This 8-week elective focusses on using the sketching skill as a tool to explore, develop and communicate ideas and concepts.

Created by: Martijn van de Wiel

Start: Q1 2018/19
Duration: 8 weeks
Effort: 17-18h/week (5EC = 140h)
Language: English
Seats: limited

Please enroll via the Sketchdrive link in Canvas

Exploratory Sketching

This 8-week elective focusses on using the sketching skill as a tool to explore, develop and communicate ideas and concepts. There is only a limited number of seats available so make sure to enroll (in Osiris) on time! If you didn’t get in, I also offer a similar course online.

See you in class!

What you’ll learn

  •  Understand the different mind-sets for sketching
  • Understand the basic principles of perspective
  • Understand the (hidden) geometry of various products
  • How to produce quality sketch lines
  • How to sketch linear objects (e.g. cell phones and printers)
  • How to sketch cylindrical objects (e.g. bottles and flashlights)
  • How to combine cylindrical and linear objects (e.g. cameras and speakers)
  • How to sketch complex products (e.g. shoes and mice)
  • How to use markers for simple shading of objects
  •  Understand the basic proportions of human figures
  •  How to quickly create storyboard/scenario sketches
  •  How to apply all techniques in your creative process

Course description
This elective focusses on using the sketching skill as a tool to explore, develop and communicate ideas and concepts. Traditional design sketching courses and books are focussed on producing eye-catching product renderings. Today CAD modeling and rendering have overtaken a large part of the communicative need for rendering. At the same time the field of Industrial Design has expanded into a more holistic spectrum of interactive product systems rather than just physical products. Both developments demand a different approach to sketching. In this course you will develop your skill to build confidence in sketching as a way to develop and communicate your thoughts during a creative process.

You will follow a 8-week guided program in class enriched with video tutorials and weekly assignments. We will cover everything from choosing the right mind-set, sketching and designing simple and complex products and techniques for producing scenarios and storyboards. You will have a personal project inside the course to upload your work for review. Me and my TA’s will encourage you by reviewing all uploads and by giving you weekly feedback on your work during the whole course. The feedback is marked up visually so you’ll know exactly where to adjust and how to improve. You will also be able to see all uploads by other course members. You can even help your peers by exchanging feedback on each other’s work.


week 1. The mind-set
week 2. Linear objects
week 3. Cylindrical products
week 4. Combined products
week 5. Complex products
week 6. Setting the scene
week 7. Re-design
week 8. Wrap up

Examples of my annotated feedback on student work.

Tools & Materials
To get the best results it is important that you acquire the right set of tools. Hereby a list with materials that I personally prefer. You are free to choose for yourself, but remember that the quality of the tools has quite an effect on the quality of the results. The brands posted here are just examples. I am sure if you shop around you can find (cheaper) alternatives somewhere else. Don’t forget to ask for a student discount!

– a portable camera (smart phone is ok)
– a light blue pencil (NO graphite): e.g. Derwent Studio #32 or #35 (don’t buy the Artist version. these are too soft!) or Prisma
– a good quality pencil sharpener
– a couple of felt-tip pens (fineliner): e.g. Pilot / Stabilo (at Hema!)/ Uni-pin / read some reviews
– one heavy felt tip pen: e.g. Papermate Flair M / Pentel Sign Pen / Edding 1200
– a set of 3 grey alcohol markers (C2-C4-C6): e.g. Copic / Pantone / Prismacolor
– some coloured markers in 2-3 shades of the same colour (light to dark)
– one yellow, orange or red marker (for arrows)
– one A3 marker pad: e.g. 4Art / Copic / Bee Paper
– an A3 transporter (folder)
– a sketch roll, 33cm x 50m (you can share one roll with more students): Hahnemühle (available at the copyshop in the Metaforum)
– one roll of paper tape

Optional extra materials:
– a soft white and a soft black pencil: Derwent Artist / Caran d’Ache
– a set of colored pencils: Derwent Studio (not Artist!)
– one white correction- or gel pen

If you already own a set of markers than check if they are all properly filled!

Student Reviews

Lieke Vermeulen – “this elective is one of my all time favorites (…) this was one of the most rewarding learning processes so far.”

Bryan Yip – “The elective was great, because it taught something new every week, and because we were “forced” to apply these new things we learned directly in our sketches. This made me realize that the key to develop sketching, is not only to practice a lot, but also to try new things, to practice these new things and eventually master it.”

Flavia van Tilburg – “While going through the course I became more and more confident about showing what I had created and developed the courage to make mistakes and let other people help me correct them.”

Laura Power – “No matter how frustrating some parts may have been, the satisfaction of seeing myself improve is invaluable.”

Thijs van Zon – “Each class from this elective was full of new theories and techniques, which I loved, and they were very well explained. I did not expect to learn so much in eight weeks.”


Couldn’t register for this quartile?

Check out my online course Design Sketching #1.

Follow Design Sketching by Martijn here: