High Priority – Game Art

The beginner’s Guide to Sketching for 3D Artists

Why Sketching is Important:

The beginner’s Guide for 3D Artists

If you think that sketching isn’t part of a 3D artist’s life you’re in for a surprise: it is. Any creative benefits from sketching and that includes 3D artists like yourself. It hones your skills in so many subtle ways that you’re practically robbing yourself if you’re not utilizing this useful tool. 

Okay, it’s obvious, after that stunning intro we’ve convinced you to give sketching a go ;). But where to start? That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to sketching. After reading it you’ll know all you need to know to get your sketch on and why you should start, even if you can’t sketch. Let’s dive in.

    • It’s fun

It seems obvious, but sketching is fun! You might not feel that way if you’re nervous about starting, but trust us, it grows on you. Once you start getting into the groove of sketching you’ll start looking forward to opening your book and just start drawing whatever comes to mind. 

    • Brings out your best ideas

Sketching lets you quickly draw out different ideas and quickly spot the ones that work best. It’s a place where your best idea literally jumps off the page every time.

    • Safe place for exploration

Your book is yours, no one is out to judge you so explore to your heart’s content. In fact, there’s no better way to explore what’s on your mind. And that can literally be anything. There are no wrongs when it comes to creativity.

    • Creates basic concepts

In your sketches, you can create basic concepts for ideas quickly and easily. It can be as detailed or abstract as you like. Generally, it’s best to not get hung up on details right away, just draw what comes to mind and you can fill in the rest later.

    • Works out difficulties in the process now, so you don’t run into them later

The previous point kind of rolls into this one. When you’re drawing out basic concepts, ideas, or anything else you quickly stumble upon the parts that don’t work or require a creative solution. Getting these out early saves a lot of headaches later on.

    • Storage for inspiration

Let’s say you’re not one to use your sketchbook for everything, just your own entertainment. This is perfect because all your entertaining drawings can become sources of inspiration in a heartbeat. All it needs is the right project to jolt them into relevance.

    • Clients love sketches

Another thing about sketches is that it’s a great way of conveying your process and clients love to see that. 

This is entirely up to you though, because if you don’t feel like sharing anything in your sketchbook then don’t feel pressured to do so. They’re yours and yours alone. No one can force you to share its contents.

That said, it can help in the right situations to show your client(s) how you got to a certain outcome. You can always take a picture of the specific page or even re-draw it on a different piece of paper. That way your sketchbook stays with you.

    • Sketching saves time

It should come as no surprise that after reading that it speeds up ideas, concepts, and the likes that sketching saves time. Both at the beginning stages of your projects as during. 

Got a shield to design? Why not sketch a bunch quickly and then head on over to your preferred design tool with the best idea? It beats creating all those variations in the tool, guaranteed.

    • Try different techniques 

The way to approach sketching is to not take it too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun, so there’s no pressure. Trying different techniques can also help take pressure off and enable you to find the fun. 

Try freehand drawing, doodling, sketching with your eyes closed, or with your opposite hand to loosen up either your nerves or your seriousness. 

    • Chronological view of your progress

Sometimes we just land in a rut where we doubt our capabilities or that we’re progressing in our field of work. Your book can come in handy here. It’s a perfect reflection of you progressing over time and shows how much you’ve grown. It can help you literally see you’re becoming better and get you out of that funk.

    • There are no rules

It’s important to remember there are no rules. Literally none. It’s just you and your imagination. Take it as far as you want, it’s all up to you. There are no wrong turns when it comes to coming up with ideas. Whatever your process is is your process and if it works for you then that’s all that matters.


With the pointers above to guide you we’re closing out with a few tips to give you that final push:

    • Carry your sketchbook everywhere, inspiration can hit anytime anywhere.
    • Sketch often. As with anything, practice makes perfect, sketching is no different.
    • If you can’t draw, start with basic shapes: circle, square, triangle. Build your idea from there.
    • Don’t worry about what type of book to get, just buy anything you can sketch in.
    • Don’t be afraid of a blank page. Maybe even ruin it on purpose, or try different techniques to loosen up and get in that zone.
    • Anything that inspires you can go in: text, lyrics, words, bottlecaps, pictures, cutouts, anything.
    • Set practice goals. If you’re unable to think of anything to sketch, try setting a goal. Like drawing hands, faces, beasts, buildings, fruit, trees, ships, planets, etc. This can also help you improve in areas you want to get better at.

Sketching is a perfect tool that can be an essential part of your creative process. Hopefully, these pointers and tips have helped convince you why sketching is great as well as show you the way to start and get going. We utilize it all the time and now we hope you do too.

See you next time!

The High Priority Team