Precision in sketching. Whats your favorite way to practice?

I have a bit of a shaky hand and am committed to getting my sketches tighter. I have all faith in practice, it has brought me a long way. I’m curious, do you have a favorite way to work on your precision? Like working out at the gym, practice with varying exercises really helps out. Whats your favorite way to mix it up?

*Edit: I’d love to be able to sketch like the designs below:

I think you have a pretty nice style Carl. Everyone finds their own way. Your sketch style may not be like the people you look up to (mine isn’t, I see work that is not like mine and always think, damn I wish I could do that!) but I think the key question is are you communicating what you want to communicate in a compelling way? If the answer is yes you are at least in the zone.

OK, the supportive nice stuff out of the way, the answer being yes above is also no reason to get complacent. I find it important to always practice, to always set little challenges for myself. Sometimes I will set up a little practice project with the aim of trying a specific style out, or I’ll just pick up a new medium, or limit my tools in photoshop, buy some weird, hard to use pen… try to mess with yourself the way a professor might mess with you in school.

Smal micro point, in the sketches on the right above try carrying the line weight more. Your shadow hatch marks could be lighter, your object borders heavier, indicate a little more detail on those watch faces, a couple of watch hands will help. Try sketching one were the perspective shows the face more head on and you are only seeing a little of the side, much harder. :slight_smile:

Fyi: Those are not my sketches, but just styles that I aspire to.

ah, gotcha.I didn’t get that from my quick read. In that case, you can aspire to better than the sketches on the right.

Hey Carl,
I checked out your website and your sketching looks fine. I think it’s easy to look “over the fence” at some one else’s work and tell yourself that they have something you don’t. I know I’m guilty of the same thing. My suggestion is to just keep making yourself sketch. Those watches are nice to look at because the ellipses and perspective are where they need to be, and they look like they were done quick. In my limited experience, the only way to get there is to keep your hand busy trying. Looking at your life drawing and some of the shape studies, it looks like you get pretty precious with your work. This can be paralyzing and not the thing you want when trying to make fluid lines.

Yo is right on it with setting goals and challenging yourself. With that I’d suggest remembering that practice work is only practice and its purpose is to make you better. The work that comes out of practice shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than scrap.

Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate the advice.

Greetings fellow SCADdie! I can see that there is a nugget of advice here that can really help me out, but I am a little stuck on it. Could I trouble you to delve a little more into this? I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “getting precious”. I think I understand, but am not entirely certain.


Hey there Carl, I didn’t realize you are a SCAD grad. What I was talking about is that your lines look labored over. The line work of the images you posted as inspiration do not. It’s all about a magic combination of speed and accuracy. I believe it starts with not being afraid of screwing up. What I see in your drawings is accuracy, but not speed. Does that make sense?

I’m going to guess that you tend to draw from the fingers and wrist a lot. Try working with your whole arm, not just from the elbow, but the shoulder too. When you are practicing, try to focus less on the object and more on the line. I’m telling you this because I struggle with it too. I can draw like a madman in a figure drawing studio, but have a hard time with concept drawings of objects I’m not looking at.

Practice is the only way forward.

Absolutely makes sense! I’ve been told that before, but bad habits are hard to break! I’ve got a Cintiq coming in the mail, so hopefully the pinch zoom will help me out there. Distilled down, it sounds like I need more confidence in my lines.

I find that just taking a step back allows you to see a sketch for what it is. When I’m working on it, I find I get discouraged because I’ll focus more on the lines themselves than on the sketch as a whole. Looking at it from a distance reminds me of what I’m conveying, and that the imperfect lines aren’t as important.

Definetly step back from it. Another thing I do is take a pic with my iPhone and mirror it in Photoshop, or just flip the paper over and hold it up to the light. Sometimes I’ll do corrections on the backside of the page and then overlay it again.