It doesn’t matter what I am working on, whether it is a personal project or commissioned work for a client, the sketchbook is the first tool I use after the note-taking and research phase. It is where I sketch out ideas or images that cross my mind, and it is where I plan out my projects before I even consider opening the Illustrator program. While Illustrator is basically a piece of digital paper, I still find it easier to develop an initial plan of action the old fashioned way. In fact, many experienced illustrators and graphic designers will often suggest sketching out a rough plan of your project to develop a solid, clear idea of what you are working towards.
Sketches Are Your Blueprints
While your idea may appear clear in your mind, the smaller details may not be as refined as they should be. Even if you are certain about the design or illustration you are creating, taking the time to do a quick sketch can help you identify areas of the project that may need some adjustment, or more thought, before putting your plan into motion.
Perhaps the best way to view your sketches are as blueprints. These blueprints are there for your reference as you work to build the image on your screen. With most of the problem-solving and planning done ahead of time, you could save yourself some time and frustration. This is not to say you will not hit rough patches throughout the process, but careful planning can help reduce them.
Shortcuts Rarely Work
Shortcuts rarely pay off, and it is only by pure luck the odd time they do. Rushed work and lack of careful planning leads to disappointment for you and your client. Even if you do manage to fix the project before sending it off by the deadline, you will have wasted valuable time and suffered unnecessary frustration as you worked to correct the mess before your client saw it.
I Would Like To Hear From You
Do you have anything you would like to add about planning a successful project? What is your process?