Core77 University

Hello Core77,

I am a beginner Industrial Design student currently in University. I am taking both Industrial Design and Architecture courses, and I have also a number of fine arts courses under my belt. I want to help supplement my studies by getting more exposure through online resources. In an earlier thread, I was recommended a few online courses; of which now I am taking Don Norman’s Design of Everyday Things on Coursera, and I will be beginning a course in Sustainable Product Design through Stanford.

I am calling upon the Core77 community to help me develop my sketching skills. Every week members can post here with an assignment or idea of what I should sketch. I will then upload the sketches every week so that you may all critique them and let me know how I can improve.

From the success of Apowers’ Design School Journey thread, I can see that this discussions board is an invaluable tool. I hope that this will also help other individuals who are looking to enter the field of industrial design.

I look forward to receiving my first set of assignments!


Great idea! Who’s going to get things started?

Hey Brandon sorry for the late reply! I’m glad my thread could serve some inspiration and hopefully you can see the feedback that I was given and apply it to your own work.

During my perspective class we had 30 pages of sketches a week and up to seven drafts on top of that. I would suggest posting some current sketches so the board can see where you stand and I’d be more than happy to share some assignments that I was given.

My very first assignment was 10 pages of straight lines, 10 pages of ellipses (Landscape format, with 5 columns on 11x17 paper) and 10 pages of circles (formatted the same way as ellipses).

@Chris - Glad that you approve!

@Aaron - Thanks for the reply! Your thread has proven to be invaluable. I will get started on the 30 pages of straight lines, ellipses, and circles. I will update this thread later this week with Aaron’s assignment and my current sketches. If anybody else wishes to add anything to the list, feel free to do so!

I’ll start. For some reason the first thing that came to mind was Pencil Sharpeners.

Lets see those sketches!! :slight_smile:

Too much talk, not enough sketch, lets see some stuff Bkim!

Agreed with Yo and Package ID.

Get a cheap sketchbook or buy a stack of printer paper.
20 pages of existing Pencil Sharpeners, mechanical, hand powered, crank, electrical, etc.
10 pages of your own original concepts, ideation, refinement.
Put a star next to your favorite sketches and favorite concepts.
Put a question mark next to your sketches that you had the most difficult time on.
Add callouts not paragraphs to your sketches.
Use pen or colored pencils only.
No pencil, no eraser, no markers, no photoshop, no digital tablet.

We don’t want to see another post with just text. Next time you post there better be some sketches attached!


I really love this idea. However rather than one thread for one guy…what about a “sketch bootcamp” sticky-master-thread sort of thing for design-sketching neophytes, with a series of ‘assignments’ such as above? That would leave the seasoned pros with more time for critique and input rather than re-hashing responses of, “OK, now YOU draw 20 circles, 20 straight lines, 20 pages of…you know this is getting kind of redundant, I’m not bothering posting this stuff anymore.

The volume of posts here is low enough it might almost work without getting too chaotic or messy. Almost an informal, loosely guided, virtual classroom of sorts? I’d volunteer to get the ball rolling, but especially here I have no idea what I am talking about! :wink:

Let’s see how this goes. I like people having their own thread so they can track their own progress. Aaron Powers has done a great job ute living the collective presence here. The uniqueness is that it is a conversation, not a classroom, so let’s keep it that way. As for this particular thread, I still don’t see any sketches …

Hey Everybody, it’s finally friday. I have uploaded a few of the lines pages that I did in my sketchbook, but the other 50 or so pages of lines, circles, and ellipses are at my dorm. I will upload those later. I began with PackageID’s Pencil Sharpener assignment and I included the ones I had begun before Sketchroll’s assigned his guidelines.

I noticed that I have issues with circles and ellipses and that I can get the general shape, but I cannot seem to sketch a smooth circular shape. I attempted to work in colored pencil, but I found it to be very uncomfortable and difficult to convey my ideas. Overall, I found the circular and more organically shaped sharpeners to be more enjoyable to draw, but I also really enjoyed sketching the old hand crank sharpeners. I also tried not to work too small, as it seems to be a trap that one can fall into. However, I also noticed that it was then difficult to convey more than one idea on a single page. All in all, I have a much better conception of what the aesthetics of a pencil sharpener consist of and I found it to be a fun assignment. I welcome all critiques and I hope you enjoy my sketches!

He delivers! Nice stuff Bkim, I really commend you on sticking to the deadline. I think that’s one of the biggest struggles designers, myself included, deal with in school and professionally so definitely keep it up! Nothing says unprofessional like blowing deadlines!

Couple housekeeping things:
It’s a little hard to give feedback since the images are WAY too big, I find my self scrolling way too much to the right and it’s so big that I feel like all I’m looking at are lines and not a cohesive sketch. I would edit your post and resize the images. You probably don’t need much more than 800px wide.

Also it’s usually better to sketch big, then present it in a slightly smaller scale. Things always look a little tighter and more refined when they’re scaled down. Pen strokes start to blend together, you can hide mistakes, etc.

Lastly I would go back and crop the sketches, use levels to get your paper to be pure white (there’s a tutorial for this on ID sketching I’m pretty sure) and get familiar with composing sketch pages in Photoshop. I don’t need to scroll through 20 separate pages and see the binder coil of your notebook 20 times. I know it sounds like I’m nit picking, and I am, but presentation can totally derail a project critique, even for something like this. I did a quick 10 minute photoshop of some of your sketches to show how you can collage them. This is just one way, there’s no right answer or best solution for every presentation

Overall I think it’s a great start. The biggest issue is the ellipse: learning how to align the minor axis, and learning to draw them in the correct degree for the perspective they’re in. Getting the right shape will come with more mileage but if you don’t know how to align them and in what degree they should be in even the most perfectly drawn ellipse will look bad.

Go through this page on ID sketching for a quick primer Printed Dresses and Shoes - IdSketching

A lot of your ellipses are pinching but you can help that by drawing construction lines to lightly ghost in the perspective grid and ellipse first then coming back in to darken it up where necessary.

Great start to the thread, excited to see you improve and continue to share your work on the boards!

Some great feedback from Choto on ellipses so I will not repeat. My biggest observation is that your sketches feel very stiff, even the your line pages. Remember you sketch from you shoulder not you wrist. It will feel strange at first, but just practice throwing down a couple pages before you start sketching with fluid arm motions from the shoulder. I even do this when I haven’t sketched in a while. Its kind of like stretching or warming up before a big game.

Along with things feeling stiff, I also notice you seem to be drawing and not sketching. What do I mean by this? Sketches are quick and used to communicate an idea. Try to keep to simple contour lines and simple shading. At the moment, because you are sketching with a No 2 pencil you are sketching lines, but you are shading as if this is an art piece. When I first start school I did the same thing. I was used to how I sketched in art class in high school and applied that to my ID sketches. When I got to college and took ID 101, my professor told us the first day of class that No 2 Pencils and erasers were not allowed in his class. He forced us to sketch with pen or indigo blue pencil. Im not a fan of indigo, so I stuck with ball point pen. Im going to take that further and force you in your next assignment to sketch with a felt tip or roller ball and sharpie. You need to learn to rely on your lines. Check out Spencer does this very well.

Third and last piece of feedback, remember you are using sketches to convey an idea. These pencil sharpeners you are showing are a bit static and you aren’t really giving me any information other than the shape. Add call outs communicating things such as materials and other informative information. It is also good to show other views or put you design in context to show how you product may work or appear in this case in a school, office, or home. These are pencil sharpeners, show it on a desk with a pencil and pad next to it. This will make your sketch much more informative and appealing.

Great start and I look forward to seeing more.


Hi Choto and PackageID, thank you for the kind words or encouragement and your recommendations.

@Choto - I will go to the art lab on monday when it is open and I will learn how to create a proper composition of my sketches in photoshop. I will edit my post so that others may view it with ease. I appreciate you linking the IDSketching link to drawing ellipses, it cleared up the process.

@PackageID - Thanks for the recommendation to draw from the shoulder. I have never drawn from the shoulders, so it should be an interesting learning curve. With your assignment, I actually used a black ballpoint pen. I kept on reading in Apower’s thread about the importance of staying away from pencils, and Sketchroll’s guild-lines about only using pen and colored pencil. I think I need to start looking at the product as a whole, rather than just the aesthetic exterior, hence the lack of callouts. I will begin to think about other aspects of the product rather than just the exterior, and I will also think more about the context.

I welcome any other critiques if you feel that something has not been stated that I should improve on. Looking forward, I am going to edit and re-upload my Pencil Sharpener assignment, work on my ellipses, practice draw from the shoulder, and I will think about the product as a whole. I look forward to my next assignment!

Assignment # 2

Fire Extinguishers-
(To help your work on you ellipses)

Details :

5 pages of lines and ellipse as a warm-up
20 pages of Designs both existing and new designs
Put a star next to your favorite sketches and favorite concepts.
Put a question mark next to your sketches that you had the most difficult time on.
Add callouts not paragraphs to your sketches. Call out materials, show functionality, and put design in context where possible
Use pen only - Felt tip, roller ball, or sharpie.
No pencil, no eraser, no markers, no photoshop, no digital tablet.

Start Sketching!



Are we going to see sketches this week? Just trying to keep you on track. :smiley:


Hi Justin,

I apologize for the lack of response. There has been a family emergency and I am currently writing this from my home town. I will upload the Fire Extinguisher this week when I am back at school. I hope my ellipses will look better!


Brandon, hope everything is okay and looking forward to seeing the Fire Extinguisher! Best of luck. I want to sketch some now…

Hi Brandon,

No worries. That was just a gentle friendly nudge. Family always comes first. Hope all is well.


Hi Core77 Community!

So I have finished the fire extinguisher assignment. I worked on focusing on my ellipses and callouts, but I was having trouble with my circles. I also tried to sketch rather than draw. I loosened up my lines, drew from my shoulder, and I think I was successful. I have also cleaned up my previous post of the pencil sharpeners, so feel free to take a look at those again! Everything is fine with my family, and I appreciate the concern and understanding. I hope you enjoy this weeks assignment!

Seems a bit low on the quantity no?