To draw or not to draw — that is the question, and it’s a controversial one among designers. Some say it isn’t mandatory for designers to know how to draw nowadays, but others maintain that it’s a must-have skill for every artist. Famous concept artist Bryant Koshu shares these views:
I once heard my colleague say: “I’m a designer but I can’t draw.” In his opinion, his job was about designing and searching for optimal solutions rather than creating art. But after a while, he enrolled in a drawing course to learn the basics and didn’t regret it.
I’ve been working in the creative industry for more than ten years and for most of my career, I’ve been an artist. I’ve created concepts for movies, animations and children’s toys at Yellow Tracksuit Entertainment, developed characters for Konami’s Dragon Collection, and made environments for AAA and VR projects.
Gold Saucer from FFVII, find more Bryant’s work here
Every time, I worked side-by-side with designers. On MLB Dream Nine, I even did some graphic design. Let me tell you: drawing skills are a cool thing to have. Of course, some designers can manage to do their job without these skills, like UX designers. However, in graphic, motion and web design, having drawing skills really boosts your level.
To help artists learn these skills, I’m launching a drawing course for beginners. However, I think it’ll also be useful for designers. To prove it, here are five ways drawing skills can help designers with their work.
Strengthen Visual Theory
How do you choose and combine colors? How do you create a composition and an appropriate rhythm to your drawing? How do you draw in the right perspective? These are questions designers have to ask themselves almost every day. If they have strong drawing skills, they’ll be able to easily resolve these issues.
That’s because these two spheres are closely intertwined and affect each other. The Rhode Island School of Design’s bachelor program in graphic design is one of the best in the world, and has drawing classes in its foundation year syllabus.
Drawing skills are crucial for designers who work with artists on a daily basis. If designers have a good understanding of the process of creating an illustration, then they can properly write briefs, evaluate the amount of work that needs to go into it and give constructive feedback.
Enhance Creative Thinking
According to recent research results published in the scientific journal PLOS One, drawing can help to stimulate brain function, form neural links and improve concentration.
I’ve also experienced it myself many times. Usually, when I find it hard to express the idea that’s come to mind, I start sketching. It feels just like meditation — you draw anything you think of or see around you — the stuff on your table, people’s silhouettes, different abstract forms, etc. During these meditations, I often come up with new ideas that I end up using later in my work.
It works the same way for designers. If it’s hard for you to create a new mockup, poster, style or identity, try sketching first! Sometimes the most unexpected things can inspire you and bring about fantastic and creative results.
I’m sure every designer aims to optimize their workflow, and be faster and more efficient, and practicing digital drawing can help you with that. Do you want to know how exactly? Here’s a perfect example to explain:
Let’s imagine you just got commissioned to come up with a logo design. You create 10, 20 or 30 rough sketches on your tablet. If you have well-developed drawing skills, it won’t take you much time to come up with those sketches, and you’ll be able to send them off to the client quickly.
Most likely, they’ll approve 2-3 of them and then you can focus all your efforts on fine-tuning those few. I’m sure you can agree that it’s a lot faster to create 30 loose sketches than it is to create 30 detailed logo designs in Adobe Illustrator.
Moreover, the ability to visualize your ideas quickly will make you more efficient when answering creative briefs. That speed and skill comes in handy when you need to explain your creative thought process to a manager or client in the early stages of mockup development. Believe me, sketches work better than lengthy and tedious presentations.
Raise Your Value and Salary
A designer with drawing skills is a real catch for employers. These specialists have a much wider range of work opportunities.
For instance, your client has decided to add a cool image to his website or poster; or you’re tasked with creating a storyboard for a video. If the company doesn’t have an illustrator on staff, their designer will take over this task. To do that, that designer needs to be able to draw.
On top of that, multidisciplinary artists get considerably higher salaries. Just look at these statistics published by PayScale: a graphic designer’s average salary is $46,000 a year, whereas a designer with sketching skills earns $51,000.
Entry Point for Related Fields
During my career in the creative industry, I’ve met many designers who have said, “I’m so tired of this routine. I just want to try something new!”. If you’ve ever had a similar thought, you should try learning some new skills, and drawing skills are the perfect place to start.
These will give you so many new possibilities. Digital drawing is a good foundation for many jobs, such as book illustration for example. If you can already draw, try to learn more about 2D or 3D programs, concept art, game development, filmmaking or book illustration.
It’s possible to be a good designer without drawing skills, but if you do have those skills, then you have an even greater advantage. You don’t need any unique talent or natural aptitude to learn these things. Learning to draw digitally is the same as learning to code a webpage or create a logo in the sense that all you need is time and study. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
In a few short months, you’ll learn how to to properly work with lines, shapes, colors, light, perspective and composition. As a result, you’ll develop your digital drawing skills and learn how to use them in your daily work. Are you wondering if this course is the right fit for you? Then why not try a free trial lesson to find out.