Art, process and design blog of an aspiring industrial designer.

Archive for July, 2012

3D Sketches

3D sketches are super important in industrial design. (Obvs.) Right now, my 3D sketching needs to be done Waaaaaayyyyyy more frequently. But for now, here’s some places I’m getting techniques and inspiration from for 3D drawing.

These shots are all from grad student sketches from the industrial design department of RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). Apparently, one of the profs there found his students always falling asleep in his lectures for History of Industrial Design, so he assigned to his students a drawings of at least one of the pieces they learned about in class! And, every class they submit their drawings. So cool!

Notice how great their 3D rendering is on each image, and you can never really see their 3D guides. Also, check out the different hatching techniques that were used!

Face Lift!

Hey readers! Although my blog is still young, there will be a bit of a facelift soon! And I am super excited.  

After attending the amazing Blogshop held in Toronto this weekend, I have learned some amazing tips from Bri and Angela and am SUPER excited to get goin’!

Anyway, let me know your thoughts on it! :)

p.s. how embarrassing is this animation?! HA! But, the photos were done, so I HAD to post it…  Forever on the internet…

Links: Edgy Art Snob

Sad, but true fact: because I look at so much amazing, beautiful art and fashion on the internet, shopping malls are kind of ruined for me. I can no longer go to them, except to very specific stores, and with very specific people.  And, when I actually do go into those specific stores, because I spend so much time on Pinterest and “the blogs” exercising the art of being extremely selective, I am extremely selective in those stores, too.  This makes me, I’m sure, annoyingly hard to shop with and to shop for.

Because, honestly, you can not get all those beautiful things you see on the internet in a mall!  A mall does not sell high fashion, or artisan pickles, or one-of-a-kind anything, or vintage.  And therefore, I am a total snob. (The irony of this all, is I am definitely NOT on a snob’s budget… so, definitely not the best unconscious decision to become snobby… )

Anyway, these are some things my super snobby self has been liking recently. Enjoy.

Things like this have ruined mall for me. How can I seriously go back to normal life after seeing that?

Her feather-jacket thing worn in the HBO show, Girls, is amazing. Where the heck do they sell these, please? Can I buy one??

How about a super awesome sweater, that is actually interesting (albeit, trendy)?
(Looks art-snobby, right? Like me!)

Regular t-shirts? Nope! Only topographical t-shirts from the UK for me, please.

-Since, after 8 years of yearning, and 1 year of loafing after finally saving up enough money, I finally bought a Canon Rebel T3i.  And I am so excited.  I’m a little nervous, because even though it was on sale and all of “the blogs” say its the best DSLR starter camera, I’m just worried that maybe it would be worth it to get a camera that would be a little cheaper, but not that much worse off.. ha, stupid thought path, I know, but that’s how my mind works.. Anyway, this is the case I would get in my camera dreams.
-Great tips on for beginners for shooting in manual. (Or, for people who haven’t shot in manual in about 4 years…)
-Givenchy Fall 2012 Couture and Givenchy 2011 Spring Haute Couture . So intricate, and clearly intensely designed and worked upon. How can anyone be expected to return to normal life, after seeing that much luscious extravagance and detailed work.
-I do not want to wear regular shirts that make no statement. I want to wear feather shirts that make you look like how I would picture Charlize Theron to look in Snow White and the Huntsman, except hotter and less model-y. (Worn by Jessa Johansson, played by Jemima Kirke in the HBO series, Girls.)
-I own this watch, and I freakin love it. THIS is a watch.  No thanks, American Eagle (Michael Kors knockoff watches).  (Now that I have ostracized another bunch of my readers……)
-Cool grey-to-white sweater.
-Is it weird that I want a body harness like this one SO BADDDDD. Or, like this one. Like, so bad. Maybe, I want it 20 times more than I would want almost any t-shirt, any brand.  Also, how great is Taylor Tomasi Hill’s style!  She is one of my number one style icons.
-This guest room is amazing! Love her redesign.
This, these bottles, are what I call awesome snobby packaging. And although they are really trendy and aesthetic in their design, it is a brilliant metaphor and way of getting people to notice their product.  If I saw these in a grocery store, I would sure as hell buy one, if just for the bottle.
-Beautiful topographical t-shirts.
-I’m really liking this blog.  The three boys that run this blog just post really interesting, food-for-thought art pieces.

