Quick furniture design sketch demo

Below is a qui demo I did for a design student, Jake Tennyson on Instagram.

this was his original sketch:

The importance of getting visual communication skills down can not be over stated. Once you can communicate an idea visually, you can have a the right conversations with stakeholders, engineers, craftsmen. You can inspire others to help with your idea. Most importantly you can focus your mental energy on your ideas vs expending energy struggling with communicating them

Below are the steps I took to improve the visualization of the design:

  1. just get the idea out. You can be scratchy at this stage as the only person you are communicating with is yourself. Here it is just about exploration.

  2. perspective set up. At this point you want o be drawing through the forms like they are made of glass so you can make sure everything is just right.

  3. clean up. Put a fresh piece of paper over top and trace up the lines cleanly. Here you want to start showing depth through line weight.

  4. final sketch. Another clean overlay to really get it right, now indicating material as well as depth. Lots of carrying line weight here.

  5. color. This can be done with marker as I’ve shown many times. Here I took a quick iPhone pic, cleaned it up and adde color. I broke the color out in layers based on material. The wood is the bottom layer, then the sheet metal, the translucent resin is a translucent layer over top, and lastly the original lifework from step 4 is played over top on a multiplied layer.

    I think of sketching like running a marathon. You don’t want the day of the marathon to be the first time you ever run! Instead you run a little every day until the day of the big race is just another day when you run.

Thanks for laying out the steps like that. I find it reassuring to know that even experienced designers use this kind of iterative approach with sketches. Too often I feel the pressure to come up with that “perfect sketch” on the first go. I’ve had professors and co-students execute sharpie sketches in just a couple of long strokes. They claim that they visualize the object in their head before they draw it, but that’s always seemed bass ackwards to me.

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I use overlays a lot. A LOT. That is the way I was taught. I can crank out a pretty good sketch without an overlay, but the only way I’m going to get a sketch better than good is to overlay. That Ferrari sketch I did in the doodles topic yesterday was 4 underlays.

I explore and think a lot on the page. I find that people who visual the design in their head and then sketch it don’t often move beyond the expected. And when you work in a team iterating in your head doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to show it. You never know what iteration will spark another idea for one of your team mates.