Often while we're discussing creative ideas we'll reach for a piece of paper and a sharpie. Other times we'll find some empty space on one of our whiteboards. Sketching helps us clarify ideas and get buy-in on concepts. That's because in our 15 years of experience, we've learned that you can never sketch enough.
But sketching is more than quick ideas. We also use it to explain everything from dashboard layout among ourselves to user flows for clients. That means our drawing skills need to be decisive. Straight lines are the difference between your sketches looking like well-articulated ideas and a half-baked thoughts.
One of our senior designers will show you how in this short video. Simple as it sounds, you'll learn the three techniques to drawing a straight line.
Nothing beats watching an expert at work, but here are the key points for your reference:
- Keep a piece of paper under your drawing sheet. This provides a smoother surface for the pen to move across.
- Move your arm, not your wrist, to keep a consistent line weight.
- For practice, close your eyes and focus on not using your wrist.
- Use a pen, not a pencil. The pen forces you to commit to the line.
- Draw the line as soon as you make contact — don't hesitate. Your mind will be overly focused on not drawing the line crooked.
- Don't look at the line as you draw it. Instead, look at a point past the end of the line.
- Practice drawing lines between two dots. Draw 20 pairs of dots on a large piece of paper, spaced far apart, and work down each pair.
- Practice with long lines to make short lines a snap.
- If you miss a line, do it again with the same pair of dots until you get it right.
- Don't worry if you draw past a point. No one will mind, and it helps you with follow-through to the end of the line.
Further Your Skills
Following these steps is a great way to start committing your ideas to paper. If you want to learn more design sketching techniques, we've created an online course to help you out. You'll learn how to create expressive and compelling sketches that communicate concepts from those of us that sketch daily. Here's how the course breaks down:
- Techniques: Starting an interface sketch, how to draw a straight line, colors, representing text, and tools
- Elements: Images, navigation, form elements, sign in, and modals
- Layouts: Profile pages, content pages, marketing pages, and dashboards
- Applications: Ideation sketching, lo-fi wireframes, workflow sketching, sketch flows not site maps, creating prototypes, and sketching ice breakers
You can take the next course online at 9:00 AM PDT July 16.