Using Paper for Sketching: Pros and Cons

Digital art is at the top of the world today. It’s targeted not only at fans of visual art and peers but at the potential employer as well. The portfolio of a modern designer in addition to his or her work also includes the digital tools they use.

So, when sketching and paper are mentioned in terms of web design, some designers might consider it irrelevant.

AT this point let’s define the pros and cons of using paper for sketching and check out the relevancy of it for the designers who keep up with the reality of today.



It’s a crucial aspect for creative people as many of them have an impressive and perceptible personality making it hard to concentrate. While working with the paper provides the peace in full. The paper is plain it does not have access to Facebook and Pinterest. You are on your own, artist. Thus, you save time and money too actually, as sketching does not require a subscription to photo stocks for the quality for-placement-only pictures. Sketching the ideas on the papers helps arrange them before heading to the main technical tasks of the project, give a designer the sense of order at the beginning of the project.


Carrying around a sketchbook and pen or pencil is something that the artistic people do. Thus, in case you fall victim to a sudden inspiration, you can sketch the idea quickly and later on complete the drawing on the paper or transfer it to the device. Carrying around a digital device for drawing is less common. Or, if you know the precise place and time, like sunset or sunrise, that is particularly inspiring for the artists, you can take your sketchbook and a pencil there. Also, the notebook is a common attribute at master classes or lectures.

Better team involvement and cooperation

Better team involvement and cooperation

It may seem funny or even weird, but some customers or your team may be more willing to suggest changes or surprisingly good ideas if they see a sketch of the site-to-be rather than a digital wireframe that many consider a “ready” and “completed” piece of work. It feels awkward to introduce changes when everything is almost ready. Moreover, the sketch design is not as “heavy” with information, unlike the wireframe. The hand-sketch design actually “talks” to its creator and those who view it.

Make things easier

Make things easier

If you’re used to avoiding the paper while making a design, you should really try it. You may draw any layout, plan and organize future design in ways you’ve never tried before with the software. This can seriously facilitate your work as you can get the ideas out of your head fast and easy. Involve the sketching into your routine when you receive a complicated task in terms of technical side and design. Start with scribbling doodling and sketching. Turning to pencil as the first stage of work will get you connected with the creative side and cut off from the plain rationalization on how to realize all the technical sides of the project. If you start with the latter, you have fewer chances to bring in the creativity later on, as you will be concentrated on the technical facet mainly.

The feeling

The feeling

The smell and texture of new paper, the sound of a pencil brushing against it. The first stroke. Feels like nothing else. And inspiring too! The inspiration might lead you to add plain hand-sketched elements to your design or even styling the whole website as if has been drawn or sketched like some other designers. Sketching and scribbling appeal to creative flux revealing subconscious ideas. The creativity becomes spontaneous and self-stimulating. This is a blueprint of the creative side of the future project. Also in the case of hard technical projects doing so lowers the level of stress significantly.


Being able to develop a work of art on the paper makes an artist more “trustworthy” comparing to the exclusively digital artists. Some think of the digital tools as a shortcut to sketching and art. Traditional artists may believe that digital artists miss out on the drawing fundamentals claiming them to be less than the “real” artists.

Relieve from the endless perfection

They say the devil is in details. The saying acquires a very different sense when you make a sketch and have the option to zoom into the smallest pixels and perfect the shade and then move on to the another pixel making a digital sketch an endless toil. However, you can’t zoom in on the paper.


Natural toxic-free materials are pricey. But, not as pricey as the latest software and the latest equipment that keeps on upgrading faster that you can imagine. Paper is more pocket-friendly. Besides, if you are just sketching a real pencil and rubber would do fine. Maybe another color to make things brighter. Moreover, sketching the design on paper gives the opportunity to create evolutionary designs without ripping off the budget at the very beginning of the project. Also, making changes would need fewer efforts.


The paper does not need an update and it’s not electricity-dependent. Paper can’t catch a virus that ruins other papers losing them irreversibly. If the project is sensitive and there’s a threat from the competitors to break into your computer and stealing your design and ideas even before you present them to the world.



If you work at home and have a cat, then your working place is probably one of the favorite places for your pet to nap. This might extend the time of sketching digitally until your pet completes the rest. The paper is not free from kitty-attention, yet much less attractive than the warm computer for the furry friends.

