Low Stress Sketching For The Artistically Challenged

Tonight someone asked me what kind of software I use when I make my sketches. I almost always sketch with a black fine point sharpie on lined Post-It notes.


Why did I choose those two items when there are about 90 billion other art supply options?

Shut Up Self

I use Sharpie permanent markers because then my perfectionist streak can’t get in the way of my creativity. I can’t sketch in pencil, I’m too tempted to erase and revise, and it distracts me from creating. With Sharpies, once it’s on the paper there’s no getting rid of it, you just have to keep moving forward.

I ❀ Post-Its

I use Post-Its because they’re low pressure. Looking at a giant white sheet of paper is intimidating for me, but a little rectangular yellow Post-It is friendly and familiar. They also feel less official, and therefore make me more comfortable drawing fun things.


When I finish a sketch on a Post-It and it’s horrible, no harm done, I toss it in the trash. When I like a doodle, I take a pic of it with my phone and post it on my blog.

Low Key and Doable

It’s the easiest, most low pressure drawing method for me. That probably sounds insane to super artistic folks, but since stick figures are the extent of my skill, it works for me. πŸ™‚

Lies! How did you make posters then?

When the UX/UI bike sketch blew up, I took a mega high res photo of it with my camera that is capable of zooming in on craters on the moon (Seriously, for a point and shoot my Nikon P510 is a beast. I took this in my backyard without a tripod.)


and then I used Pixelmator to strip out the background with their extremely handy magic eraser tool. A little more clean up and boom: my post it sketch could be blown up to large art print and shower curtain sizes.

Thanks for sharing?

So why did I just take the time to outline my process? Because I want every self proclaimed “artistically challenged” person out there to understand that a doodle I drew on a Post-It was RT’d, favorited and downloaded literally THOUSANDS of times internationally over the past couple of weeks. You don’t have to be Picasso to tell a story or get a concept across with a sketch!

So shake off your fear, pick up a Sharpie and some Post-Its and get to work!

If I can overcome my fear of sketching, so can you!

If you go for it, I’d LOVE to see your doodles and sketches! Tweet them my way at @jma245! πŸ™‚

And as always, thank you so very much for checking out my blog! You all are the very best folks on earth! πŸ™‚

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