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

Archive for the ‘My Art’ Category

My Work! Drawing

Hey kids! So, I haven’t shown any of my work for a while on the blog, so I thought I’d post some stuff.

Here are some sketches and life drawings. (Note: RATED R! There are naked people! If that freaks you out, go take a bathroom break, get some hot chocolate, come back in a little bit. No bigs. It takes a little bit to get used to naked people.) Anyway, I love life drawing. It calms me down so much, and whatever approach you decide to work from, it always makes you see the world dramatically different (e.g. negative space drawing! contour! volumetric! focused body part! strong awareness of perspective! etc.). Also, when you do it a lot, you improve so quick. That is not always the case with some stuff…. I used to do chemistry a lot… did not get that much better at it.. Anyway, I always talk about drawing on this blog, I’m sure you all know I’d MARRY drawing if I could.

(Also, there are many, many other mediums that I love… I think just today, conte is definitely the best medium of all time)

Here are some of my favorite regular, ole’, daily sketches.

Anyway, any thoughts and feedback would always be appreciated!  I hope you all have a great Tuesday.

Students: Variety for Portfolio

( Hey dudes, just a warning: this week might be a bit shoddy with blog posts, since I have a killer exam next week and then some family stuff coming, but I will try to keep up as much as possible! )

Sup fellow students! So, we are going to talk about portfolios again today.
Although you should take my advice with a grain of salt, one thing that I think is really important to have in a portfolio, is a demonstration of a lot of different media.  When applying to art or design school I think that it is so important to show how your voice translates, your versatility, where your interests span to, that you are open to trying new things, that you are willing to go against your natural skills, etc., etc.  Also, I mean if it were me reading through hundreds of portfolios, it’d be nice to see a cool new media used every so often.  It wakes you up I think, and makes you re-think a product or material you may have forgotten about.

Anyway, here are some examples of types of media you should dabble in:

4) COMPUTER – graphic arts, solid modeling, whatever!
6) MIX 3-D & 2-D and TEXTILE ART


9) ETCC!!!

10) combo of all/some media ………….

drawing – Leonardo da Vinci here // paint – Happy Menocal here // collage – The Selby here  (ps: I know this isn’t really collage work, but it makes me think of collage, cause its a really well-chosen and well cut-out photo) // computer – Solid Modelling of USB Port here // sculpture – Rodin here // mix 3-d & 2-D  – Maranon here // writing – The Mavenist here // film – The Pleasure Of here

Photographing Your Work

Sup students! And non-students working on improving your portfolio!
I am starting to look into assembling my portfolio for grad school (AHHHHHHHHHH. crap!), and it actually took me a while to find any good sources for tips for photographing 2 D and 3D artwork for a portfolio! So, I thought I’d share them. Hopefully, these will be worth their virtual weight in gold.

I think this one is the best for overall-2D:

This one has a great trick for photographing drawings that I never thought of and breaks things down pretty well….:

Another useful 2D tutorial:

Shooting 3D!:

So, these videos teach you a lot about shooting the overall object or painting, but remember also that its important to get some process shots! AND, some detail shots if some areas aren’t easy to see from the overall shot. Also, these guys are super pros, and if you are applying to schools like me, remember that you are applying to be a student. Of course try to get the best pictures you can, but I don’t think its necessary to go out and buy a bunch of stuff. If you take your time and generally follow these tips, I’m sure you are off to a good start!

ANOTHER TIP: Best portfolio advice I ever had – design you portfolio like you would design a book. A real, photo-based book.  Meaning, think about the order in which people are going to view it, if you put it online or decide to bind it, make an interesting cover that is related to your work, but draws people in.  Think about photo layouts if you are showing some close up and think about chapters? If you are going to use text? Color schemes? Etc.

Anyway, I hope this has been helpful! Cheers,

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!

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!

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