The Importance of Traditional Sketching

Why is it significant for designers?


The exhibition from “A Trip From Here to There” at MoMA was quite astonishing because it celebrated the idea of walking, traveling, and wandering in relation to sketching and drawing. Although this exhibition takes form of a travel blog in space, it stresses the importance of drawing and sketching. Mateo López was one of several artists who took part in this exhibition. His travel through his native Columbio, from Bogotá to Cali to Medellin was recorded through numerous sketches and drawings.

“Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, as artists increasingly emphasized the process by which an artwork is made, road trips and other journeys became both medium and subject. In some works, a walk or sojourn is precisely documented via maps and charts, dates and times, while in others, wandering’s inherent detours and deviations are embraced, resulting in collages of impressions or graphs of explored terrain.”  

Drawing apps like Layers, Scribbler, Bamboo Paper, and etc, provide you with many features including numerous types of brushes, colors, and texture. These extra functions can be great, but it is restricting.  It is restricting in that it does not house the same quality to traditional design sketching. The raw and organic feeling you get from using a pencil to sketch out your ideas is lost in the digital world.  


This exhibition brought out the importance of traditional design sketching. Today, technology gets in the way of traditional design sketching. Traditional design sketching is the use of using minimal materials like a pen and piece of paper. Technology is growing at a high speed and apps are becoming part of our everyday lives. “Mobile is now a multi billion dollar industry. In 2009 $4.2 billion was spent on Smartphone applications, this figure is estimated at $25.9 billion in 2013."


Why is traditional design sketching important?


Traditional sketching gives you freedom that no app can provide you. When you’re using any drawing app there are limitations in the space or screen you are given to draw on.  By having multiple pieces of papers, there is more space to play with all at once. Utilizing a piece of paper and pencil can do wonders in which ideas and concepts are instantaneously forming.

Solves Problems

Sketching serves as a great solution to a design problem whether it is designing an app or working on a branding project. Through sketching I have had a handful of various concepts that guided me to a great solution. Sketching is great tool for designers to communicate a problem with clients as well as taking notes.


Sketching is super quick and easy. Concepts and ideas are quickly being processed and sketched onto a piece of paper or even several pieces of paper. Sketching is translating any idea you have in your mind and quickly jotting them down on paper. Plus you don’t need fancy materials to sketch. All you really need is a piece of paper and a writing tool. You can sketch anywhere whether it is at school, in the office, at a park, at mall, or even when you’re traveling just like Mateo López.  

Fun and relaxing

There is no pressure involved when it comes to design sketching. You’re not restricted to just sketch one concept, but as many as you want. Drawing digitally and drawing on paper is completely different in that when drawing digitally you’re not able to feel the pressure of a pen or pencil pressed directly on the paper. There is a therapeutic feeling when you’re physically drawing with organic materials.


In conclusion everyone should sketch more!



Published on by Pauline Shin.