Interior Design Sketching [A Must Have for Original Artistic Design in 2020] (2022)

First of all, interior design sketching is a language for interior designers. This is how I communicate my ideas to the world. But ultimately, interior design drawing helps me formulate my ideas. It’s the way of shaping concepts into the correct forms and proportions. It’s the acid test – it shows you if the idea looks good in a three dimensional space. Usually only the top luxury interior designers have this unique skill and use it often. Now I share my knowledge in my sketching masterclass. In this post I describe what it’s all about and highlight interior design sketching techniques used by professionals as-well-as beginners. Moreover, I’ll tell you why the hand drawn interior design concept is so important.

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The Magic of Interior Design Sketching

Interior design sketches aren’t meant to be pretty drawings. In this world of online inspirations, interior design sketching is a promise of authenticity and true artistry. If your interior designer sketches, you’ll be assured you’re getting an original creative design. That’s why interior sketching should be one of the factors when choosing your Interior Designer.

(Video) Interior Design Sketching - Complete Guide for Beginners and Pro's in 2021

In today’s digital word, hand sketching is a very rare and unique skill. It takes years to master. Moreover, there’s just a handful of interior designers who can really do it well. It’s not just illustrating – it’s shaping the beautiful forms onto a piece of paper. I teach it in my sketching masterclass.

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In that regard, drawing is similar to cooking a meal – you have to season and taste the food before you serve it up for others. Sketching is like seasoning, it’s perfecting the concept.

That’s why hand drawing can also be called interior design thinking.

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The Evolution of a Hand Drawn Interior Design Concept

Hand drawn concept is an important part of the interior design process. It starts after the research, finding the main idea and basic space planning. I usually sketch every space of the house. It’s a good idea to start with wider angles showing the entire space. I then draw the main proportion and unveil the story of the room.

After this it’s time for sketching details. I tend to refine the details along the way. Hand drawing the interior design concept feels like resolving the space bit by bit, like a puzzle.

Sketching Interior Design Details

Sketches of details tend to be more refined and precise. And it’s not just one drawing. Designing a detail usually means sketching it several times. It’s experimenting with different options, proportions so as to finally arrive at the perfect piece best suited for the space.

Although, sometimes it can be less structured. When inspiration strikes, I like to do a quick sketch anywhere – on the side of a newspaper or my notebook.

Collectable Value of Hand Drawn Interior Design Sketches

High quality drawings have also high collectable value. Especially if they’re drawn by a well-known interior designer. Moreover, they can be quite rare which adds to it’s value. An interior design sketch is a great addition to any art connoisseur’s collection.

For example, picture the original interior sketch of the house
(before construction) hanging up on the wall. It would be like the artist’s signature on a painting. A sort-of architectural certificate of authenticity!

(Video) Interior Design Sketching Techniques - Drawing Like a PRO!

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Interior Design Sketching Techniques

There are several techniques of interior design sketching depending on the means used, the level of accuracy and the purpose of the drawing.

1. Quick Drafts on the Go

These quick sketches are very useful for capturing the first idea that comes to mind. They’re very important because good ideas tend to disappear quickly. They can be done with anything you’ve got to hand: pen, pencil, a piece of paper, a newspaper or a notebook. I use them a lot while talking to clients or contractors to explain a quick idea. They show the creativity of the interior designer.

Live sketching in public can be intimidating. Some time ago, I wrote about how to deal with stress when sketching in front of people. You can find some advice on interior design sketching for beginners too.

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2. Hi Quality Presentation Drawings

These are the sketches that usually go into a client presentation. They’re more refined, with more details and added colour. The level of precision can still differ. I often like to leave the free hand sketching because it looks more artistic. Although, I’ve done some very precise drawings using a ruler – depends on the client.

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3. Pencil Drawings on Regular Paper

I do the majority of my sketches on regular, slightly textured paper with a pencil. To achieve fine details I start with a very thin 0.5 mm HB pencil. Then, when I have the whole drawing done, I enhance the most important edges with a softer 2B one. It’s better for thick dark lines. 2B is my “cherry on top” pencil grade for finishing touches.

