This paper outlines a solid foundation in core modeling skills for systems engineers building complex, high-performance systems with the SysML language. With a focus on modeling fundamentals, this paper outlines how teams can get started with proven techniques and a simple step-by-step approach, and deliver substantially improved business results like faster time to market, better quality and reduced cost. These proven techniques build a solid start for teams making the shift from ad-hoc diagramming to a more rigorous model-driven approach.