status.

If its any consolation, I have a 95k/yr corp design job and i can’t draw fer crap.
Not that I need that skill to because I never, ever sketch, anything. Its straight into 3d cad for me. I never could draw, and I have been a designer for 10yrs+. Sure, I doodled to figure out how stuff fit or looked for size, but when it comes down to it, getting into cad, 2d or 3d is where you spend most of the time tweaking the true dimensions.

and, its strictly 9-5 for me, the best nyc design job yet.

flunked rendering meself.

I’d be careful about getting too good at CAD, you’ll get stuck with all the CAD you can handle at most places you go.

In truth, most time spent in CAD is trying to figure out why the model isn’t working and doing what it should do, the program makes you “obey” it and much of the time there is no logic to why one thing will work and another won’t.

For me it’s the equivalent of playing a video game which I suck at, and can never hope to get better at, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Testing 123,

Most design college programs graduate MANY more students than the market requires. There are simply not enough true design jobs to go around for all of us. Sadly, this is very true.

Now, put yourself in this position. You are a design manager or HR manager for a company. Part of your job is to hire designers. You see hundreds of applications/portfolios for a job opening, but even if you only see two - one designer with fully developed skills and one who is somewhat lacking in, say sketching.

Your responsibility to your job, your company, is to hire the best candidate. Who would you choose (all else being equal)?

I would say that if you can’t draw well and don’t have some other SIGNIFICANT skill to offset the drawing deficiency you should consider a degree in Business, PE, home ec, engineering, SOMETHING that uses YOUR SKILLS to the best advantage…or…hone your drawing skills and stick with design.

Industrial Design can be a tough field. If you can’t draw and don’t have other advantages (uncle owns the business, etc) you may find that you don’t have what employers want.

Learn to say “do you want frys with that” (with respect to english majors like Garrison Keillor :astonished:) )

my answer is: no, you don’t have to be able to draw snazzy pictures at all. also, many types of products and objects aren’t suited to be laboriously developed with software (at least not by the designer himself). it’s the ideas that count. i tell students that any means of communicating a concept is valid as long as it’s right for the manufacturer. jasper morrison draws like this (see link below) but surely knows how to get a perfect model made. he’s just got the right ideas, that’s enough. you need to find out what you personally are best at when you’re expressing yourself. other designers make rough foam mock-ups and write essays with photographs alongside. that’s a perfectly valid working method, too. (scroll down left hand side)

Yes you can.

I remember during my course a guy in our class that was I will say gifted in his ability to draw and render. However, I used to cry when I would see the actual design of the product he intended to go forward with as he never backed up his talent with solid design skills. Drawing is one facet but the others become so much more important once the concept is on the table.

Ideally, you should have enough skill to communicate your idea(s). Perhaps you will have to back your drawing up with 3D to clearly get your idea across but it isn’t impossible.

You should also be realistic about where you apply and for what role. If you know you aren’t up to snuff in the presentation department, then Frog, Astro, etc. may never be an option. (Unless you want to work your ass off at sketching.) Right now you need experience and most people will start in the CAD monkey role but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

The translation to all this: DON’T GO INTO DESIGN

I don’t care if it’s product, auto, fashion, graphic, apparel, or whatever. The fact is that someone else’s objective opinion of your work will determine your longevity in the industry. NOT FAIR.

If you are in school, change majors while your parents are still willing to pay for it. If you love design enough to be poor at a moments notice, eat ramen noodles, live in a 500 square ft. apartment, drive a rickedy car, and have a non-existent social life due to lack of sufficient funds then design os for you.

Your school is not going to care about you after graduation. They don’t care if you get a job, keep one or end up asking “do you want fries with that”. All they want is that tuition.

If you have parents who will support you, do yourself and your parents a favor and go into a field where you will always have employment. Medicine is a good one. Eventually, you will have to support your parents one day. Can working a contract job at 45 years old, not knowing when the end is coming support your own family plus your parents when they retire. The answer NO.

The rest transfer to other careers like managers and teachers

that’s a stupid question. ‘can i be a good indy car driver if i have poor coordination and reflexes?’; ‘can i be a surgeon if can’t stand the sight of blood n guts?’

if your drawing skills are awful, chances are you’ll be an awful designer. if you’re good at 3D software then go into animation.