Drawing techniques for product designers.
By Koos Eissen & Roselien Steur
Hi everyone, Alex here.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the book that helped me understand and love sketching. Far from being a fancy tool for Instagram, sketching is a tool to elevate your designs: helping you explore your ideas faster, easily test proportions and shape, and above all, become a real creative. Every designer has their own set of skills, sketching should be your foundation.
A quick video to show you this:
I bought this book when I was working as a designer in Taiwan about 10 years ago.
For those who don’t know, the beginning of my career was made between the USA and Asia. It’s only after that I came back to France, Spain and London.
I was working for a design consultancy called Pilotfish, then switched to designing electronics (laptops, routers, smartphones, etc…) for ASUS / PEGATRON.
As a European designer, being in Taiwan was just perfect for me as all the production and manufacturing was accessible right there. A perfect place to learn and develop your manufacturing knowledge (which I still see lacking in many European designers).
Still at this time, I was SUPER JUNIOR! My understanding of the design process was decent, my rendering wasn’t too bad, my CAD skills… not brilliant. One thing I had for myself was creativity and problem solving. But still, being a designer is a complex job and you need more than these skills to succeed. And so even my strengths, I could not really use it as my sketching skills were very average / not very jazzy.
And I found and bought this book (No Instagram at that time). The shipping costs to Taiwan were about half a kidney at that time but I loved the idea of having an Industrial design book shelves.
It started with this page.
I opened a few pages…. And I got stuck to this very page where we see a simple shadow applied on a simple milk box container.
A very nice sketch, but we’ve seen much better, haven’t we?
Now, if you haven’t done it yet, you will need to watch the video to understand the 2 simple things I learned from this page, which have unlocked my sketching path.
So the book is organized in different steps, going from simple to complex
1 – Side view sketching
2 – Perspectives (little text but good explanations on the visuals)
You have real case studies too.
3 – Simplify shapes: How do you break down complex volumes so it is easier to sketch them
4 – Shading and how to use contrasts. This part is crucial and that is what I insist all the time with the students of the leManoosh sketching courses, you need to increase contrasts to make your sketches look good.
5 – Ellipses and circular shapes
6 – Rounding your shape
7 – Cross sections
8 – Various projects
Well, a generous plan! Which is why it is a good book for you to grow into a better designer. The downside is that the sketches are a bit old but the techniques of sketching remain the same. Placing a shadow 10 years ago is the same as placing a shadow nowadays. The laws of physics haven’t changed yet!
Ho! And the news of today...
Alright guys, I hoped the video above and my little story here was useful for you. I receive quite a lot of emails here on courses and sketches but I’m always happy to reply to you guys when you have questions, so feel free to email me whenever you need (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you want to find the book, here are a few links to Amazon and to the new “Books” page. Feel free to send me new references if you want me to review them or if you think they are relevant to the community.
More in-depth videos...
For those who want to learn more, you can always download these videos which explain simple techniques to unlock your creativity and improve yoru sketching.