There are a few things that I need in my life as a designer and creative professionals. Here are the basic 5 things that I use every day!
1, Pen & Paper
Before jumping into the digital world, pen and paper is definitely the way to go. Whatever you’re sketching, products, cars, fashion, landscapes or maybe concept art, it’s always a good idea to just through down some ideas on paper. This will loosen up your arm and unleash your creativity faster than you think. I usually use a BIC Round Stic which can be found everywhere and for the paper I grab whatever is around me may it be a
napkin, printing paper or if I’m really lucky – marker paper. If you temporarily have what I call sketchers block, check out my linked video on how to unblock your mind and get into a sketching frenzy down below!
Now that you have some scribbles on your sheet of napkin you might wanna add some shades in there to define the sketch more. For this I personally use Copic markers. They do tend to bleed a bit while sketching over the pen lines but I always go back and fill those out as a final step of the sketch. If you don’t want to do this step, Chartpak markers do not bleed. Just make sure you wear a gas mask while using those, they do smell pretty strong.
3, Wacom Tablet
So now we have an amazing sketch in front of us on paper and we want to jump into digital to really make this piece as detailed as we want it. For this I take a photo of my sketch and just import it into Photoshop. Most cell phone cameras are sufficient by todays standard but you could use a scanner if you have one laying around. To sketch I use an ancient Wacom Intuos 3 wide. I can through it in the wall or run it over with the Jeep and it will still be working. I love it. You can find used ones on Ebay for around $80-100. Good deal! Just make sure the power chord is not all worn out. This tends to be a problem with these older tablets.
For the software I use mostly Photoshop to render stuff out. If I’m doing line work and quick ideas I think Sketchbook Pro is the better alternative. It has a better flow to the lines and it feels more natural to me for some
reason. I did try Painter back in the day, I like it for making illustrations and paintings since they have some really nice standard brushes that represents the real life brushes you would use to paint on a canvas. But for product design, car design and concept art Photoshop is great. You can now subscribe to Adobe CC which is the full package of software for a reasonable monthly price instead of buying it for a larger, one time amount.
I know I sometimes need a push to get going with my sketches and designs and it depends on the day where I get that push from and what i want to sketch. Sometimes closing my eyes and listening to a song is a good way to set up the mood in your mind for example landscape paintings and concept art. I think I’ve listened to M83 Oblivion OST about 200 times and all of a sudden there’s a spaceship on my canvas. When working on more industrial design related projects I like to check out Pinterest and a couple tumblr blogs and take a couple of designs I like, mix them up in my head and see what comes out. Another great way which I think a lot of people don’t think about is exercise. It doesn’t have to be an hour heavy lifting at the gym, but just going for a walk or a short jog will definitely get those lines going!
I would love to hear what you guys are using for your sketching and where you get your inspiration from! Feel free to write it down in the comments section or use the contact form. Also let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to answer them 🙂
About the author: Marouane Bembli is a professional industrial designer with a masters degree in automotive design. He is originally from Stockholm, Sweden and currently resides in Florida, USA.
He has worked as a product designer with several companies in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. Through his YouTube channel and blog he provides tutorials on different areas of sketching and how to improve your skills as a designer. Do you have something particular you’re struggling with in regards to your sketching that you would like to see a tutorial on? Send Marouane an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, he will be happy to hear from you.