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4. Pen Drawings on Tracing Paper

One of the interesting interior design sketching techniques is pen on tracing paper. To add a bit of drama to the pencil sketch I put a layer of tracing paper on top and trace it with a pen. The pen lines are then more dynamic because the shapes below are already set.

There’s a chance of running into a problem with colouring. Colour markers can smudge the pen lines. There’s an easy fix though – apply the colours on the other side of the tracing paper! I learned this hack from architects.

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5. Colouring and Shading with Markers or Watercolours

Some sketches look better when I add some colour to it. It’s much easier to resolve the colour and material scheme of the interior. It helps with testing if the balance between dark and light is right. I use markers or watercolours. Markers are easier and quicker to use so as a result I tend to use them more.

(Video) INTERIOR DESIGN | HOW TO SELECT ART FOR YOUR HOME

There’s also an option of colouring the drawings in Photoshop.

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The Rules are Simple but it Takes Lots of Practice

The basic rules of interior design perspective sketching are very simple. We have two types of perspective drawing (well, it’s three really, but the third one is not as popular):

  1. One-point perspective, the simplest one, where all the lines in the drawing are leading to one central point. A.K.A a vanishing point.
  2. Two-point perspective, where we’ve got two points in the drawing. The points are located on the horizon. Every line in the drawing leads to one or the other, depending on the angle.
  3. Three-point perspective, which is only used when we’re looking up or down. Do you know the view when you stand on the pavement next to a skyscraper and look up? That would be the third point you would be looking at.

If you want to learn more about these types of perspective, sign up to my Interior Design Sketching Masterclass.

Even though the rules are simple it takes a long time to practice and perfect it. It takes even more time to be competent at this skill working as an interior designer. It has to become second nature.

Hand Drawing Always Wins Compared with a Computer

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In terms of creative concept, hand drawing always wins compared with a computer. Even though there is software that can easily model 3D spaces. I only use a computer for the development and technical stage, never for the concept. Otherwise it looses the human touch.

Interior design sketching techniques are of course very important but showcasing the sketches is vital. I was always dreaming about opening my own interior design business one day. Only when I started publishing pro photos of my sketches did my interior design career really take off. I still remember using my savings to purchase my professional camera. It was before the Christmas holiday when I received a Xmas bonus from my boss at the time. I knew taking photos with an Iphone wasn’t enough. As it turned out – it was one of the best investments I ever made! So the camera and lenses I bought then are still used today (6 years later):

  • Nikon D750 or D810 (camera body) – it’s a great professional camera that made my sketches look like magazine covers 😉
  • Nikon 20 or 24mm FX lens f/1.8G (wide angle lens) – I paired my camera with this wide angle lens to achieve dramatic angles when photographing my sketches.
  • Nikon 50mm FX lens f/1.8G – this is also a great lens that I use all the time. It has a very natural angle and is not a wide-angle lens. I use it together with the Nikon 20mm (above) as it ads variety to my sketching photos.
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A good hand drawn design concept will look twice as good if you photograph it well! This is what got me started getting noticed online – especially on Instagram. I was experimenting with photography and testing different cameras and lenses. At the time, I thought professional photography won’t do much for beginners like me but it actually helped with presenting my interior design sketching.

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Interior Design Sketching [A Must Have for Original Artistic Design in 2020] (20)

Questions

Is sketching necessary for interior designing?

It depends how good you want to be as an interior designer. A lot of people give up interior design sketching because it’s difficult and requires a lot of practice. Moreover there’s a lot of computer programs where you can model the space yourself. The only problem with that is, the computer starts to lead your way of thinking and as a result limits your creativity. For me it feels like cheating. Whereas, there’s something authentic about having just a pencil and a blank sheet of paper in front of you. There’s no cheating involved. It’s you and your mind, no other (artificial) help! That’s why I strongly feel that free hand interior design sketching is the only true creative way of designing. And as a result if you want to be a professional interior designer, sketching is necessary. Interior Design Sketching [A Must Have for Original Artistic Design in 2020] (21)

(Video) INTERIOR DESIGN /HOW TO SELECT THE PERFECT ART FOR YOUR SPACE.

