Sketch training exercises

I would like to apply for a design university and am currently trying to train my sketching skills as much as possible. To this effect, I mostly sketch ellipses and circles or long, possibly straight lines. I have been doing this for nearly a year but I must admit that I would love to see even more progress.
Especially I don’t like the fact that I need more than one (often even 3-4) attempts in order to get a stroke/ellipse the way I want it to be. I would love to train on that.

Could you advise some training exercises (or even websites?) to take a look at in order to improve sketching, especiallly with regards to line precision and quality? I would be very grateful.

Thank you!

I would also like this if anyone has anything.

Check out Scott Robertson’s tutorials. He is awesome!

Books (these were the ones that I thought were great for being in school):

Rapid Viz-
Design Sketching-

Start with all of that. Its just practice. Have fun!

Thank you very much for your answer, rachelkroft.

Any more advice? I even thought about really basic “training” exercises to do now and then. :smiley:


  • Do a little bit every day or at least as often as possible.
  • Begin with thinking in shapes- how one shape connects to the other. Don’t think about drawing eg: a phone- but a rectangle with rounded corners.
  • Diagram- drawing that connects thoughts/concepts together- also very important for visually communicating an idea.

Sketching ellipses and long straight lines for a year?

While these are valuable exercises, try applying it to objects (sketch your car, alarm clock, next door neighbour’s house or subjects in line with your chosen design disipline) and see how you get on.

Also, don’t be too precious, sketches don’t have to be “perfect”. Post some up here too!

Im sketching everyday, and doing elipse and line practice every now and again.

But there is no method to it. Im just pluck random things and draw something similar once or twice then draw something else.
I feel like im going about it the wrong way, flailing my pen around. I feel like I need a direction to work in.

Its like walking into a library with the intention of learning how an engine works. But starting by picking any old book off the shelf and just keep reading at random until you eventually find out.

If you went on a sketching course, they wouldn’t say “sit down and draw anything, ill be back in a week”
There must be some sort of method, some scale of progression.

Or is it really just pen to paper, move it around and in a few years you will be able to sketch ??

Draw things from life and break them down into simpler geometric shapes. See through those objects!

Another way to practice is to find examples online that you like and practice duplicating the sketch. Pay attention to the original designers line-weights and strokes. Much more fun than sketching ellipses.

Come on, post a few examples!


I am in the exact same postition as you at the moment and I intend to become very proficient with sketching during the next acedemic year (in my year out) before attending university. I am hoping to spend at least 6 hours a day sketching and started this last week, the things I have found that are good to start with are…

  1. super basic shapes, I have found it incedibly useful to start by learning to draw a square/rectangle in prospective. I don’t know what people would think of starting with prospective on here but it has seemed to of worked for me so far… (if you don’t know how to do this check out the printer sketch on idsketching…)

  2. draw shapes on shapes, e.g draw a rectangle in prospective and then draw a triangle on top of that…

  3. Draw shapes on shapes and then an extrusion or two coming out of that shape…

  4. start learning the geometry of curves and how the work in prospective, for this you would defo benefit from the ‘sketching: drawing techniques for product designers’.

This is basially where I am up to and I am pretty certain I am going to be spending the next few weeks learning about curves and how they work in different prospective positions etc.

As of now I know nothing about the high level skills involved with design, including sketching, but I know that by doing this sort of thing I can keep happy and interested for a long period of time sketching and I am already learning how everything is just geometrical and mathematical…