August 2, 2020

How to make a quality sketch

By Anthony

Even if you are a designer who does not work with illustration, one hour or another you will have to draw, even if it is only to represent an idea for your client or when you are creating different solution options for a certain project.

Something that adds a lot of value and helps in building the concept of your project are the sketches, also called sketches. It is much more interesting when we see in a portfolio a work that presents the sketchs that were developed until the appropriate solution for the project is found.

But as important as developing sketches is that you create attractive sketches, and in this post I’ll give you some tips that I like to use in the creation of my sketches.

1 – Draw only the essentials

The main goal of the sketch is to convey an idea or the concept of a project or illustration, so you do not need to draw all the details of it. The exception is when you use the sketch as the basis for a vectorization, in which case you draw with as much detail and already preparing for scanning.

But in the case we are dealing with in this post it gets a lot more interesting when the sketch gets a little “unfinished”, I put this term in quotation marks because drawing a sketch is not simply drawing something without finishing.

As I said in the beginning you need to draw the essential to convey your idea, evaluate your sketch constantly and see if the proposal is getting clear, leave some parts of the sketch only with the silhouette or with a partial fill for example.

This aspect leaves the sketch with that charm of drawing done by hand, done quickly during your creative process.

2 – Use a color pencil

Something I really like to do in my sketches and always recommend, is that you start your drawing using crayons.

This is a technique widely used in the creation of comics but that I ended up bringing to my sketches in graphic design and illustration.

The colored line can be eliminated when the sketch is scanned, leaving your sketch with a much more interesting aesthetic than when it is created with only the graphite line.

In addition to ensuring a little color and beauty to the strokes you still have the advantage of the color pencil is less attractive when used along with the graphite, this ends up making the drawing made with the color pencil serve mainly as a “skeleton”, facilitating the understanding of your drawing.

3 – Make light strokes

Something that helps a sketch to become aesthetically more attractive are features made with lightness. The light strokes reinforce the aspect of drawing done quickly as the idea comes to mind.

Avoid making too strong strokes or tracing over the same line several times, this makes your sketch more coarse.

The tip here is always to start by making the “skeleton” of your drawing and gradually accentuate the outline, always remembering to draw only the essential.

When you draw very strong or coarse lines you end up losing the look that your sketch was made in a fluid way and consequently you lose a little of the aesthetic quality in the stroke.

4 – Finish with drawing pencil

After drawing with the color pencil and creating the general shape of the drawing, yes you can start applying a little more detail using the drawing pencil or the pencil.

Sketch lightly, consistently but also in a relaxed way. At this stage you can start putting some details in your sketch but remember not to detail it all.

You can also do some filling and small light and shadow effects.

5 – Use the pen in some points

Finish your sketch with the pen, I particularly prefer the nankim pens. Choose some very specific points to apply the ink such as the outline of the drawing.

I don’t recommend that you fill large areas with ink as this will take the charm out of the pencil, try to emphasize the fine lines and silhouettes of the sketch.

Here is also worth the idea of leaving a little “unfinished”, the goal is not to make the final art of drawing but to highlight some parts that are interesting to be presented with the ink.


If you are not yet in the habit of making sketches I recommend that you start as soon as possible because this adds a lot of value to your work, both in the creative part, since you will express your ideas better, as well as in the visual part, since you will be able to show these sketches in the presentation of your project.

I hope these tips have been useful for you and that they can help you improve your creative results.

Share with us there in the comments if you usually make sketches and what your drawing style is like when you make sketches.