I think that is an interesting expansion… get really good at something, and make sure it’s the thing you love.
For me it was the ability to think freely, out of the box, RAPIDLY, to be able to visualize that into hot design…FAST, thirdly I stay true to the original vision, exciting marketing and engineering (as best I can) to execute products that might be out of their comfort zone. Thiese three skills, whilst central to ID, are not frequently found, and i have never had difficulty finding work because of the passion i put into always improving this skill set.
So if you love pumping CAD, get better at it than anyone else and find some tandgental skills that you find equally appealing. What ever your thing is, raise the bar out there and you will be able to make yourself desirable to an employer/client. You should make it so they have to hire you.
Life drawing allows more room for personal expression/style. May not be appropriate for product style purpose where you’re trying to convey info and details.
Take me for example, I have a very “scribbly” line style which lends itself very well for showing figures in action, conveying motion…because I grew up drawing comic characters, that’s the only hand drawing I did before starting ID in school. Works extremely well for showing figures in action. Doesn’t work very well for product design, forms don’t look very refined, can’t see details in the midst of all the lines.
Most products have smoothe controlled lines, parallel elements, etc…, unlike human bodies which rarely have clean, parallel lines and are constantly morphing. You can get away with unprecise lines doing figures, not with products. So I’ve had to adjust and develop a newer cleaner, static representation method for product design.