JAY DOKKEN

Jay Dokken

Name: Jay Dokken

Pencil hand: Right

Craft: Design

Brand: UI Stencils

Location: Denver, CO

@uistencils

UIStencils.com

“For me it’s all about experimentation. If something is not working, you have to come from a different angle. That means stopping your current approach mentally and physically and doing something different.”

Jay Dokken
Jay Dokken
Jay Dokken

THE PROCESS

What do you do?

I’m the founder of UI Stencils– I conceive, manufacture, and market physical products for digital designers and developers. I’m also a design aficionado in general, knowing too much to be dangerous about architecture, graphic design, industrial design and web development. I’m also a husband and family man.

What does your work space look like? Where do you like to create?

Right now I have a room in our house I use as a work studio. It’s not ideal because I have a 5 and 8 year old, but they’re not 5 and 8 forever. I also like tinkering in the garage. Even though I would like to be a minimalist and have focus and intent with my work space, I’m much more of a renaissance man, stuff is thrown about and my space always looks like I have a lot going on. My workspace essentials include a large amount of desk space, Aeron chair, Tizio lamp.

What role does the pencil play in your process?

The pencil is the first tool I reach for when brainstorming ideas. It’s also the first tool I reach for when I don’t have anything particular in mind and I’d like to be expressive or come up with something new.

Why do you choose to work with pencils and, specifically, Blackwings?

Pencils are very forgiving, with a pen you have to be more precise and intentional. I like pencils because you can vary the line weight, you can be noncommittal and make a really faint line, or you can fully commit and lay down something solid and black. On Blackwings, the tactile feedback is unsurpassed. I’m going to sound like I’m selling snake oil here, but there is a magical feeling you get from a Blackwing that you don’t from other pencils, it heightens the experience of creating. 

What other tools are essential to your process?

Sketchbook, Internet,  Macbook, iPhone are the key players.


Canon 5D2,  Fuji 100x, 13×19” Canon photo printer, Sharper Image Model MSG-F100 Heated foot massager. 


A studio and garage full of various tools and materials.

How do you overcome ______ block? Writer’s block, artist’s block, etc. 

For me it’s all about experimentation. If something is not working, you have to come from a different angle. That means stopping your current approach mentally and physically and doing something different. Also, putting restrictions around something makes it much easier to overcome a block. It has to be made out of wood. It has to contain the letter ‘R’. The dominant color needs to be green. Restrictions like these make it easier to move forward.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I don’t think I can point to any one piece of advice being the best. For me, advice gets compounded and blended together over the years. I’ll spin this question around by asking myself what advice would I give other creators? 

Learn by doing.


Don’t know how to build a house? Build one. Need a specific Javascript app? Do it. Want to master the art of wood-fired pizza? Get going.

Be industrious.


Conceive. Build. Market. Sell. Repeat. All great ideas need to fit in a cycle, master this and you’ll do fine.  You want other people to say “that girl/guy is one industrious mother fucker!”

Be big picture.


As best as you can, know how the world works in large strokes, continually educate yourself.

Be detail oriented.


Whatever it is you’re creating, immerse yourself in the details to the point of obsession.

Be positive and optimistic.