One of my favourite things to do when I was younger was draw. I’d lose myself for hours freely sketching whatever ideas came into my head. I didn’t care when or where. Whether it was at the kitchen table, on the living room floor or in the middle of a family gathering, I was as happy as a clam with a pen in my hand. I was obsessed with a certain type of pen too. A pen that was magical. Nothing compared to it. It was the crack cocaine of stationary and I was hooked. Like most class A drugs, they were hard to get hold of. My only source was a newsagents around the corner from my grandparents house in Sheffield. Whenever my brother and I would spend the weekend with them I’d ask my Grandad if we could take the dog for a walk. I wasn’t hugely interested in the stroll but the route we’d take would conveniently pass by the newsagents. I’d scrape together my pocket money, stock up on magical pens and ‘get on it’ for the duration of our stay.
I’ve been at Fiasco Design almost 6 months and I’m already coming to the end of my second sketch book. Thoughtfully scribbling through pages at such a ferocious pace might seem like standard practice for some designers, but that wasn’t always the case for me.
I’ve worked for a number of design studios since graduating. Most allocated little to no time for sketch book work, and it certainly wasn’t encouraged. The main focus was on turning a project around in the quickest amount of time possible. I can see how this would make sense from a business point of view, but this approach leaves little room for real creativity. Inevitably projects end up looking drab and similar, and disgruntled designers are left enviably watching other studios showcase interesting and exciting work that they wish they’d done.
This past week I’ve spent just a hand full of hours sat at my Mac, the rest have been spent discussing and drawing up scamps for a large scale website project that we’re currently working on. Having time to start a project away from a screen has been so refreshing, not just because it reminded me just how much I enjoy sketching but it allowed me to think without distraction too.
It’s easy to overlook using a sketch book or even make time for it with the pressure of project deadlines, but efficiently scribbling ideas with a pen and paper helps to visualise ideas much quicker and encourages experimentation. This way of working is integral to the creative process and getting the best results. Somewhere between university and now I’d forgotten that.
How do you work? Do you use a sketchbook or do you jump straight onto the computer? Get in touch with us on twitter.