How to Design When You Can’t Draw

By AALofts Design

Reading Time: ( Word Count: )

By AALofts Design

If you have ever been told to give up on your dreams of design because you cannot draw well, then the person who said that to you owes you an apology. Design is about presenting an idea in a manner that others can easily understand, & while drawing is an easy way to do that, there are countless other ways to communicate your ideas.

While many of these methods are effective on your own, plenty of designers combine two or more to create a more profound design. Read on to learn how you can design even if you cannot draw using various design methods.

This article was originally published on If this article appears on any other site other than without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by  

This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click & buy a product, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. AALofts Design is a participant in the Awin Affiliates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising & linking to participating merchants. For more information, please view my Privacy Policy & Terms & Conditions Pages. 

Interior Designer Sketching Concepts

Ways to Design Without Drawing.

The core of being a phenomenal designer is having the ability to express your idea so that there is little to no confusion about how the finished product will appear. While drawing is one way to do this, it is rarely done on its own.

If you cannot draw but you wish to design, you need to learn other ways to map out your ideas. Some examples of ways you can design without drawing are:

  • Sketching
  • Writing outlines
  • Creating digital designs
  • Constructing models

Not being able to draw does not bar you from designing. In fact, if you already know that you will not be able to communicate your ideas through drawing, then you will save yourself time trying to do so.

Instead, focus on other methods of communication so you can build your skills with them. Identify which methods you would like to use, & then make it a point to map out how you can use them to create a cohesive explanation of your idea.


Some may argue that sketching is drawing, but I beg to differ. Sketching may be part of the drawing, the two are not interchangeable & should not be treated as such.

Sketching is a less formal approach to drawing, & it can be effective even for those who cannot draw. While you may never even share your sketching when presenting your designs, sketches are a great way for you to get your design out of your head & onto a screen or paper.

Because sketches are less refined, there is no pressure for yours to be perfect. There is also no specific structure you need to follow, so how you construct your idea is specifically based on the skills you can create, including:

  • Sketching freehand
  • Creating digital sketches
  • Using photoshop to patch together a concept

Sketching out an idea is one way to breathe life into your design. While it does not mean that the design is fully developed, it puts it out in the world so that the development may happen.


If you work better with words than you do with visuals, then creating an outline of your design can clearly explain your vision. This can be as basic or as complex as you need. While outlines are absolutely not related to drawing, they are related to the development of ideas.

Outlines are a fantastic way to organize the details of your design, including:

  • Measurements
  • Materials
  • Colours
  • Alternatives

You can also easily modify part of an outline without deconstructing the rest of the idea.

Outlines function well alongside other design tools. You might sketch something up & then write out some specific details on the sketch. This can even be superior to drawing because it allows you to talk about things a drawing will not tell you.

Digital Design

Perhaps the easiest way to bypass a lack of drawing skills is by developing digital art skills. While this is not easy if you are not also technologically inclined, there is enough variety of software that you are likely to find something you can utilize.

Popular digital design software includes:

In many ways, the digital design manages to be superior to physical drawing. Digital copies are much harder to lose forever, but a drawing can be unmade by a rogue cup of coffee.

Digital design is also an option for creating a plethora of designs without taking up space or eating up resources. Depending on the software you choose you may also be able to access your designs both on your computer & your phone, meaning you never leave them behind.

Constructing Models

Using models is probably the best real-world application of design, & while drawing can lead to the construction of models, it is not necessary.

There is so much more to be said from a miniature version of your dream than there is from a drawing. While a drawing might introduce the idea by name, a model tells you all about its personality.

You can see a drawing of a yellow dress, but to actually see the material of it & a mockup of the stitch pattern gives a clearer idea of what that design will become.

architectural measurements aalofts design scaled

Improving Drawing Abilities​.

All that being said, I highly doubt that you cannot draw.

The idea of drawing is subjective, but the basic definition of drawing is to create something by way of marking on a surface. Arguably, two of the alternative options mentioned could be considered drawing.

If you are serious about designing, it would pay off to work on your drawing abilities. This does not mean you have to present drawings to design, but you should have a basic mastery of the skill in case any of your other methods fail.

Changing Your Mindset

Your first step in improving your drawing abilities is modifying how you feel about them in the first place.

Change phrases like “I cannot draw” into “I currently lack the skills to draw well”. It may seem a bit cheesy, but you will always be your own worst critic & your biggest obstacle.

Simply assuring yourself that there is nothing wrong with your drawing ability can do wonders for your confidence & skills.

Growing Your Skills

If you are serious about growing your skills, you should take the time to evaluate where you are. Make sure you understand every basic element of drawing.

Find out where you need to work on things. If part of your issue is drawing things proportionately, search for tips & tricks to help you. Practice those so they become a part of you.

There are plenty of free resources on the internet, but if you can afford to hire a professional, they can save you the pain of trying to figure yourself out. A professional should be able to identify your weaknesses & provide you with the basic skills to bring them up to par.

Typical Home Renovation Example Budgets

Read on to learn more about each of these renovation budgets. This list includes what I would prepare for in each of them. A renovation can be an expensive process, but the result makes it worth it.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Designer?

Designing is not a one size fits all degree, as each industry requires different skills. Keep reading to learn how long each takes to achieve.

What Makes an Interior Look Luxurious?

Many people who are seeking to design an interior want the space to be luxurious in look. Read on to learn more about how to make an interior look luxurious.

What Makes an Interior Look Classic?

The classic or timeless look can be a real eye-catcher, almost like a canvas on which you can put colourful features that really pop. But you may be wondering, what exactly makes for a classic look?

Will Interior Design Be in Demand in the Future?

The world of interior design is changing. Will interior design be in demand in the future as our world continues to grow & evolve? Keep reading to learn more about my opinion on the future of interior design.

Combining Different Methods to Design.

When you are creating your design, you should use as many methods as you feel are necessary to convey your idea. This might be all of them, but it may also be just one. Usually, you should err on the side of presenting more than enough information.

  • As you grow, you will have a better understanding of which methods allow you to explain your design effectively
  • If you are more technical & less visual, then you will probably thrive when using a written outline

It is also important to tie these together with your everyday communication skills. Make sure that when you present your idea, you make it clear that any questions or feedback are welcome. Part of effective design is allowing others to bear witness to your design, so ensuring that you can fill in any of the gaps will keep your designs afloat.

At the end of it all, choose whatever is most comfortable for you. Design is nothing if you cannot express your ideas properly.

Fashion Designer Sketching Handbag

Wrapping it All Up.


If you’re interested in further reading, please see the links to my trusted resources page & related articles below. To find out more about AALofts Design, please click here. If you found this content helpful, want to collaborate on a project, or would like to request an article topic, please click here to get in touch via the contact form. Feel free to share & connect on social media, if you found this content helpful.

Article by Amy Lofts.

Article by Amy Lofts.

Owner of AALofts Design

Welcome! I am a graphic designer & digital marketer with over ten years of experience within a range of industries including; e-commerce, architecture, cruise liners, textiles & interior design. Having grown with exposure to various disciplines of art & design, my brand reflects my love of elegance, beauty & exploration. Get in touch or learn more.

AALofts Design

AALofts Design is made for creatives
who like to present their ideas with style.
This website participates in affiliate
programs & is compensated for referring
traffic & business to these companies.


Powered by Creative Market

Pin It on Pinterest