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Sketching to Share Ideas

Sketching is integral to innovation at Oat Foundry. Not only does it sketching allow us to better share our ideas, but it also engages visual and kinetic brain functions that bolster creative thought.

In this series, we will be practicing the skills needed to quickly recreate our ideas on paper (and whiteboards!). To do this, we actually want to avoid drawing photorealistic renderings and instead use the fewest marks possible to convey information. With this mentality, we will avoid getting mired in the technical details of drawing. Instead, we will first focus on developing motor skills. From there, we can begin drilling a library of symbols that we can assemble into representations of ideas.

Sketching Lines

In this exercise, we’ll practice the most fundamental component of a sketch, the line. This exercise drills the motor skills necessary to translate the images in our minds onto paper.

How do you sketch?

Most of us will tend to draw lines using our wrist as a pivot point. This is because we spend most of our time putting pen to paper when writing. Unfortunately, this often leads us to fall back on this technique when drawing as well. If we use our shoulder as a pivot point, however, we can create accurate, fluid lines and shapes.

Additionally, in order to draw on a whiteboard, a most important collaborative tool, we will need to engage our shoulders to sketch at all.

Tips for Drawing Straight Lines:

  1. Float your hand off the page
  2. Try to focus on pivoting from your shoulder
  3. Draw the lines in whatever direction you find most comfortable (for me, a righty, this is a 45 degree angle pulling from right to left toward my body)
  4. Prioritize flow over accuracy; draw with confidence and don’t draw so slowly that it gives your brain enough time to compensate mid-line.



  1. Draw a line with a straight edge. Then (without the straight edge), superimpose 8 or so lines on top of the first line. Repeat 10 times with lines of various lengths.
  2. Extra credit: Practice ghosting! Draw 2 dots. Hover your pen over the page and move your pen as if you were drawing the line BUT WITHOUT TOUCHING THE PAPER. After a few ghosts, drop that pen down and draw your line!

How did you do?

John Halko

John is Oat Foundry’s Director of Innovation – tasked with systematically challenging the status quo.

Email John directly

John Halko

Innovative thinking leads to building cool stuff.