If you feel like it, and if you share my elitist taste, follow me on Pinterest !  And you can see more of my snobbery on a regular basis.

Artist/Designer Round Up: Dieter Rams!

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hessen) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.”  Rams is largely considered one of the most influencial industrial designers of the 20th century.

Braun TS 45, TG 60, L 450 (Germany, 1964/1965)

He most well-know for his work while he was the head of design at Braun (from 1961 to 1995), during the company’s most successful period, and also, for his design systems approach. “Together with his design team, he was responsible for many of the seminal domestic electrical products – and some furniture – of the 20th century.”(here) During his time at Braun, Dieter Rams created the ‘Ten Principles of “Good Design” ‘ which has greatly influenced the education and approach to the design process.

Deutsch: Steuergerät (Receiver) Braun regie 51...

Deutsch: Steuergerät (Receiver) Braun regie 510 von 1972, Design: Dieter Rams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time when Rams was first appointed as head of design at Braun, a new movement in design was changing the way the modern physical world was built and being perceived. This was driven strongly by the Bauhaus School popularity and the many famous architects that were promoting this new idea of minimalism.

Instead of copying this approach, Dieter Rams took it one step further. In the past, electronics were made with wood casings and were often made to look like old, classically made, honest furniture out of natural materials (wood, wood-looking plastics, etc.). Even throughout Mies Van Der Rohe’s famous minimalistic work, simplistic, minimal spaces were enriched with heavy, lush, elaborate natural materials.

Rams moved forward to make machines look like machines. Using new and industrial materials, like plexiglass and metals, he used a similar minimalistic approach to Mies Van Der Rohe or Adolf Loos, but without rich and deceiving heavy materials. His work embraced new technology, instead of hiding it. Instead of following Mies’, “Less is more”, Rams’ said, “Less, but better.”  Rams’ design approach and ‘Ten Commandments’ were so strong that he was able to apply them to almost every household product that he designed while at Braun.

This can be seen in one of his most famous works below:

Dieter Rams put in the clear cover. So simple and obvious, but so new for the time and totally brilliant.

When he first began working at Braun, the company was undergoing a total company re-design, and this new approach fit in exactly with Dieter Rams’ uncompromising approach. After a very successful first exhibition of Braun’s new radio designs, Dieter Rams’ beliefs were confirmed that good design would help a company sell products.  Because a good design, would already be marketable.

Stylus Force Gauge – Design Dieter Rams – 1962

Stylus Force Gauge – Design Dieter Rams – 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rams’s Ten Principles of “Good Design”

Good Design Is Innovative— The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful—A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Good Design Is Aesthetic—The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Good Design Makes A Product Understandable—It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Good Design Is Unobtrusive— Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Good Design Is Honest— It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept

Good Design Is Long-lasting— It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail— Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly— Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible— Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

(Taken from here.)

I cannot think of anything more true, or more self-supporting or self-encompassing, about product design. (Or really, about any sort of design-type thing.)  These intentions, I think, are the things that make the entire difference between a good and bad designer. It is this simple.
(………And, of course, is not really simple at all… But, it is kinda this simple.)

This is the design bible!  If ever stuck, read these again, and ALLOW yourself to get out of your design rut!  Let these help you edit, but also let these ‘commandments’ help to dictate your solution.  Constraints or limitations in projects are often SO helpful.  So when you are at a loss, give yourself limitations, or let these be your limitations.  It can give a new sense of freedom.

His approach to design still is used and seen in so many different media:

– a weather iPhone app built based on Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles. (

-SFMOMA (that is, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) did an film series called INSPIRED BY DIETER RAMS on pieces of design, art and industry that were immediately, significantly effected by Dieter Rams. SFMOMA also currently have an exhibit called LESS AND MORE which includes more than 200 models and objects by Rams and his team, as well as contemporary designs influenced by his Ten Principles of Good Design, such as Apple computers.

-All the products on this great pinterest board.

