Sketching Workshop: Express, communicate & share

Design, Top tips, UX

My passion for sketching

As a writer would jot down notes for their next book, I have always sketched ideas as soon as I think of them, it’s a memory bank I can come back to wherever I need to.

In high school, I drew short comic stories for the school magazine, and in college I found I was totally hooked. As an art student at University, I fell in love with life and still-life drawing but in hard times found myself out in the cold drawing caricature portraits for a few quid in Leicester Square.

This is where I found my passion to sketch, learnt how to exercise my hands and hold my pencil like a gear stick of a performance car. Ever since, drawing has been my way of expressing myself and explaining an idea.

Over the years, I have filled over tons of sketchpads, notepads and reels of wallpaper. Sketching is therapeutic for me; it allows me to think out loud and to see how I can improve on my idea.

To say I enjoy sketching is an understatement. It fosters the history of where an idea sprung from and allows me to validate the essence of the idea. Sketching is cheap and allows me to quickly discard an idea when required.

Sketch-it Workshop

I find sketching essential to UX designers and architects – whether you are designing a product or service, working in a group or on your own; sketching the experience no matter how basic is as good as writing notes and even better when annotated.

On Thursday 26th April 2017, with the encouragement of RMA’s Clare Munday – Experience Director, I had the pleasure of conducting a sketching workshop for UX designers and architects at our office on Curtain Road. The session lasted an hour in which I covered;

  • The approach to thinking about sketching and the benefits;
  • Tips and tools;
  • Where to start your sketch;
  • Sketching templates;
  • Getting it right;
  • The power of hand-drawn sketching.

The group warmed up by sketching some basic icons, while I explained how objects are made up of basic shapes – for example a home icon is made up with a combination of a triangle and two rectangles. The participants were not told how to sketch or what style was required, neither did they have to follow my style of sketching, but were given hints on how to gain confidence in their own personal way of sketching.

The workshop exercise was to sketch a storyboard of purchasing a birthday card on a touch screen kiosk – a storyboard template was provided to with some hints. Sharpies, Promarkers pencils and A3 paper storyboard templates were also provided.

Benefits of Sketching

While I love sketching and enjoyed passing on my passion and sharing my sketching tips to my colleagues, there are some real benefits to sketching that my colleagues can now enjoy.

Technology makes it easy for us to directly translate our ideas from our minds directly to our computers, which doesn’t allow us time to develop our ideas gradually. Expressing your ideas on paper makes it easier to restructure them, transforming the initial idea into new ones. It also:

  • Helps you to communicate better
  • Is cheap and disposable
  • Increases the chances of creating the killer idea
  • Gives you the freedom to sketch anywhere

The artistic quality of a sketch is irrelevant although it may help. The goal of a sketch is functional and about generating ideas, solving problems, and communicating ideas effectively with your team or client.


The artistic quality of a sketch is irrelevant although it may help. The goal of a sketch is functional and about generating ideas, solving problems, and communicating ideas effectively with your team or client.

Tips & Tools

And finally, sketching is similar to handwriting, if you can learn the basics of drawing lines and shapes, the more you sketch the more comfortable and confident you become. Here are some of my key tips and tools to get you started:

  • Don’t hesitate – just sketch it
  • Practice, sketch whenever the opportunity arises
  • Use sharpies more often
  • Promakers help add subtle highlights and depth to the final stages of a sketch
  • Avoid erasers if you can
  • B grade pencils are great
  • Grid paper, pencils, pens, sharpies
  • Paper 53, iPad pro, Apple Pencil
  • Wacom graphic tablet and pen
  • Table napkins and pen
  • Steamed windows and fingers

Special thanks to Mischa Weiss-Lijn, Head of UX and Clare Munday, Experience Design for organising the workshop and allowing me to share.

To find out more about our User Experience Design capabilities contact the team at or visit About Us

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