As soon as I know who my users are and what they need, I start sketching. At every phase of a project, I sketch out ideas to capture what is in my head and/or what my teammates come up with. Sketching helps me to quickly think through what is needed for a design without getting caught up in the details of how it looks.
Unfortunately I almost never save sketches . . . but here are some of the few examples I’ve photographed or scanned: