Drawing Skills

Drawing is still really important for designers and is one of the most important skills that employers will look for in your portfolio. Good drawing skills are at the heart of good design, start your journey to greatness here.

NB: Never be afraid of construction lines!

Don’t worry about trying to attain a great development sheet of drawings like the one above. This may have been assembled from many other sketches – all traced, and rendered (we don’t “colour-in”, we “render” colour and shade!), onto the same sheet. The arrows show the flow of development and the hand written text shows spontaneity and explains your thought processes.

All great designs start with an idea – whether that’s scribbled onto the back of a beer mat or envelop – mastering the ability to draw your ideas, freehand, in isometric projection will allow you to quickly and efficiently communicate your ideas to team or even clients.

Lesson ONE: Drawing in Isometric Projection

Download and print this paper to help you. Print it in B&W and then put behind thin paper (such as layout paper) to guide your freehand drawings).

Your images cannot just float on a white page – they’ve got to be anchored by a horizon line and given an appearance of solidity through the use of shadows.


Once you can draw in pencil, move onto drawing in pen and add some flourish with a couple of markers. I learnt with Magic Markers, however you may not be able to get these any more so ask for Letraset, Copic or similar pens. I’ve often find arb packs of markers in TKMAXX so always check out the stationary section if you ever get dragged there by your parent or spouse! These newer pens have both a broad and a fine tip for detailed work.


Basic Marker Skills:


Lesson TWO: Drawing using 2 Point Perspective:



Lesson THREE: 3rd Angle Orthographic Projection:

Drawings are great for communicating your ideas to clients etc, however, they are not great for production purposes. For this you’ll need an Orthographic Drawing – ie: a drawing that shows at least 3 views (elevations) of an object. The UK standard is called a 3rd Angle projection and is outlined in the exercise below. This is a standard production drawing however a “real” production drawing would include scale, dimensions, a title and a date (this is for version control).

If you use CAD to draw your designs in 3D then there is usually the option to output (print) your design as a orthographic projection automatically.





To improve you need to sketch, sketch and sketch some more:

These sheets, from DATA, will help you produce great perspective drawings.

The white lines show you 3D space on the sheet. Sketch freely within this.

When you’ve finished your drawing, photocopy the sheet and the white lines and faint background will disappear. You can then add colour or continue drawing on the copy, safe in the knowledge that if you mess up you can copy it again and have another go.

The sheets have been designed to cover a range of different design activities:

  1. For 3D objects – products, craft items, furniture – a 3 point perspective grid
  2. For interiors and architecture – a 1 point perspective grid
  3. For planning animations, films, product use stories–a story board grid
  4. For cars, trains, boats, interiors, furniture – a 2 point perspective grid
  5. For space planning, interiors, architecture and large products – a 3 point perspective grid

There are also sheets on ellipse construction and 3 point perspective construction.

FabLab Students:

If you want to develop your drawing skills – download and work through this booklet: