I was talking to a coworker last week and we were discussing our undergrad degrees. He admitted that he received his undergrad degree in graphic design whereas I received mine in journalism w/ an empahsis in design. After all his hard work, he realized that he loves drawing and 2-D art more than being on the computer. I’m the opposite. But one thing that we did agree on was sketching always come first.
I didn’t always follow the pencil and paper method; it was a trait that I had to develop. Early on during high school and late middle school, I would rely on mental pictures. I would lay it out in my mind and just hope that it would stay up there long enough for me to get out on the internet. Many times that proved to be a failure because sometimes it would be weeks on top of weeks before I had free time on the computer. By the time I had to pleasure to play around in Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, the idea would be stale or forgotten. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered that drawing was a method that could be used for just ideas down. Odd that it took that long, eh?
It may seem odd but it’s a common pattern with many beginning designers and artists. Starting from scratch on the computer, in theory seems like a good idea. Then three or four hours have passed, the project deadline is upon you and all you have to show for it is a few crop photos scattered across a canvas. No real relation. No real organization. Performing this on one too many projects and you may decide to tweak your habits. I know I did. Yet to this day, I’m still working on it.
Which works better for you?: Designing as you go or sketching before caressing a computer mouse?