Sketchplanations

About Sketchplanations

Thank you to my Patrons for enabling Sketchplanations.

Looking to use a Sketchplanation? Please do! See the licence page for details.

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:

Here to browse? Have a scroll through the archive or dip into some tags. Or explore via some of my common tags:

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.

I run product at Zen Educate and previously ran UX and design at Nutmeg. Find more about me at jonohey.com or see Jono Hey on LinkedIn

If you have ideas for new sketchplanations or other ideas do get in touch: jono.hey@gmail.com

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.

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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

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Want to learn to sketch?

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: jono.hey@gmail.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.

Books

Sketchnoting — taking visual notes of talks, for example — is also popular and a great way to practise:

Other inspiration

  • xkcd — proof that your sketching really doesn't have to be great to get the point across, though some of Randall Munroe's drawings these days are highly accomplished
  • @semi_rad

And the real master is Bill Watterson 🤩

Some Principles

Copy, copy, copy

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.

Practice

  • Get a postcard sketchbook and send old-fashioned postcards. Bonus: you'll appreciate your surroundings a lot more on holiday if you take the time to sit, observe and draw
  • Try practising with some of the drawing sketchplanations
  • Do the Sketch a Day for a year yourself

Draw to think

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.

Persevere in the middle

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.


Music

I know you didn't come here for this but I made some music. Perhaps you'll enjoy it:

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