This week’s prompt has 2 parts: “Building your visual vocabulary” where you’ll sketch an existing product to understand what makes it look the way it looks, and “Creating new forms”, where you’ll practice sketching new designs.

Try to spend at least 30 minutes sketching, 5 or 6 days a week. Short practice sessions each day usually lead to better results than longer, less-frequent sessions. You should make at least one new sketch each day, so by the end of the week you should have at least 5 new designs and your study of the original product.

Building your visual vocabulary

Pick a moderately complex product that includes 3 or 4 simple forms (3D shapes like boxes, cylinders, cones and spheres). A coffee mug is too simple. A car is too complex. A desk lamp with a flexible arm or a pair of over-the-ear headphones would be good choices here.

Sketch an informative perspective view of the product. Choose a view that provides clear information about the front, side and top of the product.

Make sure your drawing accurately shows the product’s proportions. The parts should be the correct size (relative to the whole product) and in the right places. When you finish, you should have a good working knowledge of what makes the product look like itself.

Creating new forms

Without making major changes to the product’s proportions, redesign it to be as rugged as possible. It should look like an elephant could sit on it without causing a dent. But remember, the overall proportions shouldn’t change. Don’t make the parts any larger or smaller than they are in your original drawing and keep them in the same positions. Instead, try changing the shapes, or adding supports, ridges and bumpers.

Your final results should be elephant-proof, but they should also be appealing. Users should want to buy them and show them off to their friends. Try several different designs, and remember, don’t draw the same thing twice! You’re testing several different ideas, not refining a single one.

If making a rugged product doesn’t appeal to you, try using a different adjective. You could go with the opposite of rugged, like delicate, or disposable. Or you could go with something completely different, like organic or comfortable.