My favorite hand-drawing resources


I’m on a quest to be better at hand-drawn visual communication. I think of the subject as “chunks” I need to master:

  • Communicating abstract concepts visually
  • Hand lettering
  • People and objects in context
  • UI sketching

Here are some resources I’ve found fun/memorable/useful. Several of them cover more than one of the areas of mastery I mention above, so I have not categorized them.

Sketching Across the Design Process, Ray DeLaPena

Ray’s workshop at Lean UX NYC 2013 strongly influenced the way I think about the different contexts of sketching: “thinking,” “talking,” and “showing.”

Kate Rutter, Strategic Sketcher at Intelleto

My friend Kate Rutter creates and shares amazing resources. If you get a chance to attend a workshop or hear hear speak at an event, do it!

Hand Lettering Ledger, Mary Kate McDevitt

Although you might think that hand-lettering is just the territory of graphic designers and illustrators, I think it’s great for any hand-sketcher to have a couple different hand-printed fonts in their toolkit. The book has great examples and loads of different worksheets, so buy it on paper and practice, practice, practice!

The Sketchnote Handbook, Mike Rohde

This book is worth getting on paper. It’s printed on nice paper and bound well so it’s a pleasure to read. The electronic version is not as satisfying.

The “Back of the Napkin” series from Dan Roam

I first saw Dan Roam at SxSW 2010 when he launched “The Back of the Napkin.” He now has a several books and tons more resources on his site.


The VizThink folks are an international community. They have interesting events and good resources.

Quick, Useful UI Sketches, Lane Halley (that’s me!)

I’ve pulled together my current thinking about UI sketching in a workshop. I use a technique I call “reverse wireframing” to teach you to see the structure of UIs and through a series of exercises, you’ll create your personal shorthand to draw UI elements.

Good luck, and please leave comments with your favorite resources!