Drawing In Today’s Digital World

One of the first elementary tendencies kids acquire is to pick up whatever we find and use it to draw. Unfortunately, what we choose to draw on might end up being the wall or furniture, yet there’s a fortunate possibility that our illustration might make it onto paper. Now here’s where I’m going with this. There’s something to think about for a moment…we’re drawing before most of us can compose a sentence or spell correctly. Somewhere between infancy and maturity many of us lose the passion and/or inclination to draw when in actuality, our job (as designers), communication, and creative output is dependant upon it more so than ever.

I have seen many people asking other designers of the importance of drawing in today’s world. While I don’t think you need to draw perfection each time you put lead to paper, I believe it is important to be able to capture your thoughts on paper. Drawing is seeing and the most fundamental way of engaging/understanding the world. I recognize that “technology happens”, and with it, the computer is such a forgiving tool. Lets recognize that it is in fact a tool, not the solution or sole property to creativity and production. Don’t get me wrong, I think the computer is/has been a great and welcomed addition to the design world, but always be mindful of what you’re communicating and how it’s produced. Milton Glaser says drawing is thinking. Drawing is looking and noticing. I couldn’t agree more. .

Credit: Frank Chimero

I think you’ll find that design and drawing go hand-in-hand (pun intended). This might seem like such an evident statement but my instructors repeatedly tell us less and less young designers are sketching. Reflect on that last sentence I just wrote. Think of how drawing can work to your advantage and make you a more desirable and successful asset whether you’re working for yourself or with a company. In this market you should be doing anything to fight your way towards the top and be noticeable. You could be the missing piece to a puzzle everyone is looking for. Drawing is the fundamental instrument for understanding form and through this, I believe, our design and conceptual level only strengthens.


Here are a few tips for getting into the artistic rhythm:

1. Carry around a sketchbook – A sketchbook is really an accessory no different than a wallet, purse, or backpack. Each object indicates a distinct trait about your style and personality. It’s best to carry one that can easily be stowed away in your pocket so you can take it on any of your adventure. You never know when inspiration will strike.

2. Look for inspiration to get you drawing – I’ve always admired people who had the ability to draw naturalistic figures and create unique characters, but drawing wasn’t something I pictured myself doing on a daily basis. I found artists (through magazines, online, etc.) that motivated me to pick up a pencil and create. There are just too many intelligent and imaginative artists out there to stay stagnant.

3. Draw for the fun of it – Drawing is a great way to relieve stress and get away from working on projects. There are no limits, no rules, and best of all, you’re only improving your dexterity.

Now go pick up that pencil and create!

Josh Medrano is a San Antonio based designer who will be graduating this spring from the University of The Incarnate Word with a BFA in Graphic Design. He is also currently working for Wickley Interactive - an interactive and marketing agency. Josh also runs his own blog and portfolio website to help inspire and educate others about the design community.