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Sketching the process with Tom Skeehan

Lydia Downe and Amanda Smith

We have all heard the saying a picture speaks a thousand words and this holds even more true when it comes to the design world.

Design drawings bring abstract concepts to life, and allow for a universal understanding of an idea regardless of language, technical understanding or skill level. The importance of design drawings as a form of communication has not evaded the keen eye of Canberra-based furniture designer Tom Skeehan.

Having been heavily involved in the design industry, not only as a designer, but as a teacher too, Skeehan has come to recognise a serious gap in the industry.

“I believe design drawing is one of the most important skills a designer can have,” he explains. “I realised that there is a need for design drawing book that not only teaches you the fundamentals of drawing but why we draw and the different ways that we can use drawing as communication.”

This has proved as the inspiration for Tom’s first self-published book Sketching Process.

Skeehan Studio's Ki-Low chair

Skeehan Studio’s Ki-Low chair

Sketching Process is an insight into the use of illustrations in numerous areas of product design, from furniture, to lighting, fashion, automotive, architecture and interiors. The book looks at the different styles of various designers (Skeehan included), and shows how they incorporate their illustrations into their production process.

Through this 200 page publication, Skeehan hopes to inspire designers to further their technical drawing skills and develop their own unique style and form of drawn communication.

An excerpt from Tom's Sketching Process

An excerpt from Tom’s Sketching Process

Skeehan has launched a Kickstarter for his book, you can support it here:

Featured Designers

  • Alexander Lotersztain – Derlot
  • Robert Foster – F!nk
  • Dale Hardiman – Dowel Jones
  • Erin Hinton – Hinton
  • Tom Skeehan – Skeehan Studio
  • Ross Gardam – Ross Gardam Design
  • Kevin Snell – Snell Architecture
  • Adam Goodrum
  • TAKT Architecture
  • Jon Goulder
  • Andrew Simpson – Vert Design
  • Formswell Design studio
  • Tom Fereday
  • Design by Them
  • Corr Blimey



All images via


Lydia Downe

Lydia Downe is an upcoming fashion photographer inspired by the quirky, colourful and abstract. After a couple of years in Melbourne, Lydia believes there is no place like home, and Canberra culture is actually pretty cool. When she isn’t in class producing unnecessarily complex photos, you can find her enjoying the finer things in life, like craft beer and fancy cheese. More about the Author


Amanda Smith

Amanda is a lunch enthusiast and Canberra local with a love of all things curious. With a background in photography and current studies in journalism, she hopes to produce work on the human condition and what makes us so intricate. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her eccentric family and buying bread, dip and olives from the Old Bus Depot Markets for lunch on a Sunday. More about the Author

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