Among the topics tackled in a recent i.d.e.a. Museum exhibition – Artful Play! Game & Toys – was how toys are designed, which resulted in a sketching activity. Let’s try this at home!

Getting Started

How are toys designed? When toy designers have a toy they’d like to create, they begin a process for designing it. The process includes initial hand sketches and illustrations, digital and 3D modeling, prototyping, testing, production, and packaging.

The first step of designing a toy is to sketch ideas. These sketches help guide design and engineering decisions.

How do illustrators learn how to put their ideas onto paper with illustrations? A great way to learn how to draw is by observational drawing or drawing a still life. A still life is a drawing or painting of an arrangement of objects. Drawing a still life helps us identify object shapes, shadows, highlights and overall composition.

Try it out!

For beginners…

1. Take a piece of paper and a pencil. Look at the still life nearest you on the table. Try to identify the basic shapes of the objects and lightly sketch them onto your paper.


2.  Add details to your drawing to include color and shading.

For intermediate/advanced …

1.  Complete step 1 above.

2. Once you’ve laid out the shapes, begin to add the detailed lines of the objects. Once the details are made you can erase the initial shape lines you made.


3. Looking at the still life on the table, try to find the areas that are darker and lighter based on the light. Add shading by using a crosshatching technique to the darker spaces.