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  • Writer's pictureSiiri

Design Studies: Final Thesis, Part 4 – Sketching 1

Dearest reader,

This week I started the sketching phase of my thesis process where I design a bag collection utilizing bodily knowledge Prima Ballerina shoe collection as a starting point. Here you can have look at my sketchbook so far and find out why sketching is an important tool for designers as well as what are its bodily roots.


S K E T C H I N G 1


Sketching And Design

Sketching is one of the most important steps in a design process and something everybody links to the act of designing. But what sketching actually is about? Understandably, sketching can sometimes be seen as random doodling, a nonsense past time or as a couple of blurry lines some artistic creative director switfly drew to demostrade an idea he saw in last night's dream. Luckily, sketching in design is something else entirely, namenly, it is a way to analyze and process the visual world, find unexpected connections, communicate ideas, analyze research and solve problems.

That is why, designers and design students learn sketching so that they can demostrate information visually and create plans for something that is not yet physical. These sketching methods and techniques are then utilized in a sketchbook where the designer aims to record, explain, sort and process the information in a personal way. Althought, sketchbooks are research based their approach to problems depent on the person making the sketchbook, which is why, sketchbooks generate subjective information based on the maker's unique interpretations of the world.

It is also good to mention that, yes, sketching can begin from a random doodle or a seemingly separate observation or draw inspiration form last night's dream but in order to turn that information into something useful you have to dig deeper. You have to reflect why that was interesting, what topics it covers, what emotions rise, is it link to other phenomenon; what is its historical, scientific or philosophical background, what is its meaning to people and so on.

Bodily View on Sketching

Since in this thesis work I am focusing on bodily knowledge let's discourse the embodied viewpoint of sketching.

Simply put, sketching is a reaction to stimulus which our brains process and understand by giving meaning to images. It is a very interesting process that utilizes sematic, visual and motor memory making drawing a much more efficient way to remember that only through means of hearing or reading. Therefore, sketching is a unique way learn where you constantly give meanings to things visually, emotionally and symbolically.

Sources on sketching


Sketchbook So Far

During this first week of sketching my process focused on creating research pages and moodboards in order to for me to sort, capture and investigate different shapes and elements from the topics (rococo, Swan Lake, ballet and bodily knowledge). At this stage, all the design ideas are rough and aim simply to explore different design possibilities without fully commiting to any of them.

The starting point of the bag collection is my Prima Ballerina shoe collection

Reanalyzing and relearning the moodboards I used when I was designing my shoe collection "Prima Ballerina"

Studies on haute couture, rococo and 18th century bags (tie pockets and chatelaines)

Studying rococo guilding and ruffles of the dress

Studying the flolar embroidery of the dress / Comparing the spiral nature of curls and shells

Combining rococo elements with the previous moodboards / Spotting similarities, textures and shapes / Testing out design ideas

Target group / Bodily knowledge / Somatics / Bartenieff Fundamentals



Believe it or not but this is the first proper sketchbook I have done during my design studies for a design project. I know. That is crazy, since sketchbooks are the number one tool to generate creative ideas. Sketchbooks simply haven't been the top requirement in my university and, therefore, I never got the hang of them from the beginning. However, now that I have done a week of sketchbooking I feel increasingly disappointed by the fact that they have not been required from us students.

Namely, I feel like I have learned so much about my topics during the last week. Things, I did not realize when I was first using my moodboards in the designing of Prima Ballerina shoe collection have now come to light, thanks to this sketchbook process. I feel as though I have been sitting in ignorance, passing by the obvious purely because I was never asked to properly sketch or show my creative thinking in this way. So is it any wonder I always felt that there was something off in my sketching process. I used to think I was just not that good at designing (which is partly true) but now that my past struggles have been exposed the evidence points to the lack of sketchbooking.

All this time I was not even unaware of the importance of sketching or lacking knowledge in sketching techniques because we had courses on that, but rather, I was living in an environment where sketching was considered as a technical, almost industrial tool and the most important thing was to produce a high volume of sketches which could be eliminated step by step until there was only couple of ideas left. While there is nothing wrong with this method as such I was and I am still surprised how little we talked about analyzing the inspiration and research visually. This analysis is exactly what I was lacking in my sketching process. I now realize that I have to sit with my moodboards and draw from them in order to understand what I am even designing, what I was thinking when choosing these pictures and how they go together.


Have you had similar struggles when it comes to sketching?


Yours truly,



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