Laying the foundation from the start
When you sketch your ideas, you promote discussion, feedback, participation and leave the ‘door open’ to add or take out some of the things you no longer need as the story unfolds.
Also what is great about sketching: It lightens the mood and helps bring stakeholders (if involved) on board because it has a ‘play-like’ quality.
Just about everyone watched cartoons at some point in their childhood and there is a little child in everyone.
But the quality in the sketching process has to be there, otherwise we are likely to antagonize them instead.
It promotes the use of imagination, laughter and curiosity, often the anticipation of how it will go gets all parties excited.
Some of the main benefits for sketching are:
- It is quick
- It is inexpensive
- Can be done anywhere
- It can be changed quickly
- It can generate discussion
- Can be further developed
- You only need pen and paper
- I can provide quite a few laughs
- If done in a group is a good bonding exercise
- Helps your brain come up with quick concepts
- By drawing, you basically open your ‘third eye’ (quieting the mind)
As a UXer, Sketching helps me in the following areas
It helps me think on the go – By practicing constantly I come up with new and more creative ideas, the dexterity in my fingers increases and because is a ‘manual’ process it relaxed me.
I have found my hand writing improves and using my wacom tablet becomes a breeze.
It helps me think outside the box – In one of my lectures during my 'Interaction Design' course, Prof. Elizabeth Gilbert from UC San Diego said she always encouraged ‘crazy ideas’, not only to have a good laugh but they promote solutions that we would not even consider, the crazier the better.
It speeds up the Design process – Now that I have re-discovered sketching, my logos, wireframes, personas, storyboards have improved tenfold and the speed I can produce them with a fair amount of detail in lightning fast.
It helps keep the left and right brain balanced – Wow, hang on a minute you say, what do you mean by left and right brain balance?
It is simple, the left side is the technical, information-fact based side of our brain, it deals with figures, dates, logic, etc.
The right on the other hand is the creative, where abstract concepts, beauty, arts, music, poetry are generated.
By sketching (especially in Design) you keep both hemispheres in ‘balance’ because you are using both parts of your brain simultaneously, using technical knowledge to achieve artistic beauty.
“You promote the peaceful ‘co-existence’ of two vital and yet different aspects of intellectual ‘self’ and by being able to tap into both of them on a regular basis you literally expand your mind as both sides get nurturing and attention, and because you get deeply engrossed in sketching you become meditative and solutions to other problems come flooding in”
Future generations - Planting the seeds
Now as a father I encourage my young sons to draw, colour and paint as much as they can, I find their dexterity improves (they play better Guitar Hero), their imagination is in full swing, their concentration levels increase and their mood is calmer.
In a way I am ‘mentoring’ them by sitting down and drawing with them. The skills they are getting now can be applied in many professional fields in the future, such as: Engineering, Science, Maths and of course Design.
Examples of my son's work
Five Nights at Freddy’s (Kid Horror)
I would like to show examples of my son’s drawings.
The first one is ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ which is a kid's horror show/game my son loves, (not sure why). Here are some of the skills they are developing while sketching:
- Using different line thicknesses and
- To a lesser degree composition
I have also taught them how to use pencils, fine liners, and permanent pens.
Note how pencil is always the first to be applied in order to create the ‘outlines’ or ‘construction’ lines.
When they are finished with the pencil (construction lines), the fine liners come in and then the thicker pens are used for outlines or infills.