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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Lim

Fancy Sketches and Renderings in Engineering vs Doodle: Balancing Artistry and Communication

Approximately a decade ago, while pursuing my mechanical engineering major, I developed an interest in industrial design with a vision of creating my own product in the future. Motivated by this passion, I enrolled in a private institute known as Sketch Factory, located in Korea, specializing in teaching product sketching (I wholeheartedly recommend this institute, with the instructor having over 100K followers on Instagram).

Dedicating around 6 months of effort (attending 3-hour sessions, 3 times a week, for 24 weeks, totaling ~216 hours), I honed my product sketching skills. Undeniably, this proficiency has proven invaluable throughout my career as a mechanical engineer, providing me with a unique set of abilities. Attached below are examples of my drawings.

However, the purpose of this post is not to boast about my skillsets; rather, it is quite the opposite. Over the years, I have begun to question the true necessity of engineers possessing fancy design sketches. Is it essential to produce intricate and elaborate renderings, or is simplicity sufficient to effectively convey ideas?

For instance, let's consider a comparison between my rendering of a squishy robotics project and a simple drawing that took merely a minute to create. Particularly, when communicating within a team, the latter sketch can often convey the idea just as effectively as the more detailed one.

Let me clarify that I am not asserting that acquiring 3D sketching skills is entirely unnecessary for engineers. Instead, I suggest emphasizing the ability to swiftly communicate ideas rather than obsessing over absolute accuracy in every instance. This agility in conveying concepts can hold considerable value in collaborative settings.

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