throw away your sketches

Great video here of Jaguar designer Wayne Burgess showing how much designers “store” that image of the car they’ve just spent 2 or 3 years designing! The lesson here my friends comes at the end of the video (no spoilers!). Learn not to be precious about your work… something young artists find hard at first. You can always draw it again! It is simply a few lines on a piece of paper, what is in your head is what really counts.


6 responses to “throw away your sketches”

  1. Interesting insight into GM studios there Ron. I think the scenario of a design that is chosen for production, and the story of how that production model came to be, only becomes important in hindsight. So yes, perhaps best to keep some sort of historical record- that I agree with. That has nothing to do with becoming personally attached and precious with your own work though. Most designers I know always keep significant portfolio pieces, even when it is a security risk and not studio policy to keep them or remove them from the premises. I myself have lost one or two significant drawings thanks to “toeing the company line” a bit too much in the past, and becoming comfortable with the feeling that the company owned my work, not me (it was in my contract of course).


  2. Perhaps the title here could be amended to…. “always be PREPARED to throw away your sketches!”


  3. I always kept “good” ideas as a reference for the future. Often these “old” ideas would trigger new ideas. Its also a way to judge your progress as a designer and artist, trying to beat what you have already done. So No, I do not agree with the concept of tossing out your drawings. But do get rid of the bad stuff and keep only the best and always strive to top it.


    1. Interesting: I can disagree with most of your reasons. Firstly, because they are personal. Why are you trying to beat yourself? Judge design success on the customer response- not your own. Who’s opinion is it that it’s a “good” idea? I can agree with keeping work- for portfolio reasons or reference in a professional context (maybe a previous design might suit a new client). My comment about preciousness simply stands as advice. One day you will have a boss who TELLS you to throw away a design, and you will get upset about it if you are used to making that decision for yourself. This is the difference between an artist, and a professional designer. The professional does what is right for the boss, the client, the customer, the brand, the studio, the commission etc. A professional should avoid personal attachment to the work (in practise this is near impossible).

      Thanks for your feedback though- good to see opposing opinions on this, we’re all different….


    2. oh, and I also like your comment about striving to top your last work… but for me, that’s why things should be thrown away… because your next drawing should ALWAYS be better than the previous!


      1. As it turns out, GM is now looking for these old sketches. The practice in the studios was to throw out all the sketches and drawings when a project was done. This meant that the history of the design being developed was also thrown out. GM is now petitioning retired designers to send in any drawings that they saved and write a short paragraph about the significance of the sketch and the time period when it was created. GM is creating a scanned archive of the drawings and then sending the drawings back to the designer. I also saved drawings of other designers who had interesting techniques or design styles. For me, at the time, it was part of my design education, but now I have a chance to restore some of the design history of some of GM’s legendary models.


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