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

Posts tagged ‘Debbie Millman’

Work Wisdom from Milton Glaser

IMAGE: here

“I always thought about, in early life, our objective, certainly people in the design profession, is to look professional, and to feel professional…. and you wanted to have that veneer and that sense of authority… and it was all we really wanted to do – you come out of school and you want your work to look like these marvellously slick, professional things that were in the world…”

“And then at a certain point, you reach professional level, and your work looks like that, and you realize its not enough.  That merely, getting to a point where your work looks good enough to be called professional is just the starting point.”

“…as a metaphor… when you start to learn how to draw… you are so overwhelmed with the difficulty with making things look like what they are… and you almost die trying to control your nerve endings so that the object looks like its supposed to, and you spend years doing that. And then finally you get to the point when you finally draw something that looks like what they are.”

“And then you discover, that’s not the point.  That being able to draw something that looks like something, is nothing.  That that is only the starting point.  Now you have to ask yourself, how do I make a good drawing, or an expressive drawing, or a drawing that means something.  Because the ability to only make it accurate, is actually a low-level ability.  Even though its taken you years to get to that point, its not very relevant.  But there’s no other way to get there.

“The same thing is true of your work. You sort of strive to make it look good, and make it look as good as your peers, and make it looks as good as the other stuff in the “Art Directors Annual”, and so on.  And then at a certain point if you continue and persevere, you realize that’s not good enough.  You have to go beyond that level, in order to engage that other thing, which is true expressive content, true meaning.”
-Milton Glaser, Design Matters

A metaphor that, I think, applies to all aspects of work, and anyone who wants to be truly great at what they do.

Marion Deuchars on Design Matters

Today, here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a snow day. The most glorious of all days of the year, on the rare occasion that it happens. It lets you skip school/work, without having a makeup already planned! So usually it just ends in more time to do work, and more time to browse the internet, finally make a flickr account, get a sibling to bake for you, AND complete some much needed art projects.

Anyway, Marion Deuchars! About a month back Marion Deuchars was on the podcast Design Matters, and I finally got to listening to it. She talks about her work as an illustrator, how she creates nostalgic r’s, contemplative a’s, peaceful p’s and childlike q’s. She also talks about what its like to illustrate with a character in mind, for example when she wrote around George Clooney’s body for the cover of GQ, or when she she collaborated on Tilda Swanson’s children’s clothing line.

Listen to it here.

Also, her two boys pipe in at the end of the show, and were SO CUTE, and I have to say, more than a bit poignant.

Here are some of the great quotes from the show:

“…there’s an age where a child draws without inhibition. We can all recognize that kind of drawing, because we’ve all done it.  And then, around the age of 10 or 11, and its mainly in a Western culture, we try  to attain a kind of realism, and its whilst we are obtaining that realism, is where things can go horribly wrong.  So for the one’s who obtain a realism that they’re happy with, for example if they manage to obtain some kind of porportion within the drawing or they try to draw something that resembles it, and they’re quite happy they continue, …. but for the majority of people, its too much, and basically they decide from that point that they are not very good at drawing and that their drawings are bad, and they stop drawing, and not only do they stop drawing, but they generally never draw again.  And can even develop a fear of drawing, which is actually quite common.  And I always say, how can we develop a fear of something that’s so amazing and that gave us so much personal expression as children. And suddenly we decide we’re no good at it and we stop.”

“I think handwriting, hand lettering, is fascinating because it offers you an insight into personality.  I think when you look at the lettering that’s been drawn you try to imagine who drew it, who wrote it, and that’s quite different to a font…”

” ‘My children’s drawings surprise me all the time.  They break the rules, they inspire, they make me laugh, they shock. I don’t want that to change for as long as possible.’ ”

She also has 3 books out, all on Amazon.  When I have money again, I’m definitely buying “Let’s Make Some Great Art”! : Let’s Make Some Great ArtLet’s Make Some Great Fingerprint ArtLet’s Make Some Great Placemat Art


IMAGES: here // here // here

Empathy: Desperation

(Images: Mick Jagger portrait Exposed Bryan Adams here // Nabil Elderkin here // Miuccia Prada (photographer unknown) here )

Desperation, I think, is one of the most dynamic states-of-being or emotions we, as humans, can have.  Its so interesting because its so revered on some level, but it is also such a terrible place to be.  Famous or great people always talk about how they were absolutely so desperate – financially, emotionally, physically – and that was the turning point, that is the catalyst that made things change, or made them change themselves.  That great lift of internal force.  But to get to that state, or at least while you are in that state, it is one of the most tragic states-of-being for sure.  To me, it means that your entire self, being is up for grabs.  It also means you will take or give absolutely anything.  People are desperate for love – a love that has been lost, or a love that has not come , people are desperate for money, for shelter, for attention, for fame, for food, for a situation or for a situation to end.  Being so, so vulnerable is quite literally the definition of real desperation.  And it is because of this that greatness or achievement can come of it.  It is when you have nothing else, but to give your actual self.

Really, greatness and grand change always comes from desperation – it is a non-mutually exclusive necessity.  It means that to be successful, you must be desperate on some level (or lucky, of course), but it also means that if you are desperate  you will not always necessarily end in greatness.  This adds such a realness, and an additional layer to the tragedy of this.

In desperation there is no filter, because there is nothing left but the desperation and the need and the desire.  You are pure focus, and what a powerful thing that is.  Desperation is the rain and the long, grey dry spell afterwards.  As a ‘young’ person, I know that nowadays, if a guy asks for a woman’s phone number, and calls her too soon after receiving it, he is seen as ‘desperate’.  And that is a bad thing, because it means that no one has wanted him for so long, that he has become desperate to have connection and love and sex.  But remember boys and everyone, it can go two ways.  Desperation, if you are desperate, is not always a bad thing.  Use your desparation as a hidden unexpected power that you did not know to articulate or that you had.  Applying it is the one real power to getting what you need.  Use it to love and to go extra miles, and kilometers and mountains farther, let it be your constant unrelenting push when your feet are sore and your hair hurts and your teeth are itchy and you are so tired.  Greatness comes from total desperation.

(Images: photographer Lee Jeffries here // drawing of Lauren Bacall here )

[This post was inspired by an episode of Design Matters by Debbie Millman, with  guest Chris Ware]

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