I always keep a stack of legal size paper on my desk, and a fresh sharpie nearby, so I can sketch anytime I want.
Pictured above are a few pages pulled at random. Not pretty, but that’s not the point!
I wouldn’t say that this is how I solve problems — For me it’s a mixture of writing, and talking to others about the problem, and then letting my unconscious mind do the heavy lifting in the background (eg. sleeping on it, working on something else, exercise etc). But sketching certainly helps.
I think designers love sketching because of the speed, and because it’s abstract enough so you’re not distracted by colourful pixels. It’s also a shared language between disciplines. Engineers will sketch via their mental models — so it often looks different (systems, data, components etc), but there’s usually enough commonality to understand and share — which is how you move projects forward.
This is an attempt to start writing more on this blog, sharing things about myself.