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

Posts tagged ‘drawing’

Work Wisdom from Milton Glaser

miltonglaser1,jul4-2013
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.’ ”

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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

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IMAGES: here // here // here

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.

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(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.

myworkdrawings-sketches,feb5-2013
Anyway, any thoughts and feedback would always be appreciated!  I hope you all have a great Tuesday.

Art: Elizabeth Peyton, David Hockney and Pencil Crayon!


Elizabeth Peyton and David Hockney are artists who both use pencil crayon really, really well.  And that’s super interesting to me, because its not something you see a lot in fancy art and its extremely affordable and accessible.

Elizabeth Peyton: here // here // here


David Hockney: here // here // here

Notice how Hockney uses the pencil crayon more in a general-shading way, whereas Peyton uses the lines of the pencil crayon really effectively to show planes and volume and direction.  Both of them mix and layer colors so well, which add such a sense of detail and depth to the pieces.  I find with the colors and the texture of the pencil crayon, each of the pieces have a hardness and a sense of defined shape, but also a softness in their layering, the shades used and the way the drawings often fade into the background.

Anyway, enjoy! Back to studying..

Figure Sculpture

If you are trying to improve your drawing, one really great way to do so is to try your hand at figure drawing and figure sculpture.  I am doing both right now, and they are helping IMMENSELY!

A lot of people ask me what life drawing has to do with Industrial Design, and what I always say is: If you can draw the body, the most complex, dynamic thing ever, you can draw virtually anything.

In my life drawing class we learn different techniques of drawing and life drawing every class.  For example, we’ve done classes where we only draw by edges (contour), by volumes and masses, by scale and alignment, by gesture, by shadow and light, by 3-dimensionality, etc…  All of the ‘greats’ did figure drawing as well, and its really interesting to see their charcoal work and how their approaches were similar or different from their famous works.

Example 1: Georges Seurat

Seurat is very famous for his use of pointillism and  this painting, which you might recognize:
“A Sunday On La Grande Jatte”, 1884. here.

In these drawings he likely used soft charcoal on very rough paper. Although he doesn’t actually do pointillism here, his rough paper makes it appear as though he’s using a sort of pointillism.


Also, you can see how he uses light and shadow very effectively to create 3-dimensionality, but I would guess that he is not as concerned with realism or accuracy in his life drawings. This actually makes perfect sense with the rest of the image (the background, a prop) not being fixed in space, and being fairly undefined and unstable.. It is more of a question and a allegory to the background, than an actual drawing of the background itself, just like the details of the face are more general indications, with an emphasis of how the figure is formed out of the background.
Boy with hat here // Nude model here // Cat here // Crying woman reading here

-> Note: If you are lucky enough to find an entire book on the sketches or drawings of such-and-such artist, they are usually going to better than anything you find on the internet.  If you need some inspiration or guidance and don’t have anyone to ask, refer to these books in a library or in the library of a nearby art school… It really helps you improve when you know you have a long way to go to get to their level.

Example 2: Auguste Rodin


“The Thinker”, found here.

Rodin is most famous for his figure sculpture work, including the very famous “The Thinker”, but here we can see his relation to figure drawing.

As opposed to Seurat, Rodin was much more focused on edges and contour.  Almost all of his figure drawings are based on a thin wire-like edge around his figures, with cross-hatching shading applied on top.  This gives a clearer, more detailed image, but a more 2-dimensional effect.
Man curled on floor here // Minerva with watercolors here // woman and man here // seated female life drawing here

Seriously, applying these different techniques will really help your drawings.  Try them out on people on the bus or at a coffee shop, and you’ll see how much they actually help you see differently.

Contour Drawings, YO

Here are some contour drawings I’ve been doing.


 I really love this method to drawing. Its so intentionally imperfect, yet it doesn’t look gimmic-y or unrealistic. I find that I am actually able to add a lot of extra details and realism sometimes, even if shapes end up being totally wonky.

Contour drawings remind me of Shel Silverstein poems.

Blind contour drawing

Blind contour drawing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to know a guy named Shael and he was really cool, but we ‘drifted apart’ in, like, grade 5. And then I saw him again once a couple years ago, and he still seemed really cool. I like to think if things had happened differently, I would have or could have been friends with both Shael and Shel. I never actually really got into “Where The Sidewalk Ends“, but I was always sure that the guy who wrote it would’ve made the best uncle or grandpa.

I don’t know… still… I mean, I want to love this poem, it is cute and everything, but even for children’s poems, its no Billy Idol or Robert Munsch.  Nevertheless, the contour drawings suit him and his poems oh-so-well.

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

Drawings are Hatch-ing…

I was going to write about hatching today. All the romances of using cross hatching, and shading, and how it adds grit and depth.  And blah, blah. And ‘look at my portraiture drawing!’

But, I just read a post that Swiss Miss did (Tina Roth Eisenberg) about the 15 things to learn from the Eames’, and I needed to share it.  I love the Eames’ (Eames’s? Eames? Eames’?).  Their work, their workplace environment (so open and weird, even though it was the freakin 60’s), their colors, their personalities, their home, their ideologies, their funny marriage and how they worked together. [Awesome documentary]  These 15 points are so important to me, and I hope I never ever, forget them.  Every point is essential, as a human and as a future designer. I hope when reading them, you guys totally read them slowly, too :)

The 15 Things Charles and Ray Eames Teach Us

01. Keep good company
02. Notice the ordinary
03. Preserve the ephemeral
04. Design not for the elite but for the masses
05. Explain it to a child
06. Get lost in the content
07. Get to the heart of the matter
08. Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
09. Remember your responsibility as a storyteller
10. Zoom out
11. Switch
12. Prototype it
13. Pun
14. Make design your life… and life, your design.
15. Leave something behind.

(Taken from this whole essay, here.)

Anything to add to the list? Thoughts? Please leave comments below!

P.s.: get excited! Because hopefully sometime soon, I will have completed this art project I have been planning on doing for MONTHS! And, I’m just gonna be real: I think its seriously going to be awesome and I really hope it turns out the way I picture it in my mind…

P.p.s.: About hatching: You’ve just gotta practice hatching a lot, I think.  It is SUPER important for industrial design sketches and really good to have a handle on for all types of shading. Also, remember that hatching is meant to indicated existing planes, and the hatching direction can indicate ‘plane direction’, so be careful when you chose the angle of your hatching lines!

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