You often ask me if I sketch my icons first, and how important sketching in general is. Well, let me tell you without a shadow of a doubt – sketching is an essential part of icon design! Why so important? Here are 6 reasons why you should start sketching now:
1. Sketching is FUN!
Let me tell you a secret: there are times when I think I love sketching more than the actual vectorising of my icons. It wasn’t always like that though. People tend to dislike things they don’t know or are not used to. When you first start sketching, it may feel unnatural and uncomfortable. But I promise, once you get through that first phase, you’ll fall in love with it! Trust me, you’ll see the benefits of sketching, and it will eventually become an inseparable part of your design process. You know, the hardest thing is always to start, right?
2. Sketching Brings Out The Best Idea
If you head straight to the Illustrator with your first idea, you put yourself at a huge risk of getting stuck with it. As sad as it may sound, the first idea is not always the best one. Brainstorming icon ideas in your sketchbook is a great way to find the best suitable icon! Next refining and exploring different variations will make the icons perfect in the end.
3. Clients Love Sketches
Oh yes, they do! I always try to share my working process with the clients. No wonder they love it – sketches help them understand how much effort I put into the project, and they appreciate the result much more.
They see that you do not simply come up with few easy breezy icons to make it quick, but actually do work! Sketches really help you “sell” your designs to the clients.
4. Your Sketchbook Is Your Inspiration
Rule number One: Always carry your sketchbook with you! You never know when or where an inspiration might find you. After a while your sketchbook will become your biggest source of inspiration. Occasional going through its pages will bring the memories of all the great projects you have been working on. You will also notice the mistakes you have made earlier, and will come up with the perfect solutions to improve your icons.
Also, nothing motivates more than seeing how far you’ve gone and how much better you’ve become! Seriously, your sketchbook is your best motivation and inspiration.
5. Sketching Is A Timesaver!
It’s a common mistake to think that sketching doubles the time spent on the project. Well, guess what? It doesn’t! Believe it or not, but sketching actually saves plenty of time.
Think of all those hours you spent refining and redrawing icons in Illustrator. It wouldn’t be such a time-consuming torture if you sketched first. Since sketching doesn’t take a lot of time, you can try out different variations and symbols. If you do all that directly in Illustrator, it will take twice the time, I’m telling you.
6. Sketching Is For Everyone!
That’s the best part: you don’t have to be good at drawing to sketch!
Lots of you keep saying you can’t draw. You know what, me neither! Surprise! You don’t need to know how to draw to make simple sketches. Sketching is about finding and refining the best ideas, not about making perfect drawings. Eventually, you’ll get better at sketching if you start doing it consistently. The more you sketch, the better you get. Simple as that.
Don’t rush straight to your computer when you get a new project. Calm down, sit and relax, turn your favourite music on, take your sketchbook and do some sketches. Enjoy it. You don’t need to be in your office or studio. Go to you beloved coffee shop or sketch while sitting under a tree somewhere in the park.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll see how fast you will fall in love with sketching and become better at icon design.
Stay sketching, space cowboys!