Why Sketching First Matters in Design

– I work with a lot of
aggressive deadlines. And the only way that I’m able
to try a ton of variations, until I find the right
idea is by sketching. (light synth beats) I start every project on
paper, with these hands. These hands and this tool, the pencil. It’s much faster than with a mouse, and the cursor on the computer. By simply starting on
paper I’m not limited by any fonts, or effects. And I’m able to explore
different variations, and you know, with the
letters that I’m working with, I can explore the different
pieces and how they fit together and the weird connections. And that’s things you can’t
really explore on the computer. And Illustrator won’t show
you that sort of stuff. At least not as fast. Sketching is my way of thinking out loud, and recording all of my
ideas like instantaneously. And it’s crazy how much
just sketching can help you find your own style. You know, when you just use your hands, when you do your lettering
and your illustrations. You know, those are
things people can’t mimic. And some of my favorite
designs have been done purely by my hands and with a sharpie,
or with a pen or pencil. And so if you look at any
designs on my website, they all started on paper. And actually, this stack, this stack right here, is pretty much all of
the designs I’ve done in the past couple of years. And, why do it all on like computer paper? Well, this is a lot more
freer for me to deal with when I’m tracing, and you know, rotating, and when I’m hand lettering stuff. So, and I’m left handed so like with the binding of the books, it’s, I like computer paper. But don’t worry, I also recycle. And it’s also important
to say that your sketching doesn’t have to be good. My sketching and my doodles
are just like chicken scratch. But, it’s just a way for
me to think out loud, and to get it all out onto one place, before I go on the computer. And, you know, be able to find the right direction for the project. So, let me flip through this
and find kind of an example of, here’s one. Okay, so I was working on
Andrew McMahon’s march line last year and so here
are some of the sketches. I mean, again it’s just like
complete chicken scratch. And this one in particular
this motorcycle design. Which now that I look at it, looks like a, but anyway. I knew I wanted it to be a lyric t-shirt, with his name as the
priority, with lyrics, and then just sort of fill it
with some sort of illustration which then I turned into this, which was a very rough pencil sketch, and I went over it and inked it. And this looks really crazy and rough, but I filled in all these
things on the computer. And actually, here is the t-shirt right here. So this is how it turned out. From this crappy sketch to
this really rough drawing, onto this t-shirt. So, as you can see,
sketching can look rough, it doesn’t have to be perfect. But it’s a way to flush
out all of your ideas, and when I have such tight deadlines, that’s the way that I can
find that right direction to go to on the computer. Because once I have an idea
that I’m excited about on paper I’m just even more excited to execute it. So on your next project
consider just starting on paper. You can still look at your computer, for inspiration and things. But rather than
screenshotting and using that, and sort of maybe making things on there, just take what you like
and put it on paper. So that when you take it from paper and do it on the computer and execute it. It’s gonna be your own. This has been one of the smallest things that have really helped
me try to somewhat find my own style in my work. Because you know, people can’t just mimic what you can do with your hands. I got a ton of work to get back
to, a lot of sketches to do, and I hope you do as well. So, I hope you enjoyed this video. Click the thumbs up button if you did, and consider subscribing
if you wanna stick around for my next video. Alright, that’s enough for me today. So let’s get back to work. (light synth beats)


  • RJay Talent

    Great video, great advice. Thanks alot

  • Bethsaida Romelus

    I design emails. With every email, i sketch it first on an index card. Sketching allows me to implement my designs faster. When I go into Photoshop, I can create wire-frame from my sketches. Sketching allows you to think first, then design later. It saves time

  • Brookes Eggleston - Character Design Forge

    This is super true, recently broke through a mental block by going back to pencil and paper from my typical digital setup. Something about the tooth of the paper and the lack of an undo button really helped recenter me. Plus, as you showed, the best stuff starts as sketches!

  • Ellis Owens

    Thank you Brent, this video has gave me inspiration and motivation to start drawing before creating again. Keep going with the awesome content man!

  • Stephanie Noel

    Great tips Brent! I actually find it more easy to sketch with pencil more often. I am not the best drawer but I do it because I find my thoughts are more focused than being on a computer. When I am on the computer it can be more distracted like those notifications, and temptations to go online or something. Great video.

  • Abdulah Đulan

    I don't find any other way as exciting and useful at the same time. Thank you, Brent !

  • Lennys Castillo

    thank you for the tip

  • Cody Plant

    Its been to long brent.

  • BirdyRC

    Being a freelance designer, do you have to have illustration skills? I'm really bad at drawing but I love making logos and branding businesses.


    What Camera do you use?

  • Melinda Halligan

    Just started to draw. Thanks for the tips

  • Robert Loyale

    You definitely want to sketch first. Such a time saver!

  • Anh Do - Anhdodes

    Thank you Brent πŸ˜€

  • e-falcon Egypt

    perfect well done πŸ™‚

  • Y A S H_ __Y A D A V

    Great video again ! Can you do a video on making high definition brushes by our own, (ink splatter) ? I try to find them online but they are usually not HD. thanks!

  • I am Sarai

    I agree, sketching helps me so much

  • Wasie Gwebu

    Man, I've been sending some signals looking for Graphic designers on youtube and I'm glad I've stumbled on your page, yeah another sub for you my new friend!

  • Srishti Agrawal

    your hair color is pretty cool

  • Totoro the Traveller

    Hey Brent! Discovered your channel today and love your videos! Stay creative, the t-shirts you do look very cool! (so sad I can't wear one of them!)

  • Drashya Kushwah

    Thank you soo much brent…
    I am new to freelancing and kind of confused about how to do thing.. but your this video helps me a lot.. πŸ™‚

  • H A L E E M A T R A V E L S

    I completely agree. They have all these high tech gizmos like Wacom and the iPad. But nothing really beats good ole pencil and paper!

  • Ayesha Amin

    Loved this video! I am also a T-shirt designer. Cheers!

  • aj FABRICS

    Hi bro plz teach me step by step ,how to that sketches into grapic designd what's the computer application you should use for it..? Then how to submit our work..? Plz brother i just wait for your reply

  • Joseph Benitez

    Are you still in Columbus? Would you be willing to meet up for coffee so I can pick your brain about design and YouTubing?

  • Aoife Cham

    This is like a hidden gem!! Thank you so much for showing!!

  • Purushotham Pulivarthi

    which software do you use to make to convert paper drawings to digital sketches

  • Shannon Clark

    I think it just depends on what you’re used to and comfortable with. You can explore ideas quickly on a computer too. You can even just rough out a few sketches in photoshop if you have a tablet.

  • Anmol Shelke

    i dont know from where to start , was crazy to win those contest on freelance sites but never win even if i got 5 stars idk why can you plz guide me wht to improve and on what should i work on , i like to work die hard on graphics but can you suggest me any platform where i can earn quite good along with my portfolio

  • Anmol Shelke

    can you plz tell me which book to buy for logo designing πŸ€” covering all basics and stuff tht i must know , thought to buy logo modernism but dono how it is , or anything else you recommend to get some serious skills plzzzz help

  • Battambang Innovation

    great idea, πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • Mauro

    In which part of the video do you talk about Field Notes tho?

  • Andrew Laboy

    thank you


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