Sketching Subject Matter

Hi all, long time reader, first time poster.

I’m a post-grad looking to retain/kick my sketching skills up a notch… mostly I’d like to become more fluid and loosen up my style so I can put more ideas on paper faster. Is there a ‘preferred’ subject matter for filling up a sketchbook?

What subject matter do you all spend time sketching? Do you draw from observation or just ideation of new products/architecture? If both is it 50/50? 20/80? When you’re in a new place (like a vacation spot or a new city) do you bring a sketchbook along? What kinds of things to you ‘record’? I’d like to take a stroll around my city (Detroit) & start putting my observations down on paper, and am looking for a good starting point.

What do you think an employer wants to see more of in a sketchbook: focused subject matter (just cars) or a variety of thoughts (cars, fashion, electronics)? …I would think that variety shows that a person is well-rounded, but I wouldn’t want that to be mistaken for unfocused or unfamiliar with that company’s product.

I think the most important subjects are the ones that matter to you. A few ways to get at that:

What do you get amped about? What do you like to design? When you close your eyes what do you see? What existing things do you visually appreciate? What would you redesign if you could? Draw from observation or from imagination, it really doesn’t matter, just sketch.

You can’t sketch it if you don’t have a sketchbook on you. I always carry a pocketsize small format moleskin notebook. When I have an idea, I just jot it down. I don’t sit down and say “OK, I’m going to sketch for 2 hours now”, but you get in the habit when you have the book on you. Waiting for the train, on a plane, early to a meeting… doodling becomes a disease, a good one.

A sketchbook is a personal thing in my view. If you show it to a prospective employer, it is to shoe how your personal process works. If you try to fake it, it will show, so let it flow… no rhyme intended there.