Value of Drawing in Teamwork

One of the most valuable aspects of interior design sketching especially for beginners is that it makes teamwork so easy. Good communication in an interior design office, is crucial. Sketching the designs makes it super easy to explain your thoughts to others. Doesn’t matter if you are interior designing an office or a private home. And contrary to describing something with words, sketching doesn’t miscommunicate. Everything is clear when you sketch.

It’s actually much clearer than showing an inspirational image. Some designers like to show images of other houses and say: “Look, I want my design to look like this.”

But what does it actually mean? The colours? The layout? Or the shapes of the furniture? Believe it or not, everyone will see something different. Not to mention that you shouldn’t really copy other architect’s or designer’s ideas.

That’s good advice for beginners who are just starting to learn interior design sketching. It’s always better to get inspired by nature, city atmosphere or art than to copy someone else’s.

Summary

To sum up, interior design sketching is the only way to create truly original and creative designs. Drawing is shaping ideas into the right forms and proportions. It’s a tool that every professional interior designer should have. Now you can learn it signing up to my sketching course. High quality sketches can also have collectable value, especially when they’re done by one of the top interior designers.

There are several interior design sketching techniques. My favourites are:

  • quick drafts on the go
  • high quality presentation drawings (the free hand effect or done with a ruler)
  • pencil sketches on textured paper
  • pen sketches on tracing paper
  • colouring and shading is usually done with markers or watercolours

The basic rules of drawing are simple but it takes years of practice to truly master it. If you want to learn with me – sign up to my Interior Design Sketching Masterclass.

(Video) Abstract: The Art of Design | Ilse Crawford: Interior Design | FULL EPISODE | Netflix

In conclusion, interior design drawing is a promise of truly original and exceptional design. It’s a very rare skill that sets great interior designers apart.

Let me know your thoughts – comment below!

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Related

FAQs

What do interior designers use to sketch? ›

Computer-Aided Design Software

Today, interior designers use Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) software to create technical and mechanical drawings. The most popular software is called AutoCAD.

Is drawing a must in interior design? ›

The answer to is drawing necessary for interior designing is “yes“. Drawing is a skill to represent ideas and imaginations onto paper. Drawing skill is necessary for interior designers to show their creativity. Artists and designers learn drawing skill during education.

What are the 7 principles of interior design? ›

The seven basic principles of interior design are Balance, Harmony, Rhythm, Proportion and Scale, Emphasis, Contrast and Details.

How do interior designers start drawing? ›

Interior Design Sketching - Complete Guide for Beginners and Pro's in 2021

What kind of paper do interior designers use? ›

Plotter paper is used across various industries, but is particularly associated with the production of plans by architects and house or building designers. Then, there is the interior design field, which has made increasing use of plotter paper in recent years.

Can I become a interior designer without drawing? ›

The fundamental ideas behind a design project don't require you to have any drawing skills. Rather, it requires you to be able to communicate the idea in such a way as to make the client understand your vision. Being able to draw even basically helps convey the idea succinctly.

Is there a difference between an interior designer and decorator? ›

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building, while interior decorating is the furnishing or adorning of a space with decorative elements to achieve a certain aesthetic. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

What are the 5 basic principles of developing an interior design concept? ›

Look for the principles of design as well: Size & Proportion, Balance, Rhythm, Emphasis, and Harmony. If all of those things are there and done correctly, the designer did a great job.

What are the elements and principles of interior design? ›

Elements and principles of interior design include space, line, form, light, color, texture, pattern & keeping them in balanced proportion is the key to creating a beautiful interior. Interior design is an art of design that takes creativity and technicality.

