Adult Coloring Books Relieve Stress

Oommm.  Relax with a … coloring book? Yes. Coloring books for adults are the new rage in publishing here in the United States, but in other countries, such as France, they’ve been more popular than cookbooks in recent years.

Why, you ask? As many people can attest, coloring is therapeutic—it’s a way for adults to unwind and feel creative at the same time. In addition to its emotional benefits, coloring is also good exercise for your brain, providing stimulating eye/hand coordination. Anyone can get in on the action. Read rest of article here.

Botanicals artwork by Lisa Congdon; Mid-Century Modern Animals by Jenn Ski; Carnival by Sarah Walsh.
Botanicals artwork by Lisa Congdon; Mid-Century Modern Animals by Jenn Ski; Carnival by Sarah Walsh.

Design Links: A Chain of Creative Inspiration

This is part six in a series I’ve been doing for HOW Design. Every other week, I feature three artists whose work offers fresh, fun and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the fifth part in the series, featuring Elena Kalorkoti, Wai Wai Pang, and Amanda Baeza here.

Amanda Baeza is inspired by…

Chris Harnan

His choices of colors, shapes, textures and plasticity is a living reminder that we can and should embrace the unexpected in our work. His work is undoubtedly mesmerizing. Read the rest of the entry, here.

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Meet Me In The Woods

The work of Chicago-based illustrator Julia Kuo has graced everything from concert posters and books, to illustrations depicting national parks across the country. “I am on a quest to visit as many national parks as possible, and actually at this moment I’m writing this from the back of a van driving to Yosemite,” she notes. “It’s just so amazing when I think about what these parks preserve.”

In addition to painting and drawing, Kuo loves to make 3D art with paper. Working with Neenah ENVIRONMENT®, she constructed an elaborate bison. She was inspired after visiting Yellowstone National Park a month ago, where she witnessed many of them roaming in their natural environment. “The bison is the biggest land mammal any of us will ever see freely wandering around on this continent! I always feel so much awe and wonder at seeing their massive, hulking frame up close.” Below, she walks us through the steps of building this bison that stands at just over a foot tall, and 1½ feet long. The see how she built her bison, read here.

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Artist Julia Kuo assembling her 3D bison paper sculpture.

Design Links: A Chain of Creative Inspiration, Part 2

This is part two in my new series, Design Links, on the HOW Design blog. Every other week, three artists will be featured whose work offers fresh, fun and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the first part in the series, featuring John Foster, David Plunkert and Seymour Chwast, here

The links in this chain feature Jenn David Connolly, RaShelle Roberts, and Laura Zollar. Read the full story here.

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Artwork by Laura Zollar.

5 Exercises to Help You Learn Perspective Drawing

Jorge Paricio is an adjunct professor of Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and author of Perspective Sketching, Freehand and Digital Drawing Techniques for Artists & Designers by Rockport Publishers. “Industrial design sketching is a crucial part of developing a concept and it usually starts with the creation of lots of thumbnail sketches that are later refined in successive stages into full renderings,” he says. “Our concepts have to tell a complex story, from how the product will be made to how it will operate.”

Paricio walks us through five drawing exercises demonstrating the importance of perspective sketching. Whether you’re an industrial, interior, or graphic designer, getting a handle on drawing will help you grow as a communicator. Read rest of article here.

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In this example we see a coffee maker concept in a complex composition that involves a full concept, a partially rendered part, text blocks (called callouts), arrows to indicate movement, body parts, and a background shape that unifies everything. In a concept page, such as this, it’s important to have a cohesive composition, so the page isn’t disorganized. Call outs explain the purpose of each compartment, while rendered hands demonstrate how to use the coffee maker.

 

Controlled Chaos: Parallèle Graphique Keeps Order in Their Wild Design House

The work of Parallèle Graphique might be described as controlled chaos. While some projects by the French studio are sparse and contained, others almost seem to go off the rails with beautiful, illustrative elements juxtaposed with custom typography, often confined in tight compositions.

