Visual Communication

Developing Muscle Memory to Rapidly Freehand Sketch Objects/Products 

As a designer it is important for you be able to visually communicate your ideas as quickly and accurately as possible in a wide variety of locations where you might not have access to a full range of drawing tools and equipment. For these reasons, you need to be able to easily communicate your ideas by sketching FREEHAND - this means no rulers, erasers, etc.

Drawing any object accurately in freehand takes a lot of practice and the first skill that you need to developing is training your hand & Arm to draw straight lines rather than using rulers. By repetitively (& frequently) completing the tasks below, you will be developing "Muscle Memory" whereby you are training your body to get the feel for drawing consistent straight lines.


In this course you will be drawing most of your ideas using a Ball Point Pen - we will no longer be drawing in pencil first and then overlaying in Pen, this just slows down the process and workflow and can become messy and erasing lines can be destructive to your final drawing. Using a Pen also makes you think much more carefully about what you are doing and each line that you are drawing.

I recommend that you buy two ball point pens from a quality stationary store - look for two thicknesses of ball point, one Very fine (0.1) and one medium (0.5) in thickness. Any quality stationary store will provide paper for you to test their selection of pens and I encourage you to find a pen that draws multiple lines that consistent in thickness and strength.


Not everybody has the same drawing style and it is up to you to find what suits and feels best for you when drawing and developing muscle memory. Start with a sheet of paper resting on a flat surface, orient the page to suit how you are sitting and try to draw the following:

  • Straight Parallel Lines
    • 3 Inches/6-8cm in length,
    • Long Lines across the full page,
Develop Muscle Memory
  • Connect Dots
    • Draw dots 3 inches apart,
    • Ghost Line (hover pen above paper and pretend to draw the line until you 'feel' it and think pen would pass through both points),
    • Try to connect the dots in 1 pass (It's OK to go through/beyond the points)
    • See how wide you can separate the dots before you start to lose accuracy
  • Draw lines that intersect
    • Draw multiple lines that pass through this specific point,
    • See how far away you can start your line before passing through the point,
Intersecting Lines

Draw a 1Pt perspective Grid

  • Draw Horizon Line,
  • Draw two Rectangles below the Horizon Line
  • Connect points to a vanishing point placed on the horizon line,
  • Complete blocks and thicken the visible outline with you thicker ballpoint pen
1Pt Perspective Grid

Draw a 2Pt perspective Grid

  • Draw Horizon Line,
  • Mark the Left and Right Vanishing Points,
  • Draw Vertical line to create the nearest corner,
  • Attach Vertical line to VP's
  • Finish drawing the block (Better to draw the block from the block rather than VP's - less important if you miss the VP)
  • Thicken the visible outline
2Pt Perspective Grid

Drawing Natural Curves

  • Complete this worksheet by connecting the dots (try to flow - there shouldn't be any 'points' or rapid changes in direction. The line should 'Flow'.
  • Draw your own dots and experiment with connecting dots in a natural smooth curve
Natural Curves1
Natural Curves 2