With a few lines in pencil and some colors on a piece of paper it is possible to communicate a design idea. A sketch conveys the essence of the design without getting caught in the details.
As the process continues, the drawings become more specific and “to scale” but the initial sketch is time efficient and useful in announcing a direction, an idea or the kind of furniture to be designed. A sketch anticipates reality: it predicts how the object will look once it’s made. It can also be argued that reality tries to imitate the initial sketch, in that we build the furniture to look as much as possible as that first sketch.
A good sketch contains all the main elements of the future design. It also conveys a sense of style in a very personal way. Even if the size and proportions of the object are a bit distorted, the sketch communicates reality in an understandable way. Sketches, as tools of creativity, live in a blurry zone where fantasy and reality meet and interact.
Some intentions come across in a sketch, like the willingness to keep things simple, with no added decorative elements. The sketch is very subjective, some times even more so than the designs themselves.
Sketching is like playing a musical instrument: one part intellectual, one part physical. Both are developed over time. The mental part by thinking and learning from others. The manual skills by practicing and practicing until you find your own voice.