I used to be pretty self conscious about drawing in front of people and even though we had to take eight semesters of drawing in art school I was never a big sketcher. Every teacher would always lecture us on the importance of sketching an idea before going to the computer, how it really made a difference in your design process, how it made you understand space. I couldn't bring myself to do it, though. It felt forced and I just wanted every little line in the sketchbook to be pristine. Well it wasn't and it took me a lonnnnngg time to understand that sketching doesn't have to be perfect and let go.
Today, sketching is a crucial part in my design process. Sometimes, I spent days sketching and tightening up the lettering before going digital. Others, I just need a rough idea of layout. In any case, no one will convince you that you should sketch more, but in my experience the quickest and most effective way to get better at lettering is sketching, sketching, sketching. Also, it allows you to observe your progress in time and it is soooo gratifying to work with your hands.
Here are some of my sketches. I've included a variety of rough, bad, detailed, good and pristine. Enjoy!