Sketches: As a form of Visual Thinking

It had nothing to do with using [programs] for practical things, it had more to do with using them as a mirror of your thought process. To actually learn how to think. I think everyone in this country should learn to program a computer. Everyone should learn a computer language because it teaches you how to think. I think of computer science as a liberal art.- Steve Jobs


If your have been following the blog, I have quoted Frank Gehry a bit. He just pops up everywhere I go searching for fine content! But here’s some of his sketches. (above)

By contrast, I’ll show the calm of the chaos. Dieter Rams, industrial designer for Braun, and more famously the inspiration for Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Industrial Designer.


Different Styles, but similar in thinking. They project a direct entrance into the mind of the artist. This is why sketching may be the best way not to teach, not to preach, but to reach in its rawest form. Reaching maybe scaling back, or over designing.

Over the weekend I have been scanning the web for inspirations and sites about design. It’s a popular deal. But rarely, do you actually see the beginning, the seed of an idea which produces the final product. Many architects and designers have been interviewed as having post-partum depression or disliking the actual finished form of the product or building as the fun was in the exploration, the sketching and actual play of finding the right inspiration.

When I was in school for Environmental Design, it was very process and inspiration heavy, and in the results-oriented world we live in, it’s easy to get get lost in the one trick pony, or believing that world-class brands paint with ink and ship out the door in a flash

Fail Fast and Break Things – Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook

Sketching in designing is what improv is in theatre productions is what ab-libbing is to rap, it’s the work under the work, that is before practice actually begins. Practice needs structure. You’ve heard Perfect Practice makes Perfect. I’m talking about the Free-Play that occurs before practice.

As much as pros put on a professional and serious image, check any architect’s website. Do they ever smile?

Rem Koolhaas

But I guarantee they let their hair down when a project is first enters the pipeline. Well the good ones do.

Let me reiterate, sketching breeds originality and repels repetition.

Currently I’m reading a pretty good book Drawing For Product Designers and once I pick up the book Sketching, I’ll post another entry, but for the prior, there is a blurb about the title of this blog, Sketches: As a Form of Visual Thinking. A child is better sketcher than you and I. Why? Children throw logic out of the window, if they had it in the first place. They are free.

Betty Edwards writes – the need for artists to move away from the logical language side of the brain towards the more visually intuitive. However, the issue for designers is how to leverage both the visual and verbal skills since each has its own powers as well as its own shortcomings. – Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Even in business, Alex Osterwalder who has been mentioned in this blog who wrote a very influential book,  Business Model Generation, and another one on the way, Value Proposition Design promotes visual description to stimulate and organize the mind of a business owner and his/her thinking of how to become a ‘game-changer’ and/or ‘innovator.’


Did you know JK Rowling sketched Harry Potter’s World before she wrote it?harrypotter

Not hers, but a great resource to find beginning sketches and finished artworks is

If that doesn’t get you to think about the power of sketching. I don’t know what will.

The film industry with storyboards, and comics etc, the world was born on sketching, the Hieroglyphics and Phonetics. Thanks to my former Prof, Rob Kovitz (more about him later).

Ever wonder why psychiatrists ask people to draw? The eye is the window into the soul and perception so it only has a couple ways of coming out…Visually and or Physically and chances are if you’re seeing a shrink, it’s come out physically.

Sketching is Calming.


I’ll be sharing my sketches and notes throughout the blog.

Act Simple. Be Chaotic. Dream Relentlessly.

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask “why not? – John F. Kennedy Jr


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