when you start sketching a product for example at a stage when you are just forming a general picture of it how do you decide on what the details are going to be…I have seen people make a line here and a line there , a depression or protrusion here and there. at an early stage one really does’nt know about whats going inside the box… so is it just an assumption or should one start sketching only when one has a clear idea of what’s going inside

Rarely do you know what you want to sketch before you should start. I don’t remember who said this, but my advice is:

Begin anywhere.

Your goal is not to have perfect sketches, but to use sketching as a thinking tool. As you practice this, you will realize how sketching catalyzes your thought process, and you will get better and better over time. As you improve, you will become more confident and relaxed, and your sketches will naturally become more expressive and beautiful. My first “AHA” form breakthrough came with sketching for a trash can project. I had done about 4-5 pages over 2 hours, and was getting tired. But, I pushed through and on page 5 or 6 after sketching trash cans enough, the simple idea came to me to improve the function through the form.

In my experience, your best idea usually comes right at the beginning of your process, or at the end. You should never stop after your first good idea, though, because it may lead you to better ideas. The way to get to the best idea is to have many ideas.

It is a pretty common miss step for poeple starting out to design it all in their heads and then get frustrated trying to plot that vision line for line onto paper.

Remember, sketching is not only a communication tool, it is an exploration tool. When you advanced, you start to be able to do both at the same time.

When I sketch, I have a macro idea of how something works, how something is made, how people interact with it, or an overall of what it looks like/feels like. When the pen hits the page I start exploring around those ideas, turning them upside down, doing major and then subtle variations… then I try to make it pretty later with a few overlays.

interesting and informative read.
i agree with most of the points here. i’d like to add:

  1. for me, its a tool to communicate with yourself too. So, with every line, you’re asking yourself more questions that help you arrive at the outcome.
  2. sometimetimes, i have just one small idea (like maybe some sort of headlamp or grill or something,)
    so i put it down first and then draw the rest of the picture around it (like the rest of the car in this case)
  3. if you have a pen and a paper, you can play ‘god’ in the life of the product.
    you can introduce newer details, or change the ones that are there while you go over them. the whole story can change!
  4. i also use sketching to have fun. very serious, this.

What they said.

Whenever you start sketching is when the idea really starts a life of its own.
Don’t be frustrated if you can’t get your mental picture on paper. That’s just a guideline. Sketching is great for exploring ideas. I find it that I get more and more ideas while sketching. Sometimes it gets so bad (good) that I can’t sketch fast enough to get them all on paper. Love it when that happens :wink: Sketching is a communication tool.