Sketching with the next generation

Alex and Spencer trekked up to Inglemoor High School to share their sketching skills with students in the innovative Engineering and Design program.  The program’s goal is to introduce students in an authentic way to the world of design and engineering – through the lens of sustainability.  Instructor Mike Wierusz teams with local industry leaders to guide students through hands-on exercises and projects culminating in capstone presentations.

Being able to communicate ideas through sketching is a huge part of what we do as designers. We use sketching every day to quickly explore ideas and convey them to those we collaborate with.  This means communicating to not only other designers, but engineers, marketers and management.

The first key point we emphasized to students was that no sketch is sacred and that you have to learn to draw quickly. While an artist might spend hours or days on an illustration to get it perfect, designers must be able to create a sketch (or hundreds) in a short period of time. When learning to sketch, you will make lots of small mistakes.  As long as your sketch conveys your intent to your audience, the misplaced lines won’t matter.  With proper technique those mistakes will also fade away into the background. Through the class sessions we examined and practiced one, two, and three point perspective and then put what we taught to use by sketching objects we found around the room. Rulers and erasers were forbidden. At the end of each sketch session, we would all join together in crumpling up our papers and shooting them into the recycling bin. This helped the students to stop worrying about their ability level and simply practice without fear of being graded on the outcome.  And as we all know, practice makes better.