When talking about drawing for graphic design projects, we’re very often talking about a digital process. We’re so used to sitting in front of our computers, plugging away at pixels in Photoshop and Illustrator, that we sometimes forget to step away, grab a pen or pencil, and just draw. Here, we provide six simple drawing practice exercises that revolve around drawing for graphic design. These were pulled from Timothy Samara’s book on that subject. Timothy teaches Graphic Design Fundamentals at CreativeLive and his exercises will help you get started, and hopefully, breathe new life into your work.
This study trains the eye to tell form from space and pick out different levels of value.
1. Choose a simple object to draw. This can be just about anything you’ve got lying around: a cup of coffee, a pair of scissors, or a desk chair should do nicely.
2. Instead of trying to draw the object itself, draw the negative space that surrounds the object. Define the shape with contoured fields of color rather than lines.
3. Now the actual shape of the object should be defined, so go in and add details using pencil or a lighter charcoal to create different values. Add each level independently, beginning with shadows. In each iteration, increase the number of levels between black and white. See five more exercises, here.
Business founded: 2015
Alexia Liatsos creates playful abstract paintings on canvas, wood, and paper, working mainly with acrylics and oils. Growing up in Greece, she was always an artist at heart, but when it was time to decide on a college major, she went the practical route and studied engineering, although it didn’t last, as she explains, below.
How did you get started as an artist?
I gave up a promising engineering career in Europe, moved to the U.S., got married, went back to school to pursue art, textile design, and fashion and had my two bundles of joy at the same time. I attended the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and Parsons School of Design in NYC. I am very thankful to my husband for his immense support. He always says “You shouldn’t wait to chase your dreams.” He is my biggest fan.
After graduation, I interned and worked for established NYC brands including Michael Kors, Christian Cota and Children’s Clothing Companies, where I gained extensive experience. Being driven by the need to feel free, I immersed myself in painting full-time and set up my studio. Nurturing my own creative life, while staying committed to my children’s needs has been a dream come true. Read the rest of the interview here.
The crude, messy nature of screenprinting is exactly what attracted designer Ryan Duggan to his craft of making what he calls, “Ugly Art.”
In Chicago, where the temps are currently freeze-your-ass-off frigid, the print scene is hot. “We have more pro-level screen printers in this city than anywhere else in the world, and yet it’s not an ugly competition. Everyone helps each other out. I love it here,” says Ryan Duggan, a one-man screenprinting machine, churning out posters, invitations, and art prints in the Windy City.
He’s printed hundreds of gig posters since 2006, when he came to his senses after studying advertising copywriting at Columbia College in Chicago. “I realized I had zero interest in working in an ad agency,” he says. I’m sure his parents were thrilled. Fortunately, in high school he learned how to screenprint from a temperamental guy named Zim. Duggan recalls, “He would absolutely lose his shit if you called ink ‘paint.’ To this day, I cringe when people use the wrong term, expecting Zim to jump on a table and scream.” Read rest of article here.
Lettering for Beginners: 5 Tips to Get You Going
From street signs to chalkboard menus to national ad campaigns, hand lettering is everywhere. But it’s also intimidating for those of us who are just getting started. It takes practice, so luckily we have two lettering experts, Annica Lydenberg and Roxy Prima, to give us some tips to get started.
1. Choose Your Pens & Pencils
Having the right supplies will help make hand lettering easier, but you don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on pens and pencils right away. There is an extensive range of devices, depending on what kind of style you are going for in your lettering.
Pencils: Mechanical or Lead In
Prima notes, “I like to use mechanical pencils because they always stay sharp. My favorite is the Koh-l-Noor Mephisto Pencil.”
Lead in pencils can be hard or soft, ranging from 6H (hard) – 6B (soft), with HB being middle of the road. Lydenberg says, “I typically sketch at first with lighter pencils—meaning harder lead—and then move on to softer lead, darker pencils, once my design has taken more shape.” Take a look at this pencil hardness guide for reference. If you’re just starting out, you can grab just about any drawing pencil set from your local art supply store. Read rest of article here.
Adriana Bergstrom (née Hernandez)
Santa Barbara, CA
Business founded: 2008
Adriana Bergstrom is a jack of many trades, as is evident in her business Adriprints, which sells fine art prints and knitting patterns. She also hand-crafts novelty fonts and sells them through MyFonts. She is a firm believer in the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and she clearly practices this.
What was the impetus behind starting your business?
In 2008, right before the U.S. economy tanked, my long-time partner accepted a job in Germany. We eloped, sold what we had, and moved to Munich without either one of us ever having spoken a lick of German. I was in a new country with no way to support myself or contribute monetarily. If my previous life as a scenic artist and printmaker taught me anything, it was how to be resourceful. I was without any of the tools to do printmaking, so I started sketching letters and drawing letterforms, then it was just a matter of trial and error and getting each glyph to translate digitally. Afterward, I had to learn the font-making software (TypeTool).
The story behind the knitting patterns is pretty straightforward: I love knitting, and I wanted an object that didn’t exist anywhere except in my mind. I had already created a schematic, written the main idea for my own garment, and figured I might as well share it. So I learned to write patterns using the styles and conventions I observed in my favorite existing ones. Read the rest of the article here.