-“The Braun Digital Watch BN0076 is based on the original DW30 that was designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs in 1978. Only 3000 units of the DW30 were ever produced and this design hasn’t been available in 30 years. The BN0076 features a stainless steel face, black leather band, and a 12/24 hour digital LCD with light.” (

Fabulous interview:

For more info, check out these sources: here, here, here.
Look into these awesome Dieter Rams flickr sites!: here, .

(Click on all images to go to their original webpages.)

Paint-Chip Rainbow Unicorn!

(Caution: There are no actual unicorns in this post, sorry to mislead. It is just that every time I see the word ‘rainbow’ I just feel this need to put UNICORN! beside it…)

Here is a project I did about 3 years ago in my university year-long-rental bedroom. I used to call it “The Paint-Chip Wall”, but from now on, I’m def’s calling it “Paint-Chip Rainbow Unicorn”.

I love how this installation worked out, and am super proud of it.

When I moved in, I really, really wanted to put up an installation, but since I was living in a rental, I needed something easy to remove, and that wouldn’t mark up the walls.  I also needed something pretty cheap, and not too too long to make. I wanted to see the project finished in less than a month.

After hunting around the internet, I found this article on apartment therapy showing a guy who had modge-podge-ed a whole bunch of paint chip samples to his wall after going to the hardware store once a week and taking colors he knew they had extras of.

For me, I knew the way he installed them would never work.  I could never modge-podge paint chips to a rented room! So, being the resourceful Mechanical Engineer that I am, I instead planned out my color design on Excel. Then went to the hardware store with an awesome friend, and got some paint chips (my wall was actually quite small, and really didn’t require that many paint chips! So, I was able to get all my free paint chips without attracting any attention..), bought some duct tape, and bought some staple gun re-fills.

I went home and taped the paint chips into large panels, and then borrowed my housemates staple-gun and stapled them to the wall.  Because they were in large panels, I didn’t have to put one hundred holes in my wall and they would be pretty easy to remove, with only a bunch of tiny little holes (which the previous tenant had left before me, anyway).

Now, looking at the internet, there are a whole slew of paint chip projects to do! For example, here, here, here and here.  Anyway, make your own art installation in your house! They are so fun and peoples reaction when they enter the room is the BEST! (Seriously, when my landlord was trying to rent the place for the next year, it was so funny to watch people’s faces as they entered my room!)

p.s.: If you feel uncomfortable taking paint chips, ask your hardware store when the new season’s paint chips are coming in! A lot of companies get a new series of colors every year or so, and the hardware stores usually just throw away the extras.  Start your project when they’re throwing them away, and recycle them! Also, if you go into a paint-specific store, you can sometimes buy a package of paint chips to bring home to check colors in your house.  You could also use these for your project, but remember that although these packets have every color (paint chip) the company offers, you can’t get multiples of the same paint chip.

Anyway, happy install-ing!

Artist/Designer Round Up: Wary Meyers

A husband and wife team that I have been watching for the last five-ish years are “Wary Meyers“, i.e.: Linda (formerly Linda Wary) and John Meyers.

John Meyers started as the chief display director for the shop Anthropologie, and began creating innovative installations for the store’s flagship shops in New York City. His designs often reconsider everyday objects, and John tends to focus the display on utilizing the existing features of the objects he’s using.

An example of his style is seen in is this beautiful display he did in this Rockerfeller Center window display:

Clearly, he uses marshmallows as they already are, but re-thinks their application by letting his imagination run wild or go-literal. Here’s some other amazing Anthropologie displays that John has done:

(Here he uses colored chopsticks.)

During the time that John was working at Anthropologie, Linda was doing a variety of her own design work.  She has worked as a graphic designer, a freelance art director, a columnist for the New York times, and doing freelance fashion design work. (article here)

The couple both loved to garage sale hunt, and after collecting an assortment of finds from their travels, a friend one day approached the couple to ask them if they would decorate her apartment for her. She was on a budget, but had a very similar aesthetic to the couple – mid-century-modern and playful, and usually extremely 1960’s-70’s.

After successfully decorating their friend’s home, the couple started their  own company full-time, Wary Meyers Decorative Arts.  In their company the two work on interiors, object design, paintings, illustrations, and soft sculpture.(Interview here.)  Wary Meyers has been featured in DominoTime Out New York and Roomarks.

