Improvement tips?


Aside from “practice, practice, practice” do you have any tips or resources that have helped you to improve your drawing and sketching proficiency?

I am a Freshman and have just recently been accepted into the ID program at the university I attend. We had to submit a portfolio to get into the program, so my drawing skills are passable, but I know that there is massive room for improvement. In addition, at the end of Sophomore year the number of students in the program is culled from 30 to 12 students, so I can use all the help I can get.

I do spend about 1/2 hr per day practicing sketching (still-life things, usually) in addition to drawings required for class, because that’s all my schedule allows for, what with work and class assignments. I am particularly interested in ways to help me draw faster and more accurately, as well as improving my ideation sketches.

Any tips, hints, and resources are greatly appreciated!


Go through the sketching forum, this has been asked a dozen times.

A few tips:

Sketch with others, both better and worse than you. As you help each other, you will help yourself.

Benchmark, who do you want to sketch better than? Who has a style you think communicates ideas well. Print out plenty of reference.

Study, take photos of objects, study how light plays off of things, try to communicate an object with as few lines as possible, what can you leave out? what detail is necessary?

and practice more.

View objects in real space in your daily life as 2D renderings.

Easy example, look at a skyscraper. If you’re standing at the corner of the building, you’ll see two different color fields depending on the lighting at the time. Look at them as two large color blocks, see how those color blocks are shaped. Paying attention to this practice can really teach you the real ratio of dark to light in real life, as well as proper perspective.

And as said, go practice. I know many students who talked about sketching, but never put them on paper.

Back to sketching backpacks.

carry a sketch book with you at ALL times… the fact that you have it with you will help you to do it more… when an idea comes across your mind, on the train, in a class, wherever, sketch it out quickly before it becomes fully formed in your mind. This will help you show more of your thought process on the page vs drawing out a fully formed design.

Do you have any recomodation for a small portable sketchbook? i find A4 book to big and most over here in uk are on cartridge paper.

for quick, on the go sketches I use these:

and keep some loose copy paper in my bag for bigger stuff.

In addition to the good above tips, I would also add “start simple”. Baseline your skills, without a foundation you will build a week structure.

1 Work on freehand sketching skills with basic shapes.
Start with a basic cube in 3 point perspective. Get the lines to all work correctly in perspective. Make sure you can do it like second nature (this means a lot of cubes). Then move on to line quality. Strong, fluid strokes that do not stop and start along the path. Then add line weight control (bold outside, light inside).

2 Move to a little more complex shape.
Use the cube as a starting point and begin to adjust it. Cut the front. Sweep a side. Cut out a section. This does not = drawing cars, keep it simple.

3- Move to cylinders.
Make sure you learn how to get an ellipse on the right axis. Nothing taints a sketch like a wrong ellipse. If you can not do this right, you can not draw a car.

Hope these points help. I would also say get a full ream of copy paper and fill all the pages with sketches.

Oh, and I would also say draw in black pen. If you can drawn in pen, pencil is easy.

Michael- I didn’t even see the sketching section- Thanks for moving the thread. : )

Thanks for the advice, everyone!