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

Posts tagged ‘student’

What I Learned In Undergrad

I learned a lot of things during my Undergraduate degree, and I am not going to list them all today. This is not going to be my ‘What I Have Learned So Far In My Life’ list (yep, I am that overbearing and keen that I keep a literal list like that (in the vein of Stefan Sagmeister, though, to be fair…) ). This week I officially convocate, so I thought I’d give a quick summary version of some important things that come to mind that I learned during my undergrad. You will go, or have gone, to Undergrad yourselves, you’ll learn the rest, whatever. I just wanted to give you a lil hint.

1. Here is proof that if you want to / have to learn something, you can actually find a way. You know where to look, you know who to ask, you’ve done it before.

2. Life is actually tough in the fast lane. Apply for things, hustle, don’t fall asleep.

3. (personal belief**) We must create our own meaning in our lives – our lives do not inherently have meaning.  We choose the meaning in our lives. Education is knowing that we can choose for something to mean something.

4. ‘Putting into action’ and ‘understanding’ are the values of study.

5. Most people don’t know what the eff they are talking about.  (in life, academically, etc.)  Take comfort in that.

6. Almost nothing is black and white. Pretty much nothing.

7.  Marks mostly don’t matter, but sometimes they do matter.  Invest your heart in the right place at the right time.

8. Consider the likelihood of returning home before midnight after a day of school.  Act accordingly.

9.  Become friends with really weird people, from different circles and walks of life, because they are just nice or cool or interesting.

10.  Think frequently and hard about what you actually want out of life: what you want your life to look and feel like, how much free time, how much family, how much money, and freedom, and work, long-term, and at each stage. You don’t have to know right now, but just think about it. Consider it and toy with it. And then try to make what you think is the best option happen. Do many, many multiples of iterations on this.

Note: I have chosen not to include any of the REAL life lessons you learn in college/uni (said drinking rules, social norms, how to sip 21 different liquids in the dining hall and then run to a different dining hall without vomiting… what? I never did that. Why would anyone try to do that?!) Have you ever seen the movie Meatballs? It is like that, except not at a fat camp and add all of the life lessons listed above. :)

The Importance of Side Projects

If you didn’t already know, side projects are IMPORTANT.

In whatever industry you are daring to work in.  Even the ‘irrelevant’ projects.  If you didn’t already know this, you are super late to the party.  I have heard so many great professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs speak about the importance of side projects, so listen closely.

In my opinion, and again, from what I’ve read from great people, side projects are arguably more important for your personal sanity and career of choice than school in a chosen field, or even employment experience in a chosen field.  This is because it shows:
1)  initiative,
2) potential (no client!! no limits!),
3) dependability and dedication, and

These four things are so essential for any hard working individual who inspires. Initiative and hustle are very important with everything being so fast and available these days (-> laziness runs rampant).  You have to be the one to grab it!  Also, when you work on a side project on your own time and money, it can literally be anything you want it to be, and thus holds so much potential.  It can be long-lasting and over the top and epic and beautiful, but also, if you fail, no big deal.  Just start again tomorrow.

Dependability and dedication are a given with side projects.  There are no real deadlines, you are not getting paid to do this and maybe no one will even see it.  Its almost more the opposite – often friends don’t get it, tell you its not as important as hanging out with them, and you run into at least two snags during the process (its becoming not what you were planning, you run out of materials, you are off schedule, your dog pooped on part of it).  But from this, you become self-motivated AND you become dependable.

It’s also a great way to build a portfolio, and continue to let your creative self naturally evolve.  Even if you are really great at writing fiction revolving around 9/11, sometimes you just have to move onto the next phase of your creative life and write romances taking place in the turn of the century.  You are no longer that person who wrote your first novel – you’ve grown, you’re happier/more depressed, you’ve explored it.  A side project is a great way to do that without pressure, or your editor saying that they’re not  really interested in this new kind of novel from you at the moment.  It is really one of the best ways to get the kind of clients you want and to focus your work in the area you want.

One fabulous example of a side project is starting a blog….. but there are SO many people doing all sorts of different side projects out there.

Here are some amazing examples:

Jessica Hische.  Jessica works as a letterer and illustrator, and with her early web presence started posting many different side projects on the internet.  Some of those include Daily Drop Cap (where she created a new letter of the alphabet every day. So far she has gone through 12 alphabets, but has since stopped the project).  She also made Mom, This Is How Twitter Works, Don’t Fear The Internet, Inker Linker, Should I Work For Free?, a doodle blog, etc. etc…  All while working and maintaining her own personal blog…. She makes me feel so lazy. Check out way more of her side projects right here (since she is the Queen of Side Projects, for reals).

-Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss.  In addition to starting her design blog as a side project, which has since become one of the most popular design blogs of all time, Tina has also created Creative Mornings a free, creative, conference-like lecture series that has since spread to major cities across the globe, Tattly, a design-y temporary tattoo company, and the design-y to-do app, Teux Deux.

Ji Lee. Currently a communication designer at Facebook, Ji Lee created and started the famous Bubble Project, the word as image project, and so many other side projects.

Aaron Draplin.  Graphic designer who created Field Notes as a side project!

Kate Bigaman-Burt.  Drew copies of her receipts until they were paid off, and then drew everything she bought in a day, everyday.  She’s been drawing daily since February 2006.  Crazy.

I could go on and on, but alas, I must go floss.  Go start a side project! Tell me about it in the comments!  (Also, if you need some tips or encouragement, re-read this post or check out this link or this one.)

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,

This Week’s Round Up

Photo is found here.

1. So, Etsy (if you haven’t heard of etsy, then I am super appalled.) has these amazing video series’. One is ‘Handmade Portraits’, another is ‘There’s no place like here’, etc. Anyway, they are all so fascinating and interesting and beautifully shot, to me. Anyway, since I was recently trying to re-scare myself into working on my art, I was looking up ID grad schools. When I was watching RISD videos, I came across this ‘No Place Like Here’ etsy video again that I hadn’t seen in a while, but it is so cool! …love RISD… AND I MUST GET IN…

2. Another great artist, is sculpture artist AJ Fosik! He makes these amazing 2-Dim -> turned 3-Dim pieces, reminiscent of chinese dragon costumes, and totally intriguing, different and fierce. Here’s an interview with him, too.

3. If you are looking for inspiration, or just want to look up the art available at a specific gallery, this (the Google Project) is so cool and useful. Great art resource.

4. I read this ages ago, but its so freakin’ funny and TRUTH! I had to post it: The NOGOODFORME Guide to Picking Up Girls. Ladies, how much does it annoy when a guy (OR ANY PERSON) or another lady, if you swing that way, lists their “Coolness Resume”? A “Coolness Resume” tots exists and I’ve had it listed to me SO MANY times I want to rip a carpets’ hair out. And then, after someone lists their “coolness resume”, you have to make yours up on the spot (or worse. you actually have one, too.), and we all know how last-minute resumes go. They have an oil stain on them and you don’t get the (well-dressed man) pro-job you deserve, but are maybe planning to turn down anyway cause he’s not that great of a talker.
This metaphor is getting weird. Anyway, I AM UNIMPRESSABLE! Just don’t do it.

Anyway, there are so many good parts of this post, but my favorite quote is:

“Do not list your “Coolness Resume”. Because it’s not going to work. I am unimpressable. When I meet you, I don’t want to hear you list off bolded points from your “coolness resume.” Why do people have to have coolness resumes? It’s such a big part of dating in 2010, and it’s so uncool. Coolness resumes are chock full of boring and pointless information I don’t care about such as: a semi-whimsical and poorly-executed description of the (weak) concept driving your rock band, worst-case-scenario segueing into some drivel regarding “your musical influences” (No musical influences. Never tell me your musical influences.), and just all the normal garbage that makes me want to walk home quickly and swear off men forever: who you know and where you go and bad art and how hard you partied last night. How hard you partied last night- that one’s the worst. I am so turned off by the contemporary impulse to try and encapsulate everything notable you’ve ever done/ all of your most captivating personality traits within the first four minutes of meeting someone you find somewhat attractive at a bar. Let’s just talk about what we did today and share funny anecdotes from our respective adolescences and discuss what foods we like to eat and what zodiac signs we are. I will figure out that you are cool in the long-run if I like you. (Laura Jane)”

5. I’m really sorry, plebians. Ira Glass two weeks in a row. Except I’m actually not sorry. His top picks from Boarders!

6. So, Readlist is “A group of web pages—articles, recipes, course materials, anything—bundled into an e-book you can send to your Kindle, iPad, or iPhone.”, and lucky for you and I, the amazing, extraordinary, cool Tina Roth-Eisenburg (aka swissmiss) has made her own Readlist for Students, which I am slowly savoring, absorbing and reading through.

7. One of my favorite artists ever is the famous Steve Powers. He is weird, and that is so normal. And he does not give an EF what the world thinks of his hair or his Love Letters to New York. EF ya Steve Powers!

8. Colin Jack is just such a fabulous illustrator. He’s so earnest and shy and real-childhood-y, and still fun and silly. This is one of my favorite’s of his. Also, this:

9. I have wanted this book since it came out. Basically, I have wanted this book forever. Even before I knew I wanted it. Fully, I am As deep. As. Stefan Stagmeister.  !

Enjoy! Happy Friday :)

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