Improving design and drawing skills


I am wondering if people have suggestions about improving my basic
drawing skills to support my jewelry design. I have taken basic
drawing before, but never any technical drawing/drafting. I noticed a
graphic designer in my jewelry class is very good and precise at

I looked up some basic books on amazon—quite expensive and not
sure if it is more that I need. Does anyone have any resources,
books, online class, tools, etc that would help me?.

And thanks for all who helped me with my torch questions–I’m up and
running! I’m hooked on this.


I don’t know where you are, but Metalwerx near Boston in Waltham, MA has a workshop on Rendering: learn to Draw
Jewelry this coming weekend Oct. 7 - 8

If you aren’t close by or free, the CD that comes with the expensive
edition of Complete Metalsmith has a fairly comprehensive eBook on
jewelry rendering that you might find helpful.

The other suggestion is to just keep drawing and you will improve
with practice. I look back on my sketchbooks and can actually see
improvement (though I am not all that good yet)

Good luck with your drawing skills,
Spectrum Jewelry Resources

I don’t draw especially well - not so bad, either. Drawing jewelry
with precision is “Rendering”, and there are things to learn there -
using templates, ways of shading and stuff. General drawing, though
is simple. There are a few things to learn (I’ve bought $5 drawing
books that helped) proportion, blocking out a drawing, etc. After
that, it’s just draw, draw, draw - practice. What you are really
doing, after getting the basics, is training your hands and eyes, and
that is largely just lots of practice.

this is a great book on drawing. it also comes with templates. he
also has an excellent book on wax carving. these books are step by
step ways to draw to scale for customers to visualize.

“Techniques of Jewelry Illustration” & Color Rendering Kit-


Don’t forget to check out Charles Lewton-Brain’s articles:

Charles used to have an entire non-Ganoksin site, which covered the
curriculum for his jewelry design class–or maybe it was 3-D
design–but I can’t find it anymore.

If you put “design drawing” in the advanced subject search function
for books on, and use the default sort (bestselling), this
book comes up first:

I own it, but have been hesitant to recommend it, since it is really
written for architects (as far as I know, there is no book like this
for jewelers). However, in the second article noted above, the second
exercise involves doing an orthographic projection. If it weren’t for
this book, I wouldn’t even know what that means!

One of the things I really like about the book is the distinction it
makes between speculative drawing and presentation drawing. Jewelry
rendering is really a form of presentation drawing. In terms of
improving design skills, speculative drawing is, IMHO, much more
important. As the progression of the book makes clear, however, it’s
very hard to draw “speculatively” without developing representational
and analytical drawing skills first. And, just as architects spend a
lot of time drawing buildings they love, I suspect jewelers could
benefit from drawing lots of jewelry they love.

There are, of course, books that focus somewhat on jewelry design
“skills” (search the archives and they’ll turn up). In the category
of books which have a couple of chapters on design, my current
favorite is “Contemporary Jewelry” (I have the one subtitled “A
Craftsman’s Handbook”) by Philip Morton. I found it in the library
and think of it as a late 60s version of Rose and Cirino. Wonderful
stuff on linear and strip-plate forms (and even a short chapter on
layout). Plus lots of modernist jewelry (unfortunately, in tiny black
and white photos), including a couple of Calder pieces I’d never seen

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US