sketch book

So I’m about to organize years of dirty loose sketches to supplement my 4-6-pages-per-project sheets in my portfolio.

or whatever Because I want to bring a sketchbook per project to show concept development and process… I have sketches in all sorts of sizes and types of paper, some in odd sections of books, loose leaf, etc…

What’s the best way to organize and present these otherwise personal thought-process loose sketches? to supplement each project, so however it is organized,… booklets, folders, stacks tied with a belt, etc… I’ll have around 8-10 (since i have 8-10 projects).


I’d scan them and reprint them on standard sheets. Just to be organized at an interview. I made the mistake of going into my first interview out of school with 8 1/2 X 11’s, some 11x14’s, 14 X 17’s and random size things from bigger trace rolls, etc, all on different paper, some newsprint, all over the place. Made presenting it an absolute mess and made me look like a complete a$$. I’d bring a folder for each one if you only have 8-10 pages. With bigger projects, use a 3/4" (100 sheet) binder. Works nice. I have a portfolio piece I’m working on and I’m on page 62 of development. The binder makes going through things and presenting it butter.
There was an old pro I worked with who gave me some really good simple pointers. So simple but yet, I just never gave it a thought before:

-Draw on the size paper you plan on presenting with. Not absolutely necessary because you can draw big and shrink down and layout later, but for a quick and efficient workflow with less cleanup later, it’s a good way to go.
-Don’t draw on anything bigger than your scanner. Seems like a no-brainer but I’ve had countless times having to splice images together because my sketchbook is 11x14 and my scanner is only 8 1/2 X 12. Either that or you’ll have to have a digital camera to take pictures of bigger work.

Now I do all concept sketches, etc on 8 1/2 X 11, because that’s what I use for a process book. One image per page, maybe with a small callout. Don’t be afraid of running through a whole ream of paper. Some people like to draw bigger and shrink down, makes drawings look better. I draw better smaller from comic days so 8 1/2X 11 works for me. You can easily put everything together and layout on computer for a presentation, while keeping process pages neat and organized.

People that do other types like cars, furniture, etc probably draw much bigger and have different ways of going about it.

From now on, it’ll probably be good practice to get used to doing everything on consistant sheets, it’ll make your life easier down the road. And most companies you’ll work for will probably work the same way. Good luck to you.

Thanx for the good info…

However, I have too much of these “loose” drawings (most are in fact 8.5 x 11)… I’ll be scanning and photoshopping til next year! I have various sketch books too… containing sketches and other irrelevent things.

I was just wondering if they would understand if I go about showing these as “personal” loose sketching and ideation process that was done for my own good, so as to give them an idea and a look at how I work and think. The nitty gritty.

Any interviewers out there who has seen these? or was everything sparkly and laminated?

I was thinking maybe a stack of tan hardcover folders with string ties containing loose sketches that you show after blowing dust off of them. !

Well I’ve seen people come in like this and everyone comes off with the same opinion ---- DISORGANIZED.

ok, judging by that, maybe i was typing Retardese, let me switch back to English.

Is it a good idea to bring personal sketch books to show process and how one works? Yes.

Ok, so how should it be organized? Since everyday sketch books are usually messy and have not been ass swabbed with a golden Qtip soaked with holy jesus juice?

“come in like this…” how? Im just talking about the loose sketches.
The portfolio and everything else is sparkling like a polished alter boy. Irrelevent.

So share some info on how to organize hundreds of sketches without scanning and hiring 15 COOPS for 45 years.

Thanks in advance Useful More Than a Sentence Relpy Man.

So share some info on how to organize hundreds of sketches without scanning and hiring 15 COOPS for 45 years.

I don’t know because me and everyone else I know does what SKINNY says. He’s exactly right. Except it’s faster if you just photocopy to the same size if you have alot and don’t need to tweak the contrast. Then create a cover and get it bound so that when you show the big stuff to the design manager other designers at the table can look at the custom sketchbooks. You can’t do that if they aren’t bound…they’ll be falling out and making a mess. Personally I think you just sound lazy trying to avoid doing what he’s suggesting.

-If you have 100’s to show, I’d almost say it was too much. If most of them are on 8 1/2 X 11, grab one of those high school notebook 3-hole punch deals for $2 and get at em, I’m staring at mine right now. That’s how you can organize those random sheets. Pull 10 pages max development each for 2 or 3 projects and put them in a binder. Better than folders because they stay in order. Pulling out sheets from a folder and having them scattered on the table randomly doesn’t allow you to be in control of your presentation. Kinda like writing a book but letting others decide the order they want to read the chapters. A good binder lets you control that. The pages should show highlights of the process, not every bit. The interviewer won’t be looking that close, it’ll take forever. Show where major discoveries / milestones were made. 10 pages of well selected process pages should be plenty with the additional clean presentation of the project.

-Bring some, but it shouldn’t be so much that it’s time consuming to look at. Any amount that you should bring in for an interview should be small enough for you to be able to photocopy onto consistant sizes without it having to be a part time job. If it does seem to be turning into a job, it’s probably too much to be bringing.

-If you do have bound sketchbooks, bring 1 or 2 of them as is. It’s not a big deal that half may be your written dream journals and workout progress charts like mine is. Everyone understands because that’s how everybody’s sketchbook is, don’t sweat it. They’ll be flipped through as fast as the interviewers hand can move anyway.

You want to show that you know how to prioritize. Bringing everything from all over looks like you don’t know how to show just what’s relevant, which you very may well not if you’re fresh out of school, first interviews, etc.

Here’s an example to help you to decide how much to strip down.
-Assume your interview will last 40 min.
-You have 10 finished pieces in your portfolio
-That’s 4 min. a piece to go through each project, not a whole lot of time, see what I’m getting at. 4 min. is probably just barely enough to cover the point of the project and describe who it’s for.
Things will be flipped through quickly. If you have certain points you want to stand out, make sure they stand out. Other than that, process you show for a project should be like an outline of a book, that you could read and understand what the book is about, without actually having to read the book.

Hoped this helped some. Good luck.

good deal!

Someone gave this advice to me, it worked, and now i give it to you.

One possible way to go is to have several core portfolios, product, softgoods, print (however your work breaks down) of those cores have process books for each project. keep the books in your bag and pull them out one by one to control the interview.

This allows you to do several things:

1: easily tailor your work based on the viewer.
2: if you don’t like the way the interview is going, you can quickly wrap it up
3: if you are hitting it out of the park, you can extend the interview by pulling out more things to talk over.

Editing and disection are the key, design your portfolio, what do you want to communicate to the viewer and how.

I’ve updated this for myself, I do the core folio in powerpoint with the process books in presentation folios, keeps the viewers on their toes.

Yo you hit a question i had on the head, but now there is an issue:

If i have a mini-process book per project (4min book basically) do i give each book a distinct personality that reflects and caters to the project being presented…or do I organize it all under a common layout for cleanliness and consistency? I have been battling with this decision and everyone gives me a different answer.

That’s a good one.

If I where to do mine again I would play it like this:

I would have a consistant format i.e. 11x17 landscape bound on the left edge

Use a color and material strategy, i.e. all covers in black card stock with a label on the lower right corner of the front cover, a different color for each label corresponding to the project.

I would use minimal graphics in the book, just print outs of thumbnails, sketches, renderings, sketch models and final models

There are a million ways to do this right, I think the ONE thing all of those ways have in common is CONSIDERATIN. If you consider how the viewer will percieve you, consider how all of these elements fit into the overall presentation, and consider that you are selling your abilities not the individual designs, it will come out good… well and if you do a good job on it eh?

Great question. I wish I had a class on this instead of blundering through my first few iterations.

I had my portfolio critiqued by a firm in town and what worked for me was having two sets of printed portfolios. One had a common layout for each of my projects with an overview(with different colored tabs to go with individual projects). And along with that I had seperate in depth project files with all my research/sketches and form development etc to give a better idea of the design process.I pulled that out For a couple project, I was suggested to have presentation boards and for projects such as packaging…it would be nice to have something tangible with you. These were the tips i recieved…thought it would help you too.