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Sketching 2017

Sketching is the best tool for rapid communication and iteration. Sketching is a skill that I can improve with practice!

Sketching is one of the best tools for rapid communication and iteration. It is a skill that improves with practice, and in 2017 I’m practicing more than ever. Today, I’m sharing some of the tools I use for practice and some of the sketches I have made so far this year.



Here are some of my tools for practice from top to bottom. You’ll notice they’re all Sharpie brand. Sharpies are great pens for practicing sketching. They are fairly inexpensive but produce quality sketches. 

  1. Sharpie Fine Black Pen – For all of my sketches
  2. Sharpie Ultra Fine Black – For bolder lines and writing
  3. Sharpie Ultra Fine Blue – For indicating “clickable” objects in my UI sketches.
  4. Sharpie Ultra Fine Orange – For annotations
  5. Sharpie Fine Gray – For shadows


I’m currently storing my sketches in this Whitelines Squared notebook. The grids are pretty subtle, and are typically not distracting. Here is what it looks like from my phone. The lines are supposed to disappear when scanned as well.

Random Shapes

Areas for Improvement

For my work, I want to continue improving my ability to explain complex concepts through sketches. I’m focusing on the following three skills:

  1. Diagramming
  2. Illustrating
  3. Speed

So far in 2017…

Sometimes I don’t always have a good reason to sketch, and for that I’m looking externally. Below are some sketches that started from the Reddit r/SketchDaily group. Every day, there is a new prompt, and usually an alternate prompt. For example, Spring, Cyborg, and Evil. I don’t typically color these sketches, but I did decide to color the cyborg.

Here are some miscellaneous sketches that made it into the mix.


Thoughtfully Edited by Patricia Lowry

By joshuarlowry

Designer, Data Vis Expert, Tinkerer

The opinions expressed are my own and not that of my company.

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