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Make a Commitment

While in graduate school, I was lucky enough to have the greatest drawing teaching in the world. His name was David Passalacqua (Syracuse University). He was a New York Society of Illustrators hall of famer. One of the most formidable take-aways that I learned from him was to “make a commitment” when you sketch and draw. As a professor, I witness many students and young professionals encounter anxiety in the sketching stages of conceptual development and ideation. On the other hand, I see many professionals at top organizations gloss over the sketching stage and focus too much on the “idea” while discounting the importance of the early sketching stages.

As a contemporary UX/UI designer and design school professor, I have taken the stance that ALL of the stages are important. Discipline, commitment and even aesthetics are important at every stage. No phase of a project should be deemed more important than the others. I recall reading the Steven Jobs biography and his emphatic attention to detail. He was concerned that every stage of development should be looked at with a critical eye and demanded perfection. His obsession even extended into the aesthetics of the soldering on the motherboards. He believed that even unseen items were a critical part of the craft of building.

Combining these (Jobs and Passalacqua) points of view have formed my philosophy on UX sketching. You need not be a professional illustrator to create high-quality, disciplined and aesthetically superior sketches. If you can draw a box, a line that appears somewhat straight, and a consistent squiggle mark, you’re all set to make high-level UX sketches. But it takes discipline and commitment. If you practice the skills and techniques that I outline throughout this website, your UX sketches will improve to a new level of professionalism.

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