I’ve heard it so many times: “I can’t sketch a stick-figure to save my life.”
Some people are afraid of showing their drawing to others. They think they’ll be ridiculed if their sketch looks like it was drawn by a five-year old.
In truth, it doesn’t matter if you are good at sketching. The less formal the sketch, the better. In fact, avoid the urge to use a pencil as it leaves too much room for you to ponder, erase, re-draw, second-guess…
But a permanent marker, now you’re talking. A nice big, fat Sharpie is the perfect tool because it requires you to really think through your idea before you put the pen to the paper. “What if it doesn’t work or the layout’s all wrong? ” Great! Grab a new piece of paper and start from where you left off, having learned something valuable in a matter of minutes.
The sketch is not the end goal. The end goal of the drawing process is what you learn while sketching. So don’t worry if you can’t sketch. In fact, if you’re too good you might just fool yourself into thinking your sketch is a deliverable. It’s not. The real value of sketching is that it allows you to explore and refine ideas in a quick, iterative and visual manner with little overhead or learning curve. Rapid ideation around flow and interaction, layout and hierarchy, can be quickly established, rearranged or discarded wholesale—all without ever touching a computer.
One added benefit to sketching your ideas is the ability to share, collaborate and improve upon an idea. Show a stakeholder the sketch and then encourage them to mark it up. You can even give them the red pen and let them revel in the power!
In the end, you will gain a deeper understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, and a head-start on implementing a great design!