Pencil Sketch Artist BiographySource(google.com.pk)
We spend good part of our time in front of a monitor, most likely we have more than one computer, not mentioning iphones, graphic tablets and all the other ultra modern devilries that invade our desks. We are all part of the generation that need a mouse to leaf through an album with the family photos (goodbye to dear family albums with the pages left to yellow) and Facebook to send birthday wishes to a friend. 20 examples of great “sketch” inspired sites included!
Yet, in the middle of this digital era, the best allies of a web designer are common tools that can be bought with the change under your couch cushions. I’m talking about making pen, pencil and paper a part of the creative process that other “non-digital” designers have been using for ages: sketching.
With this article we’ll treat an argument that certainly many of you will have at heart: we’ll see in fact how sketching can help us arrange the ideas, design an effective layout and – why not- give a fresh and original touch to our design.
Sketching As Part of the Planning Process
Imagine this scenario: We have just finished an exhausting briefing with our client and now it’s the moment to rearrange the ideas. We know the preferences and needs of our client; On this basis we should be able to set the layout we have to design. The problem is the quantity of information we have to consider! We defined that in the homepage we have to put a slider and a visible call-to-action which invites to a contact, the pages of the site will be seven and we must also include the latest news in the homepage and so on.
At this point, I assure you, opening Photoshop with the pretension of creating an effective layout is useless; without a plan for what you have to draw in the detail, you’ll be blocked and forced to essentially design without enough foresight to make intelligent decisions. This often means more work later on, fixing what could have been done right the first time with just a bit of work sketching.
Sketching offers something unique to web designers… it helps us organize large amounts of information into manageable pieces that we can design around.
Instead, if you have the fortune of being able to metabolize concepts and ideas in a design, most likely you’ll forget something important, with the result of having to put your hands on the layout again for the second time. And, you probably also know that there are layouts that even with a small change get completely altered and lose their communicative and aesthetic effectiveness… a really frustrating result indeed.
A few pieces of advice on how to proceed without losing your head? Get pen and paper…
Mark the key words that must distinguish the company and that you want in front of your eyes during the project phase, so that not to lose the focus on want you have to represent graphically. Avoid complicated phrases and concepts, be organic: the more immediate you are, the more your mind can process the information quickly and easily.
Always in a schematic way, possibly as a list, write down the information useful for the design phase. What you have to do is record on paper only the information and concepts that you’ll need once you open the graphic program.
Ration out the information in stages, so that every phrase is as straightforward as possible. If you still have to design the layout of the homepage, don’t take notes on the contents to be included in the contacts page: avoid confusion and distraction. Note the information on different sheets of your notebook, so that you can be concentrated on one single step at a time.
This first phase of sketching regards the elaboration of the information in a schematic and simple way. You’re probably thinking that all this rigor and discipline has nothing to do with creativity and imagination and you want a change of scenery? Okay, let’s move up to the next step.
Sketching As Part of the Creative Process
We said that the sketching is a creative process, but want does this mean in practice?
We can consider the sketching as a “middle land” between the information in our possess and the layout we’ll end up planning. In this territory, hostile and magic, we find colors, fonts, boxes, ideas, inspiration, textures, images, sensations, doubts…and much more. Useless saying that in the middle of all this it’s easy to be confused and to find the right idea, the idea that works and that makes us proud to be a designer.
I think that there’s nothing more irritating than finding oneself in front of a blank sheet, waiting for inspiration that is supposed to come from who knows where, and winding up with creating ugly layouts (then if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll be engaged with a colleague that takes the most of the situation to tell you that your work sucks without bothering to sweeten the pill so that it doesn’t hurt your sensibility as a creative).
One of my own sketchbooks… we’ll revisit this later.
Personally I passed some rough times with a few clients: inspiration didn’t want to come and my graphic proposals made me be ashamed of myself. I passed hours looking at gallery sites, feeling even more depressed because it seemed like everybody were able to create beautiful layouts, the only person who wasn’t able to put two rectangles together in a nice way was me.
In my case the ease of the pressure was made easy with the help of a pencil.
Give the kicking start to one’s creative process on paper frees in fact your imagination, allowing you to work in a more spontaneous and stimulating way.
Especially if the project you’re working on is huge and rich of technical details, considering all this, the first phase can certainly be castrating for the creative flux, not to mention the debilitating fear “to fail” that affects many designers: caught in the craving to do fast and well, we often remain paralyzed in front of the monitor unable to rearrange the ideas and channel them in the right direction.
Therefore, before starting to work on whatever kind of graphic program, get pen and paper and… sketch! Scribble, jot down a couple of ideas, start tracing a kind of abstract design to get familiarity and after free your intuition. You’ll analyze afterwards the ideas, now just let yourself go and avoid logic and rationality, they won’t help you in this phase.
Outline the layout, put down a couple of notes , erase it all, start again: during this process your mind works fast and frenetically, so take note of everything before this intuitive phase dims down! You’ll discover that giving complete freedom to your ideas is pleasant and relaxing, besides useful.
Make Mistakes… on Purpose
The first idea will rarely be the right one, be prepared to accept it. Sketching helps you to unblock yourself and seize different graphic opportunities that could be right for you immediately and lightly, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t commit mistakes in this phase. The positive thing is that even if you make mistakes in this phase you can always tear the sheet, sharpen the pencil and start all over again on a new sheet. Throwing away a layout created with Photoshop, just because you realized that it’s not the best solution for your case is without doubts demotivating.
Sketch, Don’t Wireframe
At such matter, I advice you not to confuse sketching with the creation of WireFrame: we’re talking about two different things, even if I see there’s some confusion about the argument. A few days ago a web designer told me, quoting his exact words “ah, you use pen and paper? I do everything online” , mentioning a site that permits to create mockups with a mathematical precision, with a complete control on colors and typography.
Well, this is not sketching, this is completely another thing. Clicking with the mouse on some buttons to make appear some rectangles doesn’t permit you to give a shape to your ideas and free your creative flux, try to believe. With this statement I don’t doubt the utility of a good wireframe, I just want to underline the differences between these two approaches.
Put away your craving for precision, ruler and compass! In this phase there’s no room for order and rigor, so don’t limit the creative flux, blocking yourself on margins and white spaces, you can think about them later. In the same way, don’t worry if you’re not particularly artistically gifted and your manual abilities hardly allow you to hold a pencil: sketching is used for reordering the ideas not for forming gifted artists.
At this regard we must add that even if sketching was born as a free mean of expression of imagination and creativity apart your graphic abilities, this doesn’t mean that the sketch doesn’t also have, in a certain way, an artistic value. Let’s see together what I’m talking about.
Sketching As Part of the Design Process
The tendency of many web designers to sketch has given the kicking start to a real graphic style that recalls somehow the aesthetic aspects of the sketching: we have brushes that mime its spontaneity and lightness, not to mention hundreds of fonts in hand-written style easily found in the web. Thanks to such resources creating today a layout in sketch style is quite easy, but besides this designs that use this graphic style usually have a touch of originality that make them appealing and out of the common run.
The sketch style, just because it’s associated to an activity common to many creatives, is often used in sites of freelancers or of communication/design agencies that want to transmit this concept graphically.
Anyway, even the combination of some sketch elements to a more traditional graphic can give a fresh perspective to otherwise ordinary designs.
Let’s see how some sites have used this style in an effective and original way and how this has influenced the aesthetic and the effectiveness of their layouts.