Five Drawing Books For People Who Don’t (Necessarily) Draw

It’s that time of year when it starts to get dark at 4:00 p.m., and the thought of starting a new project is more likely to incite a yawn than enthusiasm. Sometimes we just need a kick in the pants—or in this case, a good book or two to get those creative juices flowing. Step away from your monitor, pick up a pencil or pen, and have some fun with these drawing books from Quarto Books. Read the story here.

warhol change
An exercise from Salli S. Swindell’s new book, Change Your Life One Doodle at a Time.

Danielle Evans Has a Serious Appetite for Lettering

Lettering designer Danielle Evans, aka Marmalade Bleue, turns edible objects into extraordinary 3D illustrious lettering designs. Ironically, the Columbus, Ohio native, almost pursued an education in culinary arts, but was drawn to illustration and design. Although, she admits, she had a rocky start.

“I knew good, dynamic work, but I was struggling to produce any and feared sharing my projects with others. The best designers were engaging their audiences across multisensory platforms and I wondered how to do this myself. I sat down at a coffee shop with a good educator friend and struggled for a jargon-less way to explain this inkling.

“I told her good design was like a cup of coffee, in that the consumer is having an experience, not just banally consuming a beverage; I wanted my work to do this as well. She, being very literal, asked if I’d considered making something out of coffee which was, in fact, a great idea.” Read the rest of the story here.

-1

Andrea D’Aquino on Illustrating Alice in Wonderland

Andrea D’Aquino’s illustrative ramblings run the gamut from watercolor to collage to everything in between, and it’s perhaps because of this cataclysmic range that she was chosen to illustrate this fantastic tale of two worlds for Rockport Publishers for its Classics Reimagined series. We go down the Rabbit Hole with D’Aquino, as she talks about the challenges of reinterpreting this classic through her eyes.

Is this a story you’ve always wanted to illustrate?

 It’s my favorite book, but by no means had I ever considered illustrating it, nor would it ever have entered my mind. The idea to tackle such a classic text, would’ve struck me as almost preposterous after artists from Dali’ to Disney, to Tim Burton—to the definitive Tenniel illustrations—have already been imprinted onto such a wide swath of our collective minds. How would I follow up on such a thing?

But, when I was asked to illustrate it, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I know a great opportunity when it hits me over the head! I did really worry for a week or two, wondering how I would ever approach it, and make it fresh. It’s full of classic scenes that so many of us have preconceived images. Read the rest of the interview here.

9781631590757

Eight and a Half Creates Memorable Movie Trailers

Design studio Eight and a Half, has been creating some of the most memorable television title graphics in the past five years including The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, followed by The Late Show with Seth Meyers, HBO’s Saving My Tomorrow, and many others. Founded by Bonnie Siegler (formerly the partner at Number 17), the firm, which does branding, logo design, editorial, websites and more, also boasts clients like Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Daily Beast, Participant Media, The Brooklyn Public Library, among many more.

The work the firm has been doing for Criterion Collection for the past four years, is some of their best. They create theatrical release trailers, as well as short promotional pieces that advocate Criterion’s DVDs. These 90 second trailers are called “Three Reasons.” Siegler explains, “Criterion has incredible DVDs with unbelievable extras. People collect them. So they asked us to come up with a way to promote them, without showing old trailers. I thought it would be cool to come up with three reasons why this movie is in the Criterion Collection.” Read the rest of the article here.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=V_gIfR5lFhM

Visual Note-Taking: An Exercise in Fluidity & Beauty

Artists and designers are typically great visual notetakers.

Some jot images, while others capture important talking points. Carolyn Sewell is one of those people who has elevated her visual notes into a form of art. Her quick-thinking, mark-making skills are not for the faint of heart—it takes skill and focus. Here, she talks about her note-taking process and the evolution of her craft.

Q. Have you always been a visual note-taker? i.e., even before you became an illustrator?

Carolyn: “I’ve always had a terrible memory, so at a young age I started sketching notes and doodles in my books to help me visualize the information.”

“I doubt I would’ve graduated high school or college, without this technique. And since my memory hasn’t improved, I continue to take visual notes at design lectures and conferences. There’s just something about hearing, processing, and drawing the content that cements it to my memory. The pen is my hearing aid. I can’t listen without it!” Read the rest here.

2014_UUDDConf_Sktch1

Expert Tips on How to Create a Killer Digital Portfolio

Online portfolios are of the utmost importance for creative professionals today. If you’re in the process of developing a digital portfolio, you can’t afford to view it as a mere collection of work samples; you need to think of it as your preeminent marketing piece. Following are expert tips on strategically developing a digital portfolio that pops.

Ram Castillo is an award-winning designer and art director, and author of How to Get a Job as a Designer, Guaranteed. He’s also the instructor of a CreativeLive course titled Create a Knockout Design Portfolio. Here, Castillo walks us through his top digital portfolio tips — what to include, what not to include, and how to put it all together to land that next creative job. Read the article, here.

Using Design Thinking to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

We’ve all heard the term “design thinking,” freely bandied about, but what does it really mean and can only creative people apply this in their work? “No,” says designer, educator, author Matthew Jervis, founder of Make It Creativity. He teaches design thinking to anyone who will have him—from teachers and students (sometimes as young as middle-schoolers) to bureaucratic administrators.

Every person has the capacity to be creative—not just designers and artists. Being creative is instinctual. It’s a set of basic survival skills that have evolved over time and continue to evolve…and not in a positive direction.

“The definition of creativity has veered off in present day to be more defined in emotional and expressive terms,” he says. “This modern definition is wrong and creates more problems, while marginalizing a vast swath of humankind. When we describe people who might like to draw, write, or who might think a little differently as ‘creative,’ we are missing what creativity really is and actually doing a huge disservice.”

Jervis points out that our ancestors needed to be creative to survive. “We ran buffalo off cliffs because we needed to eat and clothe ourselves, since we didn’t have horses yet. We needed to be creative. What’s the best way to run them off a cliff? Where is the nearest cliff? How do we keep from running ALL the buffalo off the cliff?”

dance_steps01

He approaches the creative process and design thinking with the idea that it’s a way of living and approaching everyday challenges… not just for designers working with clients. “The ability to see a challenge as an opportunity is key to thinking creatively,” he simply states.

“I feel that parenthood/childcare/teaching are some of THE best examples of design thinking as well as being some of the most creative endeavors out there.” he says. Here is a list of ten tactics devised by Jervis that parents—or anyone for that matter–can deploy in a challenging situation.

Whether it’s a kid having a temper tantrum, or running out of gas on your way to work. How we react to and deal with the circumstances is key to coming up with the best solution. Read rest here.

Branding Towne Bakery: A Logo Case Study

Entrepreneur and baker du jour Jason Sigala wanted to open his own bakery in Southern California, offering quality, old-fashioned American desserts made from scratch. He wanted his shop’s branding to have a decidedly mid-century East Coast look and feel. Tim Frame was commissioned to create the brand identity for this foodie start-up, that would be called Towne Bakery.

Sigala provided Frame with plenty of visual inspiration derived from traditional New York bakeries, as well as a visual audit of the competition.

Here, we ask Frame how he approached this project and how all the logo elements came together. Read the interview here.

TB sketches
Preliminary sketches by Tim Frame for Towne Bakery logo.

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.

Blog-coffee-maker-hands
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.

 

Web Design 101: What All New Designers Need to Know

Andy Pratt and Jesse Arnold are leaders in the new frontier of web design. Andy has worked with organizations including the Smithsonian Institution, Samsung, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Wenner Media, Lego and Turner Broadcasting, and Jesse’s resume lists names like New York University, Conde Nast, and the Jim Henson Company.

Below, Pratt helps sort out the misconceptions of what it means to be a web designer vs. developer, and the changing skill sets required to create beautiful, functional websites.

What exactly is web design today?

Web design is the process of creating a browser based product or experience that will be delivered to a variety of device types, sizes, and resolutions. Many websites or apps will provide a service, distribute content and/or connect people. The best ones will have a clear purpose and meet business goals and user needs. Read rest of article here.