Is drawing important for designers?

Is drawing important for designers?

Drawing from Sketchbook © Angie Taylor 1999

It’s a hot debate, as a designer, is it important to have drawing skills? I mean, you don’t need to draw anymore really? Surely computers can do it all for you now, download a few images, treat them with filters, composite them together in Adobe PhotoshopBob’s yer uncle (as we say in the UK!)

But drawing is not only a process used to create finished aesthetic imagery to include in a finished design, it’s much more than that. It’s a learning process that is an important stage in the development of a confident visual language. When you draw something you learn to see with a different, more focused awareness. You start to question why things appear in a certain way, as a result you can understand how things are constructed, how light interacts with surfaces and how colors affect each other. Things that may not occur to you by just simply looking at an object. you need to truly understand these things to make your drawings work. Even if you don’t like your finished drawings, that really doesn’t matter, it’s the process of losing yourself in the craft of drawing that matters.

And it’s never too late to learn, in the Drawing chapter of my book, Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist I talk about my mother who didn’t start drawing till she was in her 70’s. It has made a huge difference to her life and now she can draw and paint like she would never have thought. You can check out excerpts from this chapter using Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature now. The chapter also contains some of the exercises that helped me learn to draw during my time at Art College. There’s also a resources section on this website that contains some tips, tricks and links to useful tutorials, websites and a complete reading list.

Drawing Exercise from Design Essentials book - draw 6 circular objects with the same drawing implement achieving different textures for each

Drawing Exercise from Design Essentials book - draw 6 circular objects with the same drawing implement achieving different textures for each

Writing this book inspired me to include more about drawing in my software tutorial too. I recently recorded a new video training workshop for video2brain on Animation Character Design in Adobe Illustrator which will be available soon. In this tutorial I showed that you don’t need to limit yourself to using traditional drawing materials. In one of the tutorials I show how to create body shapes from primitive shapes and then use Illustrators fabulous drawing tools to sculpt these into more organic shapes, it’s an addictive and very creative process.

So, I hope that you’ll give drawing a chance, pick up whichever implement inspires you to make marks and get sketching! don’t worry about the outcome, just enjoy the process!

Using primitive shapes in Adobe Illustrator to create complex body shapes © Angie Taylor 2010

Using primitive shapes in Adobe Illustrator to create complex body shapes © Angie Taylor 2010

2 Comments

  1. Russell Deviney

    Being new into the video production business I totally agree that drawing is an big part of the creative process in visual arts. I recently began a project where I draw random people from a site called Dailybooth and I begin by selecting a well contrasted photo as a reference. The then draw reference points and outline the drawing. At first I came up with reasonable representations but over the past few months I have really caught onto the realism in the drawings. Following shadows and negative space to produce something I am very proud out. If you would like check out some of my drawings at http://www.dailybooth.comfilmrays. I am dedicating a website to my growing drawings and I plan on continuing until I reach 100 drawings. When I am done I will have a video contest and the winner will win a signed copy of a montage created for the Dailybooth website.

    I would like to thank you for your article and wonderful book.

Leave a Reply