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In 2012 my sister bought me a book with a page every day for a year for a sketch. I used it to practise my drawing.
When I finished it I needed a new challenge. So I set myself the challenge of explaining something with a sketch — as explaining is a handy skill. Over 2013 -14 I posted one sketchplanation a day. Since then I switched to one per week, and the quality improved.
You can follow how it suits you:
I draw them using Sketchbook Pro on an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. It took me a long time to go all fancy and digital, and I still kind of miss the analogue touch of the originals (last pen and paper one).
The original ones are drawn in Moleskine storyboard sketchbooks (quite hard to find in stores). I used three Uniball Vision Elites and a Copic marker for the grey. I think it is the best combination of pens there is.
At its best, making sketchplanations looks a bit like this:
I’ve had a few requests for creating a coffee table kind of book of them. If anyone is able to help connect me to the right places, or a service that can produce them at a reasonable price. Please get in touch.
If you have ideas for new sketchplanations or other ideas do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to use a sketchplanation in a blog post or for non-commercial purposes, please go ahead. If you have a moment to email me where you used one, it makes me very happy. Check out the licence page for details.
If you like them please consider supporting me keeping them going by becoming a patron for a mere dollar a month or whatever you can: patreon.com/sketchplanations
A lot of people ask me about learning to sketch. The truth is I 100% think it's possible for everyone to learn. Nobody starts an expert. Like most things, it requires caring, work, and practice. If you'd be interested in lessons or a short course from me, please let me know: email@example.com
Here are a few resources that you could start with. They're not for a classical art education — more about drawing to think and communicate better.
Sketchnoting — taking visual notes of talks, for example — is also popular and a great way to practise:
And the real master is Bill Watterson 🤩
Before writing your own music it's typical to learn to play other music. The same is true of drawing. Whenever you see a drawing you like try and copy it. Look closely to see how they did it. See if you can do it just as well.
Be the first on the whiteboard — physical or virtual. Need to figure something out? Start by putting some lines on paper. There's nothing wrong with boxes and arrows to start.
Sketches often look bad in the middle (see the learning pit). It's a process. Don't give up because something looks rubbish. Keep working on it. See how you can correct it. You may learn more from figuring out why a sketch looks wrong than if you happen to get it right.
I know you didn't come here for this but I made some music. Perhaps you'll enjoy it: