In-house workshops for sketching?


I’m interested in offering a full-day in-house workshop for students and staff in regards to developing and refining ideation sketching, schemtaic sketching and sophisticated representation of ideas. Has anyone offered anything similar in their school? The videos available here are great, but I want to build on these.


Hi Kate,

I’ve been asked by a few people to deliver things like this recently but I don’t have the time. However I’d be happy to contribute some ideas and suggestions to to you or any other teachers interested in developing such content.

If anything comes of it I’d like to see sharing of ideas and exercises here in the forums.


Good afternoon Andrew. Thanks for your reply, and more importantly thank you very much for all of your contributions in ensuring that this subject is a success. I’m very much looking forward to engaging with the kids in this new area.


You’re very welcome.

I was discussing this with a teacher earlier this week. He was asking if I or a recent graduate would be able to deliver weekly or fortnightly sketching classes to teachers and students at his school. I don’t have time for that but current QUT design students might be able to help in some measure (perhaps not that frequently) if the pay is fair.

Anyway, I’ll relate what I said to him about sketching in general.

  1. Design sketching traditions vary considerably across the design disciplines. All designers draw to some degree but how and when varies tremendously.
  2. Formal presentation renderings are the most commonly seen by lay people, the most polished and impressive, and also the most intimidating to learn.
  3. Design development sketches are, however, the bread and butter of the design process but they’re rarely seen by lay people, varied in style, easier and much faster to do, and ultimately much more useful to learn.

I don’t believe it’s practical for design teachers to be familiar, let alone proficient, with all sketching and presentation techniques from all design disciplines. My suggestion is for teachers to focus on the less glamorous but more accessible and useful ideation sketching, at least in the early Design syllabus units.

I’d also encourage acceptance of a wide variety of design visualisation tools and techniques. Anything that helps a student think about and refine their design ideas should be embraced. This is why we tend to use the term ‘visualisation’ rather than ‘sketching’ because it doesn’t imply that drawing on paper is the only way of thinking and communicating.

For example, a student might visualise an architectural design using successively more detailed 3D scale models in cardboard, foam and paper (or Lego®, or, for that matter, Minecraft®. I’m not so sure about cake though.)

It’s still useful and, more importantly, interesting, to see how professional designers visualise, ideally through live demonstrations but perhaps also via video case studies, as long as students and their teachers don’t feel compelled to reach professional standards. Don’t get scared off!

Sorry for the long post.

Some videos I came across while writing this post:

Cardboard building sketch model:

Paper prototyping for interaction design (this is a technique designers really use):

Architectural use of plan and elevation views and tracing using detail paper (‘yellow trace’):

Here’s a very accessible grid paper and cutout approach for interior design room planning:

This sketch has some quite technical content but note that the thinking takes place in top down ‘plan’ and side ‘elevation’ views: