Tag Archives: sketching

on re-focusing “fun in the kitchen”

Unfortunately, I got really discouraged and overwhelmed this weekend trying to learn too much about children, etc., and trying to come up with brilliant concepts at the same time. I think I got so concerned about everything, that I shot myself in the foot before I even started sketching concepts. I feel more invigorated now, though, because I realized that all the research I’ve done is useful and that I do not have to stick with the three appliances I originally chose. After class today I’m going to go wander around Wal-mart and/or a toy store to look at toy mechanics and see what’s currently offered in the way of basic interactive toys [levers, cranks, cogs]. I want my appliances to be toy-like, but still get the job done. I think I lost focus on one of the important parts of my original brand concept – healthy food and nutrition.
So what other appliances or “tools” can relate to fresh produce, whole grains, and calcium? Apple and carrot peelers, pasta press, pudding molds, etc. I think I’ll stick with the ice cream maker, because who doesn’t like ice cream? Besides that, there are a lot more foods within the broad, important categories that I can focus on than the simple “fruit for smoothies” and “whole grains from fresh bread.”

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two weeks down, one week (or so) to go!

I feel much better today after talking to David about my current (and final since it’s due SO soon) direction. I think I just needed some time to re-fresh and remember how to actually design things with more informed decisions, instead of just throwing things together without thinking. But honestly, I think I’ve always had a slight problem with keeping myself in a ‘designer’ mindset when I start projects. I’m not usually good at coming up with a set plan at the beginning of a project. I remember last year when we were given the ‘seating device’ assignment, Jes started almost the first day with concepts ONLY related to being cut out of one circle, focusing on multi-person seating. I started out drawing 50 different random things I saw around me like the bathroom lock, origami, trash – mostly in profile or top view because I just don’t seem able to think in 3D very quickly…

For the remainder of projects I work on in school, I want to try and focus down on one good ‘theme’ or ‘rule’ – like “what can i make out of a perfect circle?” – at the beginning of a project. In the end, I want my projects to come across stronger and more fully developed when I present them. Less “I couldn’t really find a direction until five days before the first pin-up, but I did really good work in those five days!”, and more “I started with this [insert cool idea of a start off point, like only using nouns instead of adjectives for your target words!] and went from a to b to c to d and ended with e with ease,” would be nice in my design life.
Another thing I’m going to try doing more often is giving myself more strict time limits on the things that I’m doing. An hour is quite a decently long amount of time, and if I don’t accomplish one important thing every hour – it seems like a waste. Whenever David gives us ‘real-life’ challenges in class, i.e. GO MAKE A POSTER IN 30 MINUTES OR YOU’RE FIRED, we seem to get a lot accomplished but whenever I’m on my own ‘just trying to sketch some concepts’ the blank paper and the seemingly endless amount of time messes with me.

The sketch models I lathed this week are serving as a really good starting point for the concept I’ve got now, drawing inspiration from a lotus (water lily) and a lily pad. Pink foam modeling isn’t really accurate enough for me (or just not very helpful with this particular project); maybe part of it is that I’m too impatient and need more practice using the wire cutter slowly. I think the proportions of my current models are dead on in size, but David mentioned somehow shelling the inside so that the overall weight and bulk would be less overwhelming and more ‘fresh’. I’m going to be doing a lot of 3D computer modeling and sketching this weekend to work out the super important details. We’re doing a silent pin-up on Wednesday to show all the process we’ve done, and then we’re doing “graphic treatments” for Friday I think? Soon, anyway.
Anyway, I’m relieved and excited to keep working on this now!

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full steam ahead!

This semester seems a lot more intensive in a much shorter amount of time than last semester. I am both excited and thoroughly nauseous about how busy I know I will be for the next for months. I hope that I get more accustomed to this switch in sleeping schedules so that I can manage my time more efficiently when I am done with classes, because as of right now I’m running out of steam too soon after I’m done with “school” and need to start in on my ‘school work’.

I’m really glad with the three words I picked for this project – fresh, quirky, and honest. I want to create a set that is modern, a little bit unique/cutesy/”different” from normal sets that are just aligned along a straight vertical axis, and honest both in form that is pure, simple, and bold with clean lines and in materiality that is natural and simple and true to itself (i.e. not trying to make something forced out of metal when wood would do). I made a mood board last night out of magazine cut-outs (it has a lovely arts&crafts feel). I like how David summarized my board by calling it “nature pop” – which was in line with my intentions of making something fresh, new, layered and natural.

We have to draw FIVE WHOLE, COMPLETE, DETAILED concepts with material call-outs and perspective and sections and etc. for Friday which is a difficult challenge, however I’m really glad that we seem to be stressing the importance of doing the same, if not more, work at the beginning of a project than at the end when it gets stressful and impossible-seeming.
I did a lot of brainstorming and word associations today to figure out what I really want to “say” with each separate concept; I tried to lay down rules for geometry and materiality for each “set” so that they would be distinctly different.
I’m also pretty inspired after a trip to Ikea to look at material choices and shapes for their mass reproduced dinnerware; some of their plates are SO flat!

I really enjoyed the exercise we did at the beginning of class today – David told us all to sketch a dinnerware trio in 15 minutes, then he mixed them up and passed them back out to students that hadn’t done the original drawings and asked them to present the drawing as if it was their own concept. Doing the exercise taught me some important things
1. I am good at BS-ing [which I like to think is due to the poetic “writer” in me that knows her way around metaphors and symbolism]
2. Details really ARE important in product sketching! Who knew!
3. How to draw those curvy lines that show form without making them look silly (the name of which I cannot currently remember, which, in turn, makes me feel silly)
We also did another interesting “real life” exercise during which the person sitting in front of us named a designed object (guitar, chair, toaster, laptop, etc.) and we had to sketch it in 30 seconds on a white board in front of the rest of our classmates. In regards to that exercise, I need to stop panicking around people when I draw because it just makes my sketches wayyyy worse and stop drawing spatula stools because NO one would buy them.

And as a last note before I go to bed, I am really glad to be back in studio and surrounded by classmates and a teacher that all seem genuinely interested and enthusiastic in what we’re doing. It’s comforting to know that we all have the same general goal of becoming better – in whatever capacity that applies to each individual. [Awww! Just a little cheesy!] [But seriously.]

(ps. get the title joke? because we’re doing cups, and cups can hold hot drinks like tea which have steam. Ha-Ha!)

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Give Me 3′ is a WRAP!

No, really, the Give Me 3′ is a bag. But it’s been reviewed! And the review went well, in my opinion. I’m pretty proud of what Allison and I accomplished with our not-exactly-professional sewing skills. And I’m incredibly happy that Chris is so good at sketching and rendering (see his fantastic work on his design blog).The reviewers had a lot of helpful and constructive criticism; their positive comments made me happy, and they also asked a lot of good questions and brought up some good things to think about for future design changes. I think that this project’s review is one of my more favorite ones from this semester – the first project was good, the second project I didn’t really think about a lot of important things that I should’ve thought more about, the third project did not turn out the way I wanted it to – but I went into this project confident with our design choices, and open to suggestions because it was ‘just a prototype’ and we did what we could with materials and assembly. Sure, we made mistakes (like leaving way too much extra on the straps so that they didn’t fit the way we had envisioned in, and then NOT pining it for the review), but we already had ideas for what we would do if we did further designs on the project – making it available in different sizes, customizable colors, the ability to change what shoulder it would be on, and the map area that is most applicable to the customer’s location [this could apply to other cities around the country and the world]. I was sort of surprised to hear that people thought it would be good for actual commuters to their offices, when we were trying to target teenager and college student commuters.

Jackson, Cristina, and Ben’s MARTA project was probably the most amazing one from this overall project brief, and they did a really good job of assigning each person something to do. That project will be an amazing addition to their portfolio because of the amount of detail they put into each aspect (I’m a smidgen jealous).

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simplicity is not simple

lI’m really into the idea of advertising and/or simplicity. Anyone that’s seen my [RECENTLY, FRESHLY] clean apartment comprehends my love of simplicity, and the difficulty I sometimes encounter while trying to maintain it. I’ve been enjoying this branding project for studio – the research, the idea of trying to boil down products into simple key points, and the opportunity to be almost metaphorical in trying to explain the ‘big picture’ a brand is portraying. As much as I’m into this project, I feel like I’m somehow being a disappointment. My sketching is bad. My concepts don’t read on paper. And my brain feels somehow shallow today – like I already knew some of the ideas I was given by classmates, but couldn’t actually decipher them from the buzz in my head on my own.
Promotional products are difficult. They can’t quite be a product that would be sold in stores, but they still have to be wanted, to be somehow ‘needed’ in a way – something to excite the consumer, but is also sustainable because its supported by the original product or vice versa.
I know my head is at least in the right place; I understand the assignment and what makes it work – I just have to put it all together.

On another note, I feel thoroughly ‘without’ or lacking since my laptop has been MIA for much too long. Even more annoying is my inability to get it fixed when the solution is simple. And the fact that I missed a flashmob pillow fight. DANG – I wish I had been there!

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blame it on the weather man.

This week has been slow and awful. I feel sort of discouraged about design this week because my lack of sketching skills frustrates me instead of inspires me to sketch more. I don’t know what I want to design, and I don’t know how or when I’m really going to get the opportunity to explore all the areas that I think I’m interested in. For instance, I love shoes and I would love to get into shoe design because I think there are a lot of form details about heels and color and texture transitions that haven’t been explored yet, but I know I currently can’t sketch at that level and I also feel like my personal style doesn’t translate or show “Hey, I really dig interesting shoes.” I guess I just don’t feel like my personal design aesthetics are matching up with my projects or my personal style, and it’s causing me a little bit of cognitive dissonance.
Bleggggh. I’m just happy the rain saved me money on getting my car washed.

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no wind in my [sketching] sail

I need to practice sketching.
If I practiced, I would be more confident.
But I still find it a little difficult to sketch ‘soft’ products. How do you sketch something like stiching in actual perspective? Or am I allowed to just “sketch what I see”, since its a shoe?
I am looking forward to next Monday [fall break] so that I can have my first “Me” day in a long, long time.
I don’t really remember the last time I had a day without any prior commitment of any kind.

Geeze. I’m feeling pretty burnt out today.

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