In 2009 the couple also wrote a book about re-purpose-ing furniture, and let me tell you, having bought this book, it is one of the funnest, most ‘hip’ DIY, furniture refinishing books I have ever seen. It’s called Wary Meyers’ Tossed & Found: Unconventional Design from Cast-offs and its filled with some really unconventional DIY ideas.

Here are a couple photos of projects feature in the book:

Now Linda and John continue to work and live in Portland, periodically working on commissioned art installations, doing interior design projects, collaborating with different companies (Urban Outfitters, etc.) or re-selling some of their amazing finds.

Drawing/Life Lesson

So, the most useful, obvious thing I know about drawing is this:
Draw from general to specific.  Start vague, then move to details as time allows for them.

Again, this is SO OBVIOUS but has proven insanely useful (in all aspects of my life), since I have been told this again and again by my teachers and mentors this summer. It applies to everything.  Seriously, to work and life and art.

1) You are life drawing: Since its hard to judge time in life drawing poses, first get a feel for the entire pose. Sketch it out and draw gesture drawing (in whichever way you want to – scribbles, swirls, wide volumetric shapes, etc.), generally giving yourself and your viewer an idea of intention and overall action or lack-of-action.  This is so important its insane. Not only will this create for yourself a drawing anchor on which to draw more detailed aspects, but can be used to help with proportions and will give the viewer an overall feel of the pose.  Also, if you do not finish doing some of the details, you still have a legible, useful drawing with information.  You do not just have one random arm floating. Your odds of getting a better overall drawing increase with this method as well, because everything consecutively gets more detailed, instead of having just a vague portrait or figure with one really detailed eye, the entire body or face is done on a equal level of precision.

2) You are doing life-work tasks: I am a perfectionist, but also (perhaps, as such?) I am an extremely slow worker.  I have always been like this and have accepted this about myself.  But unfortunately, in life you will often never be able to finish something to your level of perfection.  There is usually NEVER enough physical time to possibly get to that level.  And really, it doesn’t matter.  That level of perfection does not usually matter.  Often times, you learn much more by approaching many more problems, rather than solving one problem really, really well.

If you find you are like me, you will also find that, if you continue to work on that level of detail, sometimes you just won’t be able to finish a task – believe me, I’ve been there. And it super sucks.  So, how do we get around this? What is a strategy to use? This is such an important issue because when in the workforce, you will not just get marks off for being late.  It is crazy unprofessional not to be able to meet deadlines, and in some industries that literally makes or breaks whether you have a future with a company.  Moral: When working, ALWAYS, ALWAYS work from general to more specific.  I know it sucks to say this, but I have concluded (with all of my limited experience, and with my listening and watching and learning from others greater than me) that it is better to submit something that is complete, but rough or a bit crappier, than to submit something that is amazing but totally incomplete.  Really, something incomplete is worth almost nothing.

No reader can do anything with a half finished short story, even if that first half is amazing.  They won’t know what happens, and it’ll plague them for the rest of their lives, until they finally kill themselves or write the end of the story.  A half-finished design is no design, which is worse than a crappy design (because usually a crappy design can be edited).  Also, often if something is late, it just won’t be accepted at all, so it literally is nothing.  Work from general to specific!  Therefore, even if shit hits the fan, you will have something! And, after you finish the first draft, you can still spend all of the rest of your time editing and iterating, and I promise you will get the whole thing closer to perfect so much faster!

This is something I’m working everyday to get more directly into my life.

Anyway, here are some life drawings of me working from general to more specific! I hope you enjoy them, and have a great week, of one of the hottest where I am…

Here are some really quick (~1 minute) poses and some gesture drawings I started out with. They are not perfect, but even in these quick drawings you totally get a sense of the pose and its intention.

Here (for some 5 minute poses), I’ve done my quick gesture drawing, and then started with the more specific contours afterward. The gesture drawing helps a lot to give me a general sense of proportion on the page.

Here, instead of starting with a gesture drawing, I used the side of my chalk to show density and mass by the concentration of color in the overall shapes of the larger mass areas in the body.

After, I edged around those masses with conte crayon doing a contour drawing to add detail to the shape.

Although these aren’t necessarily really good, they have a good technique behind them, so I know that if I just keep doing a few more, they will rapidly get better.

Anyway, have a swell day! Cheers,

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