• Daniela Caine

8 reasons Hand Sketching is your Superpower.

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

Sketch, draw, scribble. Call it what you like but ... just do it!

It‘s your superpower and you probably aren't using it to your advantage enough.


Hand sketching: it's every designers super power.

Hand sketching can make a real difference to your business, creativity and even the bottom line. From my own experience, I lost out on a really exciting business opportunity by skipping the sketching step and the only reason why the brand decided to work with a competing agency, even though the concepts presented were virtually the same. I made that mistake once, and haven't repeated it since.


I am not saying you can't be a successful designer when you lack the ability to visualize your ideas by hand, but it might mean you'll have to work extra hard.


  1. Sketching saves time Admittedly, it can feel counter intuitive to spend time sketching options when you believe the project is quite simple and faster to create in Illustrator. But especially when you are not quite sure about where you'd like to take it, or if you work with a new team or client, it will save you hours, if not days of work. In only a couple of hours you can come up with a multitude of completely different and unique ideas and run them by your client or business counterpart to discuss all the options and decide together which one is the right one to expand on further.

  2. Strengthens relationships with your x-functional team. When you achieve buy-in from your co-workers early on, no matter if it's business, development or pattern making, you create a meaningful bond while showing that you value professional input.

  3. Business people love sketches. It is wide spread perception that designers are creatives and they can draw. Some even think that's all we do! (More on that later.) I have yet to meet a merchandiser who doesn't like to discuss early ideas based on hand sketches. Many of them will make copies of these sketches and hang them up in offices or hallways to make sure everyone knows this is a creative place. Depending on the quality of the sketches, they tend to be featured in catalogues or sales tools.

  4. Sketching generates better ideas. Imagine how long it takes to create a convincing illustrator sketch of a garment with a new silhouette, like balloon sleeves, waterfall draped neckline, cocoon shape or a dress with exaggerated volume? Yes - it would take hours to get it right - and you might never be able to get it over the finish line unless you have a good inspiration image. We designers have to draw it up in Illustrator eventually, and it might be tempting to skip the ideation and go right into illustrator. But then we feel stuck, likely to take the easy route and stick to copying an earlier silhouette and proceed to just move seam lines around. Get this, your hand can sketch up anything you can think off, without the constraints or rigidity of the illustrator croquis.

  5. Your sketchbook might help you land your next job or client. It's now expected to keep and update a polished online portfolio of our work. We have all the skills and tools available to 'polish a turd' (pardon the expression). Now we are getting into 3D rendering, editing photos in photoshop and, sadly, work you were only peripherally involved in, ends up in portfolios. BUT - if you bring your sketch book to a client or prospective employer meeting - there wont' be a question about your creativity and skills. And you'll stand out from the pack.

  6. Your sketchbook is an inspiration. Have you ever been stuck figuring out a problem? Lack of (good) ideas? Just look at all the sketches and work you have done before and I am sure you'll get unstuck quickly. Many of my clients have said to make sure I don't leave my sketch book lying around or they might snag it.

  7. Sketching is human. 47% of all jobs in the US will be impacted by robotics or machine learning until 2025. Color rotations, renderings, 3D programs are working hard on shortening production timelines in the apparel industry right now. But there is no robot or computer program that will replace a human's ability to ideate with a pen in hand...especially the processes happening in our brains to make sense of customer feedback, human desires, global trends, sales input and what the brands we work with stand for.

  8. Sketching is fun!

So yes, take your sketch books out and practice your Super Power! Peace.


Love,









rapid sketching out of initial concepts ideas Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash



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