How to sketch your jewelry designs

sketching jewelry designs with Candie CooperIn preparation for Bead Fest Santa Fe I have been designing some new classes. The first step that I take when working on class material is the sketching process. I thought that I would share with you how I go through sketching jewelry designs.

I love to sketch out designs. It is a great creative outlet when I am not able to actually make something and it allows me to flush out ideas and brainstorm. I have written FIVE books to date and three of them I have illustrated. The first book that I did with my sketches was Metal Working 101 for Beaders. Then I worked on Neckalceology and Earringology. Sometimes I just do simple sketches for my jewelry designs and other times I add in color to give the full affect.

Tools for sketching jewelry designs:

tools for sketching jewelry designs with Candie CooperWhen I sketch jewelry designs I like to start with simple graphite pencils. I then go back with colored pencils and pens to give the sketch more dimension and definition so I remember what I was envisioning. For my sketches of jewelry designs I use Prisma Colored pencils, these are easy to get ahold of and you can purchase these on Amazon or at your local Michaels store. The set I use I have had since high school! They last a really long time, but get a little shorter every year. When adding pen to my sketches I used Sakura micro pens, you can also purchase these on Amazon or at local craft stores. In their collection there are a few options of thickness but I prefer the .5mm pens the best.

Not only should you thinking about what writing materials you are using but you will also want to have a nice book to put the jewelry design sketches in. I prefer the Canson sketch books. Even if you think that the sketch of your jewelry design is bad don’t scribble it out. You never know when it will lead to inspiration later.

Where to start:

I mentioned before that I like to start with a simple graphite pencil. I will figure out what components I want to use and start with my focal piece. From there I sketching jewelry designs with Candie Cooperstart to add things on one side to see what I like. Sometimes I will go back and finish the second side and sometimes I don’t. There are times when I will try two different things on the sketch and then decide what I like better.

Overtime I have developed my own short hand for the sketches of my jewelry design. When I want to show jump rings I will draw a half moon. When I want to show chain I will just draw half of it to get the idea. If there is going to be crimp bead in the design I will just draw a square. If there is leather I usually just use a wavy line to remind myself that is what I wanted to use.

Most of my jewelry design sketches are suggestions of what I want. I don’t draw the exact thing, rather what I would like it to be like and then I find the beads and findings that I have that will fit what I was thinking. Overtime you can develop your own short hand for your jewelry design sketches.

I hope that this helped you to see that the creative process for making jewelry isn’t just in the making of the item but also in the brainstorming of new ideas. Let me know if you go out and get some Sparkle Bracelet Kitssketch books and post some pictures to the Facebook page of what you are sketching.

Be sure to come back to the Facebook page every day at 2:30pm EST to see what our next project will be that we make together.

I mentioned that there are new sparkle bracelet kits available in my Etsy Shop. Be sure to check out the new colors and the tried and true favorites.


  1. Dee Butlr says

    I SHALL RETURN! haha… So I’m not Arnold Swartz..what’s his name. But I have enjoyed being here.. and I will look in again
    See you soon.

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