How do I learn to design sketches? ›

Learn Design Drawing In Just 20 Hours! - YouTube

Do interior designers use SketchUp? ›

SketchUp is a widely used piece of software in the interior design and architecture community and is great for bringing architectural or design plans to life.

Do interior designers use AutoCAD? ›

AutoCAD LT is one of the most popular interior design programs today, used by decorators, architects, engineers, construction professionals, and more. This reliable software allows professionals to design, draft, and document precise drawings with 2D geometry.

Why do interior designers use tracing paper? ›

Tracing paper is paper made to have low opacity, allowing light to pass through. It was originally developed for architects and design engineers to create drawings that could be copied precisely using the diazo copy process; it then found many other uses.

Can you call yourself an interior designer without a degree? ›

One who refers to themselves as an “Interior Designer” can be either formally trained and chose not to take the step to become licensed OR they have no formal training.

What is the first step in any design process? ›

The 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process
  1. Empathize: research your users' needs.
  2. Define: state your users' needs and problems.
  3. Ideate: challenge assumptions and create ideas.
  4. Prototype: start to create solutions.
  5. Test: try your solutions out.
Jun 3, 2022

What are interior decorators called? ›

Many people use “interior designer” and “interior decorator” interchangeably, but the two professions are very different. Interior design is the science of understanding behaviors to help property owners create a functional room within a building, including the shapes of a room's walls, floors, and more.

Do interior designers use AutoCAD? ›

AutoCAD LT is one of the most popular interior design programs today, used by decorators, architects, engineers, construction professionals, and more. This reliable software allows professionals to design, draft, and document precise drawings with 2D geometry.

What is drafting in interior design? ›

Interior drafting is one component of that process. Most designers begin the drafting process after the client has approved the 3D visuals , style concepts, and cost estimates. At that point, you can draft the 2D representation of the space you are designing and add each design element as a layer on top of it.

How do you shade a sketch? ›

How to Shade with PENCIL for BEGINNERS - YouTube

Is SketchUp used professionally? ›

SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) is a 3D modeling CAD software used by both professionals and amateurs alike. SketchUp allows the creation of a large number of 3D models, and is also suitable for large architectural projects (e.g., landscape design).

Which is better SketchUp or AutoCAD? ›

While AutoCAD is better suited to 2D & 3D mechanical, civil, and architectural engineering designs, SketchUp is great for 3D modelling and basic rendering of objects. SketchUp is easier to use, and far less fussy than AutoCAD, however the latter offers superior rendering ability.

Is SketchUp good for interior design? ›

SketchUp is a widely used piece of software in the interior design and architecture community and is great for bringing architectural or design plans to life. The software helps you take 2D drawings and turn these in to fully customised 3D models - complete with furniture, accessories and custom joinery.

Can a draftsman become an interior designer? ›

Yes, you can. It's not uncommon for people from related fields to collaborate on projects where they might have expertise in different areas. Civil engineers with expertise in the design and construction of buildings have skills which are applicable to a career as an interior designer.

What does a drafter do in interior design? ›

They draw maps, diagrams, and profiles using cross-sections and surveys to represent elevations, topographical contours, subsurface formations, and structures. Drafters also draw interior room arrangements for residential and commercial projects.

Why should an interior designer need to utilize drafting skills? ›

Drafting and drawing

Interior designers use drafting skills to create visual representations of structures. Taking detailed measurements to draw accurate room sizes, elevations or junctions can help when designing the room.

What are the 5 basic skills of drawing? ›

The 5 basic skills of drawing are understanding edges, spaces, light and shadow, relationships, and, the whole, or gestalt. These 5 basic skills of drawing make up the components of a finished work of art when put together.

What are the 4 shading techniques? ›

The Four Types of Shading Techniques in Art
  • Pencil Drawing Shading Techniques.
  • Pen and Ink Shading Techniques.
  • Paint Shading Techniques.
  • The Basic Color Wheel.

How do I start basic sketching? ›

Sketching Tips for Beginners | Art Journal Thursday Ep. 21 - YouTube

Videos

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