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Importance of Freehand Sketching: Connection between the Mind, the Hand and the Paper

July 12, 2020

digitization taking over raw skills and paperwork, there has been a rise in
software produced artwork over simply hand drawn ones. This has led to a rapid
increase in students depending on digital resources for basic idea developments
and a considerable decrease in use of soft skills like sketching to express
themselves. Thus, it becomes all the more important to understand the
importance of soft skills in the design field.

to the Cambridge Dictionary, Sketching is a natural way for people to
explain and understand complex ideas and to perform visual and spatial
reasoning. It’s in human nature to try to explain ideas using visuals. The
medium of producing these visuals is our hand, because it is the closest
receptor of the brain after the eyes. There is always a thought related to any
sketch done. The thought, naturally gets converted into a visual expression
through sketching as per the medium used. A sketch is a simple quickly made
drawing with not much detail. While the meaning of sketching has evolved with
time, the meaning of a sketch too has gained many different expressions through
varied talents around the world.

sketching is not only a skill or tool; it is a way of expression.

It is not necessary to sketch only
while working or while brainstorming on ideas. The bonding of the hands with
the mind could also be connected to the eyes. Whatever a designer perceives in
the daily life could be an inspiration for translation as well. One of the examples,
to explain this is sketching while travelling. Many designers love to record
their experiences and travel stories in form of sketches. These could be in any
medium, like pen, pencil, watercolour, pencil colours, painting and just be part
of little pocket sketchbooks. As seen in Fig 1, Rutujahas
used colourful mediums to express her perception of a villa, while in Fig
; Mrunmayee has used only basic pencil and pen with a touch or colours
to sketch out the elevation of a heritage site.

Every designer has a unique expression
of the same place or scene. The connection of the mind and hand with the paper
is a strong relationship. If the mind is restricted to a certain type of
thoughts or gets distracted with limited resources, this relationship gets
disturbed. Thus, practise becomes necessary for sketching. As the initial forms
of sketching, one’s often taught to draw lines, circles and shapes. This is to
make the hand more used to the paper, pencil and expressions. Pencil as a tool
is more responsive on paper in variable shades. The pressure exerted by the
hand as it moves across the paper creates lines of varying thickness and tones,
thus helping in the perception of light, shade and depth. It’s truly
interesting how just the pressure of the hand helps to create different types
of lines with a simple pencil.

With regular practise, and using
mediums like pencil and paper, the mind becomes comfortable to common ways of
expressions. This helps to resolve complex ideas as the mind is now routinely
trained to resolve ideas through the medium of sketching. This helps to
increase the speed and results in a variety of expressions. Sometimes it
becomes all the more important to let go of certain thoughts in form of random
scribbling as well. Scribbling and doodling are parts of sketching. These are
important forms of self expression and help the mind focus on more important

It is
important as a designer, to be able to put down the ideas and concepts for
exploration. It’s important to document and analyse the ideas. Design cannot be
done without an idea or concept. Design is an approach to find a solution to a
given problem and the problem needs to be questioned. Everything has reasoning.
The power of reasoning that humans possess is beautiful in its own way. And
expressing this reason is another step forward which can be achieved through

As seen in Fig
, one of the students, Garima Muthiyan, has tried to put all her
ideas in bold as well as raw forms. It’s to help clear her thoughts while
putting them down on paper and refine the ideation process. Similarly in Fig
, the pencil sketches of different furniture come as an expression of
her ideas of a pouffe which eventually leads to the final design.

designer’s mind is full of stories and ideas. Skilfully translating those
stories into unique forms, results in unique designs. Freehand sketching is an
integral part of the expression in design allowing you to begin with an idea, explore
it thoroughly and translate it into workable design solutions.

So, just pick up any paper, a simple pencil and ‘Sketch
to Express!’

Kriti Malkani, Assistant Professor, School of Interior Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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