Help with sketching slump

Hello everyone,

wondering if I could get some advice on how to sharpen my sketching skills. I have been stuck in a job now for about 2 year that doesn’t really involve alot of sketching. I do a lot of rendering in 3Ds Max and a lot of mock-ups (Packaging) but as far as putting pen to papper that doesn’t happen very often. I really feel like this maybe hurting my career. What should I do. I try to sketch when I go home but have now gotten frustrated because I am not up to the standard I was before I started working here. Anybody have any advice? Anyone in the same boat as me?[/b]


For what it’s worth I’m in exactly the same boat, I don’t get a chance to sketch at work and when I’m home I get sketcher’s block, I’ve simply started drawing boxes and simple shapes just to start getting my eye in again. I also contacted my old lecturer today to ask if he’s got any old design briefs he can send me to give me an excuse to practise sketching within the context of concept development which my portfolio is lacking. Don’t know if I’ll get anywhere, but that’s what I’m doing to overcome it at the moment.

Hope that is of some help.


Thinks for the tip. That is a great idea with the old Prof. I think I might try that myself. Anyone else have an suggestions on how to get out of this. Does anyone have any sketching excersises they do to keep them fresh.

How about working on some competitions?

I draw an excessive amount of ellipses until I make the abosolute perfect elliipse. I usually fill a full pages. I know other people do this with circles.

Or were you looking for something more specific as an actual product and developing it further?

For getting the gist of light and shade I use charcoal and smear with my finger to get the tones smoothly. That will then help with what level to use when sketching with pencil.

This may also sound lame, but two things I do that help are:

  1. Draw some stuff really small, like an inch wide, then the strokes will necessarily be gestural. Do a jillion of those till you get a cool one, throw it on the copier, make it big and try to capture the cool part of it again in a tracing.

  2. I also will just out and out trace photos to get the proportions right and then set into making it a cool design. Two things are going on as you sketch. You’re monitoring “is this a good design?” and “is this a good drawing?”. Often just having a good layout tracing for a framework eases the latter concerns and lets you get on with designing.

Airbrushing sketches in P’shop is really fun as well. Keep the sketch loose on a layer and airbrush over it on another layer and then come back and erase the airbrushing for shape and highlights. You gotta use a soft “airbrushy” eraser, though.