Graphic Design - Do I need drawing skills?


New Member
Think this is the right section, just thought i'd throw it out to you, as a graphics designer do you NEED drawing skills? For my age and lack of teaching i believe i am average at design but drawing, i just can't do at all so in my opinion i think the answer is yes but i'd much rather it be no! It of course has major setbacks to my work, sometimes i dont draft at all and when i do there rough and i meen rough drafts, then of course when im doing business cards etc. i'd be useless at making vectors/shapes for it. So whats your thoughts? Ciaran.
Hi Ciaran,

You don't need to be able to draw to be a Graphic Designer, I've been working as a Graphic Designer for 6 years and cannot draw very well! It is a useful skill to have but it is not something that you need to be able to do.
Graphic Design is more about having good ideas and being able to execute them well.
Hope this helps Natalie
It is not a vital skill - and as an ex art teacher I would suggest that you can draw! As with everything creative you have to practise and practise to get better. Sure some may be able to pick up a paintbrush (for example) and paint, or a cello and play...but in order to get really good at something it does take practice. Don't stop drawing. It is probably your perception of your skills that makes you say you can't draw. And practise!
I can't draw... actually, i can't even read my own handwriting haha

So long as you can sketch out basic logo concepts and ideas you will be fine. No one else needs to see them, they are usually just to scan in so you have a rough outline when you start to create the logo digitally.
Drawing talent is NOT essential, but it IS essential to draw. By that I mean that just because you say you aren't good at it don't neglect it by going straight to the computer every time you work up a project. As long as you can progress your work through the many sketches and ideas that you do to take the project further then that's the main thing. It only really has to mean something to you.
I "sketch". Totally different to drawing. Basically, you have to be able to get your ideas down on paper in some way or other so that you can annotate quickly, think about it away from the computer. You can take a sketchbook outside, to the beach, to the park, and work their. It's flexible, and good to get away from the computer.

All good projects start in the head, find their way onto paper, then only in the latter stages make it onto the computer.

I'm all for the sketchbook!
Everyone can draw, and it's not even great technical ability that will get you places - just look at Jon Burgerman, his quirky little squiggles have got him far, and he's been ding the exact same squiggles for years, he just found something people connected to. An idea, as people have already rightly said, it more important. Yes it is 'nice' to be able to draw, but to do graphic design, no essential. Now if you were thinking of focusing on illustration you may have course have a problem (at least with confidence!) doing that, but for graphic design you're best getting to grips with good typography, layout, colour choice, software knowledge and general design 'rules'. And when you find the time, have a little doodle, you never know what you might come up with :icon_biggrin:
Thanks a lot for the answers, and the confidence boost haha! Yeah we was told in college to sketch everything before heading straight onto the computer (something i'm still getting to grips with) but its good to know im not the only one! But yeah like linziloop said it is a bit of a problem with illustration if someone asked for a logo with a certain vector of course i couldn't trace or use one from the 'net so making it my self would be a struggle.
But yeah like linziloop said it is a bit of a problem with illustration if someone asked for a logo with a certain vector of course i couldn't trace or use one from the 'net so making it my self would be a struggle.

You don't need to be able to draw to do a logo either. Again, it's all about the idea. You get a good idea, you'll find a way to execute it ;)
It's all about getting ideas down in a sketchbook quickly. You can't do the same working on a computer. As the ideas come into your head you note them by sketching them. Working on a computer restricts the thought process. In fact the time you do spend on a computer is probably less than the time sketching up the ideas.
Graphic designers certainly don't need drawing skills but an ability to sketch is very useful. It certainly helps if you have the ability to quickly sketch out a possible solution for a client to demonstrate a design approach or concept, and sketching should be utilised heavily when developing your design ideas - your Mac or PC is a design tool, it doesn't generate the ideas for you - much faster to start with a pad and pencil. When all is said and done - it is highly unlikely that a client will want to see all your scribbles and scamps - in the main they are far more interested in seeing a polished product that answers the brief. The other thing about drawing/sketching is not to be concerned with comparisons against artists and illustrators - as a graphic designer one of your primary roles is to successfully convey an idea or concept. If you do have to produce drawings, produce them in your own creative style rather than trying to copy someone else - always better to be original.