Inspiration Wednesday: Born on Paper
I went to a graphic design meeting last week where we talked about logo design. This week, I went to another graphic design meeting where we talked about hand-lettering and type design. We watched a series of videos in both meetings by professionals in the design industry. They all talked about how much work they do by hand and in their sketchbooks before starting to work on a design at the computer.
Often times, when seeking inspiration, we sit down at our computer, maybe look through a few of our favorite sites, do an image search, see what others are pinning on a similar topic. What we should do is sit down at our desk with a sketchbook, a pencil and a fine point marker, and start making a word list of things that come to mind when contemplating the problem we have been asked to solve. An idea or concept will surface, when we transition to doodling and sketching. All this prep work before going to the computer to start designing. If we’re lucky (and old school), we might have access to a stack of design books to browse through.
Great ideas are Born on Paper, meaning worked out through writing and sketching. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard that saying, but it really stuck with me when my teacher said it at this week’s design meeting, emphasizing how important it is to sketch and draw. Many of my design teachers struggle with getting students to sketch as much as possible before going to the computer. Some teachers even require a set number of thumbnails, usually a minimum of 50, to explore a creative problem or idea.
I haven’t been doodling, sketching and drawing as much lately as I used to, or as much as I want to. I don’t know why. Maybe just lazy, or a lack of confidence in my drawing, or stubbornness. (hint: one way to get over a lack of confidence in drawing is to draw with a ballpoint pen or fine tip marker. No erasing.) I vowed to myself recently to start doing more sketching at the beginning of each project. For one thing, we get points for our concepting and sketching process. As a student, points are like money. I want an A so I need to do the work, all the work. For another thing, the more sketching I do, the more ideas show up on the paper. I allow myself to do some bad sketches to get them out of the way because I know they are present in my head. Sometimes I just draw shapes and see how I can fill them in. Sometimes I start with the type, and draw around it. For one of my current design projects, I have about five pages of sketches, with different shapes, different type, different arrangements.
Sometimes, when I’m staring at a blank page and I just want to do some free drawing or doodling, I come up with a theme. My latest theme is Africa, so I am using that to keep drawing regularly these days. (I did these pages during a meeting where an attorney was talking about the legal side of freelancing. It was good information, but a little dry.)
I even pimped-out my Moleskin sketchbook cover with animal print patterns.
I’m excited to see where this new theme takes me. And I’m more motivated to see what becomes of my increased sketching. I have a lot of sketchbooks going, so a full sketchbook will feel like a great accomplishment.
Thanks for stopping by!