Non-ID drawing skills and their benefits

Hi all,

Here’s a question aimed especially at those of you who went to art schools (CIA, RISD, ACCD, Parsons, etc.): how good were you in observational drawing, figure drawing, charcoal, etc? Were you better than your non-ID classmates? How important were these skills to your development as a designer? Do you have a preferred method of practice?

My observational drawing was ok but it definitely got better while in school, just the shear number of pages drawn per day and week will make most anyone improve quickly. My figure drawing skills are nonexistant to this day, never officially took a class for it, same with charcoal.

Depending on what your job role is, sketching in my experience seems to fall into these 3 areas: 1- it helps you, the designer, come up with ideas. 2- it helps you communicate your ideas to your boss, coworkers, and client. 3- it helps you wow the client with killer renderings of the idea and it allows you to communicate what the final product could look like realistically, without a 3d modeler.

Best method of practice, is to just do it. Less questions, more doing.
Step 1- Go buy a 18x24 newsprint and a box of charcoals and start drawing.
Step 2- Go buy a sketchbook and go to your local coffee shop and draw the people you see and the environment around you.
Step 3- Post your drawings here if its somewhat ID related and ask for feedback.

Coming from someone who went to CIA ACCD and CIA i would say observational skills are the foundation for drawing but not limited or dare i say needed for design. Some people skip the still life phase and go straight into imaginary drawing and create masterful works without ever knowing the figure. I was advanced at observational drawing compared to my non and ID classmates. My preferred method of practice is to buy a sketchbook with a bulk of large white paper and put yourself in the most boring conditions go to a place where you know you can’t leave and there’s nothing else to do but sit and draw. I would recommend not to post any work online just focus on the work at hand if you spend 15 minutes a day drawing for 5 years you can become an expert. imagine the minutes you trade uploading the work for feedback when you could have been drawing, in time those minutes add up to hours of drawing time.
This method of practice is only for the truly dedicated or for those who do not have discipline of their own to sit down and make time for long hours of practice.