Most senior designers I know insist that doing preliminary sketches on paper is far faster, and allows for far more creativity than using even the most sophisticated CAD software. The reason given is that even a good CAD program is still an additional layer between you and the manifestation of an idea.
Even if you know how to draw, graph paper makes it easy to keep things in proportion. Isometric or 3D graph paper helps with proportion at the same time it helps you draw in 3D. To that end we are posting for free download some isometric graph paper. Feel free to download and print as many copies of our isometric paper as you want for your personal use. We have both portrait and landscape.
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In this drawing Tim did of a table he made, you can see how the sketch progressed from a few rough lines to a distinct object in 3D. Hidden lines were removed and shading and lines added to suggest wood grain, surface texture, and the visible parts of the joinery. You can't tell from the sketch but in the final table the centerpiece is a metal bowl, hammered, and installed flush to the table top. What you can tell from the sketch is the idea of a bowl-like recess developing as an idea - which is the whole point of sketching things out.
This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.