Skip to main content

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 that enable us to quickly recreate our ideas on paper (and whiteboards!). To this end, we actually want to avoid drawing photorealistic renderings and instead focus on making the fewest marks possible to convey information. With this mentality, we can avoid getting mired in the technical details of drawing and focus on building confidence and muscle memory. Our eventual goal is to develop a library of symbols that we can assemble into representations of ideas.


We often use a human figure in our sketches to create both scale and an indication of how a human would interact with our ideas. While stick figures could be used for these purposes, we can convey so much more information with just a few more lines. Following a few simple rules, we can upgrade our stick figures into human forms that have postures, trajectories, and emotions.

In this exercise, we’ll practice representing people doing all manner of things using as few lines as possible.


The rules:

  • Start with the torso
    • Begin with a straight line to represent the bottom of the torso
    • Add a half oval shape for the rest,
  • Next, draw a circle for the head
    • The circle should just touch or be drawn above the torso
  • Finally, draw the limbs
    • Limbs come out of the edges of the torso
    • Draw arms starting where the head meets the torso
    • Draw legs at the ends of the line drawn for the torso
  • From there, add as much detail as you like! Nice things to add to personalize your figure are:
    • Hair or hats
    • Emojis for the face
    • Hands (a zig zag works great!)


  1. Using the 21 lines provided, draw human figures using the guidelines provided.


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.