Relieve your eyes

Relieve your eyes

Any person of a working age spends plenty of time staring at the monitor. And it may be the best resolution screen with the most eyes-friendly brightness (expensive, probably), switching it to paper will give your eyesight a rest and relieve from a headache. As plenty of designers get dizziness from staring at the large monitor’s day-and-night; or feel tired half-working day through due to increased eye pressure that results in headaches.


Upon so many pros on sketching discussed might get you thinking that it’s a picture-perfect way to substantiate digital wireframing with precise online tools. So, just to clear things up, I do not mean that designers should switch from wireframing to drawn schemes on paper. I am saying that it is a perfect way to channel your creativity among other obvious benefits mentioned above. Now, let’s get to the darker side of the sketching.


Despite many priorities of going traditional with drawing and sketching the artist has to keep up with time. So, there’s no avoiding the digital art. Let’s check out the benefits of using digital equipment versus sketching on paper. Thus, you may be aware of drawbacks of sketching in future and be prepared to exclude them by bringing in the sketching into you working process.

Saving space

With the digital sketching all of your drawing available at one place and are easy to access. The papers do not pile up ready to fill the space of your home mixing with finished and unfinished sketches.

Saving nature

The good quality paper comes from cutting the trees down. Sad truth about the paper. Trees are not only the source of oxygen for humans but a home for wild animals. While each digital sketch you can sign with: “No trees were harmed while drawing the design.”

Expertise proved

Being good with sketching the ideas on the paper does not necessarily make you a great website designer. Of course, the advanced drawing techniques help. Working through lines and strokes eventually, facilitates making good digital designs. If you start from digital and move on to paper, it probably will not be an easy transit. To keep up the quality, you give on PC would take time and practice before you can easily perform the necessary lines, strokes, and push.



Even if it’s hard to admit, but it’s almost next to impossible to draw some things on paper.While you may not necessarily need to be a pro++ to make a super sketch on PC. If you use the digital equipment wisely, you get better results in a far shorter period of time rather than with sketching on the paper.

Erasing the mistakes

Everybody wishes there was a button to “Undo” the last move. Even though such button is well-known to PC users, for the artists who draw a plastic eraser is a tool equal to a pen or pencil. And the work of erasing takes just as much time as the drawing does. So this is the part that multiplies the time spend on working by two.


To share your sketches and save them from going into ashes after taking them to various offices for a demonstration you have to use the scanner. Unless of course you are bound to a place of current residence, and you’re sure that you have the sketch for yourself only and its fire- and waterproof. Then you do not need a scanner to prolong the life of your masterpiece. The truth is it is rarely the case.

Aftermath – Cleaning

You don’t need to wash off the accidental sprinkles from the wall or strokes of the pencil or charcoal or even worth from the table. No harmed surfaces. Upon completing the sketch, all you have to do is save and close.

The time aspect – once again

If you choose to start sketching first, of course, it may take some time – and maybe even more time than if you are working on the design right away including the changes you may add to it further on.

Keep on losing things

Keep on losing things

Artistic people live in their head and think of ways to bring his or her ideas to life. So there’s no time of arranging carefully each jar of pigments, chalks, and brushes. It has entirely different meaning when you’re the lucky owner of a puppy or a cat. It’s no surprise that things might disappear unexpectedly unless you spend sufficient time washing, arranging and putting everything away. And, if you are a parent having the drawing materials around the house might even be dangerous. At the same time, if you save your sketches and make some copies, there are more chances to keep them, rather than paperwork that can be easily destroyed or lost.

Get you pencil out right now

What you are getting at the end is more creative and well-developed wireframe giving you a chance to take a step sideways from the exclusively digital creation of a website.

Some designers have managed to turn their sketches into full-stack websites. Such graphic design is attractive to the customer taking the user experience to an entirely new level.


The peculiar thing about the web design that the basics of it are not so obsolete and using them leads to increase in creativity and mainly creating an attractive and extraordinary interface.

Ultimately, the design of the website is a collaborative design. Yet, as a designer, you have a chance to introduce your ideas and vision. Depriving the digital world of an old-school graphic? Why not reverse the tendency every now and then?

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