what do you sketch with

hi guys

I am about to begin my Masters in ID in august , but i want to improve my sketching skill before I begin the program.

I wanted to know what pen/ pencil do you sketch with. right now i am using a ball pen.
To begin with i am drawing elipses but things arent going to well…
do you have any tips for the beginners

Check out these previous threads…

some other similar threads:

This is a good one:

Read through the boards, there are a lot of good discussions documented in here.

thank you for the threads.

a month back I used pencils but i am now using bic ball pen…initially it felt depressing to say bye-bye to good old eraser… but now i am gaining confidence to draw bold lines.

Yo your sketching skills are phenomenal and you are doing a great thing by posting up your sketches… they give me a direction and inspiration .

My very little improvement since i started, has been a lil’ discouraging…i practice drawing object like tables stools cups, etc etc by keeping them in front at various angles…but my end sketch is not what the real object is like…some where in btw i depart from the original object and change the proportions or the shape itself…you can say i start designing…May be this happens because of my inabilty to sketch what i see…

More over my lines are not as bold as i see in the sketches posted on this forum and i tend to draw a thousand line to get one line right…

I know only patience and perseverance will pay …but I thought may be using the right aid and method might help…

anyways thanx once again…hope i would be able to post my sketches someday…


Thanks for the props dude. It means a lot.

I know you feel discouraged right now but it sounds like you are on the right track. I write that because the first step to improving is seeing the faults in your own work. Many stuggle getting to that point. The fact that you are stuggling now shows that you are making ground getting up to the next plataue of using that insight to improve your work. I’ve been there, man. There is no way around the learning curve.

I would recomend drawing on graphics 365 paper, or something with a very slight translucence like a light weight bond (not full on trace or vellum though) so that you can overlay your drawings. Do a sketch, pin it up 10-15 feet away, and give it a good look. Take it down and overlay it, keeping the good things and getting rid of the bad. I still do this. To get a hot sketch it can take like 10-15 overlays. It is hard, maybe impossible, to nail: proportion, detail, function, form, styling, definition, lightsource, and innovate all in one pass, take it one at a time.

As far as drawing what you are seeing, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. In fact I would say don’t look at something while you are drawing it. Inspect it from different views. Understand its function, form and construction. And then put it away and draw it from memory.

Keep working at it, it’s worth it. To be able to communicate what is in your mind to others that have no clue what you are talking about is pretty priceless.

I’ve changed my whole sketching style… I’ve been using a a nophoto blue lead and a black pilot pen… The combination is awesome…

i would say the most important part of a sketch in our field is for it to be explicit. by that i mean that it should explain exactly what it does, looks like, scale, everything. this means that it should break away from total realism, in order to emphasize the parts that are the most important, functional, or the focus of the design. not to say that a sketch should be rigid and orthographic, but that it should explain to someone that is totally unfamiliar to the project exactly what is going on here. thats not easy, but that should be your main goal. you can make up for bad elipses in other areas. for the technical skills practice makes perfect. elipses are hard, that and controlling your line, but if you are constantly drawing, even stuff that you know if bad design,hehe, then in time the bugs will work themselves out.

for instruments, i do like a non photo blue, even though it shows up in scans : P. for that rough layer where i map out my sketch, as one would with a non photo, it gives a nice effect to use a light color that reflects the feeling of your concept, if its a cold concept, then non photo blue, if its a warm concept then perhaps a tan or light orange. also a nice light grey always works. at first i think that layering your sketches is the best way to make sure that you are in control. dont just jump to the sharpie, bc youll lay a line wrong and theres no turning back from there. start light and work dark, defining your form as you go.

thats about it for now , ill post more if i can think of what helped me to get better.


you should use whatever instrument you feel comfortable with. keep searching until you find the one that works best.

as far as method is concerned, i think you should study the sketches that have survived time and history-anything you can find even cave paintings. then see what methods have been used to convey the feelings or visuals needed to persuade the on looker to accept the work as something worth considering or exceptionally new and intersting.

you have to combine theory with presentation. it’s your individuality, not the object that makes the difference. that’s why you also have to understand the material language involved. otherwise it would work against you. the perfect method would be to enter the object’s world and understand its rules. each object has a life just like humans do except their life is one that has not been born yet. that’s why you need to analyse why an object would need to come into being.

the object should also express a presence. a finalisation of your thought process that at the same time represents a collective force or energy. it should hold the design or concept together while being partial to general dynamics of a good rendering . that’s when your object finds a life of its own and people start recognising it as being there for a reason. it is crucial to do this if you want to sustain the object beyond the perfect form.

finally i think all this requires a fair amount of research prior to putting your pen to paper.

thanx for all the replies.

It would be great to see images of sketches made using different pens and techniques.

So can everyone post their sketches.

thanx again