Before joining forces, partners Marceau Truffaut, Chloé Plassart, and Thomas D’Addario collaborated on BimBaam!, a showcase of their personal work with comments from like-minded creatives. In 2014 this partnership blossomed into a business because, as Trauffaut points out, “It can be very painful to make money and find clients on your own, so by collaborating we share a network of contacts and we’re able to do bigger, more interesting projects.” Read the rest of the article here.

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Why Client-Killed Design Projects Are A Blessing in Disguise

Designer/illustrator Felix Sockwell is known for his illustrative, fluid line work. When looking at his pieces it appears that his pen never left the page, as each idea and object is interconnected into a larger narrative. This quick wit and ability to translate seemingly complex ideas into simple, iconographic solutions have gained Sockwell many fans and clients. But it’s not all fun and games. Occasionally, even he hits a wall with a client.

Below, Sockwell walks us through three design projects that were killed, and explains why he believes in reincarnation.

Weedhire

My soccer pal Vlad called and asked me for a “favor,” one in which I did not take to mean as “free” (which would come back to haunt me). He is one of my best friends and most of us on the soccer team consider him wealthy (he wouldn’t). Regardless, he’s a great guy—smart in business and a family man.

He tells me he has a new business called Weedhire, an employment agency for the cannabis industry. He said, “You’re the expert. You tell me what works. Just do something fast.”

What Vlad probably didn’t realize is that designing an identity is kind of intimate, like sex. It takes time. You have to talk. And talk some more. And be honest with one another.

I showed Vlad a few things and his response was to take all the creativity out of it. He said, “Make it look like a bank.” So as I began researching bank logos, I started feeling like a conversation was needed. I picked up the phone and asked if this was intended to be more than a conservative place to find a job in the cannabis industry. I never got a clear response on what the strategy is or was, but by the third day (when I realized I had just wasted a lot of energy doing logos for free), he said he would just have his web designer pop a pot leaf in a box in five minutes. Which is exactly what he did.

I hold no grudge (OK maybe a little, I’m showing the work here), but what struck me about the experience was that some people—good, smart people—care absolutely nothing about how a logo looks or speaks. Design is a HUGE part of your business plan if you’re in the “people” industry. The “lady leaferty” in the center, which I believe to be a smart, conservatively drawn, creative idea, is an idea that I hope someone sees and actually wants to pay for. See the other two projects here.

Five Exercises That Will Turn Anyone Into an Artist

Whitney Sherman is an award-winning illustrator and director of the MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art. She is also author of Playing with Sketches, 50 creative exercises for designers and artists (Rockport Publishers).

We asked Sherman for advice on how to get over the drawing hurdle many of us are afraid to jump. She also offers up five drawing exercises from her book to help anyone get started.

Why do you think it’s so hard for people to get started drawing?

For non-artists, I think that the culture of drawing is not extended or continued with or for them beyond early childhood. Grade schools and high schools, for the most part, value math and science over the arts, which gets cut out when budgetary pressures arise. What is then neglected is the haptic qualities of “making,” which can contribute to retention of learning as well as foster communication. If a non-artist is only shown an example of classical or academic drawing, they will be thwarted by not having those skills. If encouraged to make native marks [draw in their own way] and be respected for that, most people would grow up with less doubt on their ability to draw and would enjoy the process, which is a very important part of drawing!

For creative people who are working in artforms that do not regularly encourage drawing, some of the reasons are the same – recognizing and celebrating native marks, but I think it goes a bit farther to include practice. Creatively leaning people continue drawing beyond childhood for longer than most, yet their particular area of creative focus as an adult may have not required the use of drawing, and so it is left behind, unpracticed. In both cases, having permission [from a teacher, from ones self] to draw as one does, to appreciate that and practice it will foster comfort and confidence with drawing. Read the rest of the interview here.

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