Ah, the sketchbook. Among the experience it’s something to be revered and is taken anywhere and everywhere. It’s very beaten and battered from use and holds thoughts and ideas and inspiration.
Among beginners, such as in college/university it’s something of a chore. “Why do we need them?” was something I remember hearing a lot! A lot of people genuinely didn’t see the point of them, beyond for academia.
Those that did feel that way though often were those whose designs suffered from neglecting the sketchbook. Those that kept comprehensive and well-documented sketchbooks of inspiration, sketches and ideas had a lot more on offer in their work. In turn their work had a lot more creative and productive potential. Not to say you have to be an amazing artist though.
We were told time and again that by using the sketchbook it promotes ideas and more creativity. You get more ideas if you just draw and don’t concentrate too much on it because thought isn’t hindered by detail or specifics. Concepts can be drawn from thumbnails but the more intiial ideas the more rich a concept can be.
This and the notion of collating inspiration is something lost on beginners and even some experienced designers. I can see the allure of going straight to the computer but actually, I’d say it can take longer to develop a concept that way than it would by sketching first.
My advise to anyone, experienced or not is to use their sketchbook. If you don’t own one then buy one! It will be one of the best investments you ever make.