I am a sketcher and occasionally use graph paper to get an idea of size and proportion. For some drawings, I use the drawing set in Micro$oft Word. It keeps lines square and plumb. I've posted many of these over the years. I like the discipline of working with precise, straight lines.
But I actually work from the mental image I form of the easier projects, with a little help from my sketch on basic dimensions. I've pretty much settled on story sticks for inside measures, cutting slightly proud and trimming down for an exact fit. Luckily I grew up in the radio age, so my ability to visualize is pretty dang good. Many kids today just can't visualize or form persistent mental images.
I've sketched since I was a kid. Now I finalize my drafts onto graph paper, which give the straight lines. And/or use a ruler for straight line. Rough drafts, straight lines are just drawn out, accuracy is not required, just the concept.
I've been able to visualize images since I was a kid. I think everyone has that ability, but it's a if you don't use it you lose it thing. I know I've told people I can do that, and get back, "I can't do that", and they won't even try to do it, because "they can't do it". Thinking about that I think growing up with just radio, and books, that definitely increased my ability. Books especially, no sound effects, no creaking doors, no announcer saying what is about to happen, just imagination. Now kids are into video games and movies, so it's no wonder they can't visualize things. I put it all to not using their own imagination, but just accepting what the creator of the game or movies.
I can not only visualize things, I can visualize them in color - used to think everyone could, but apparently not. Also, can visualize them in 3D, and rotate or move whatever I'm visualizing - this I don't know if other people can do or not, but I think that meditating for about the last 50 years might have had something to do with it.
On top of it all, it's fun to grab a pencil, cheet of paper, and just start sketching. Always used to try to have one of those paper desk pads (or whatever they're called). Very handy, in the lower right corner I would write down all phone numbers I got over the phone I needed to use. Then the rest of the pad was covered with sketches. Next morning, tear off the top sheet, write down the phone numbers I still needed, and start a new day. Now adays I have half a dozen or so spiral lined notebooks and a batch of steno pads, and normally have one or the other with me almost anywhere I go.
"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.