Art Group. January 2016

Above are the drawings I did in Art Group this month. As I explained in my post last month, I am practising my drawing skills. All five of these drawings I copied from artworks I found on Pinterest. Naturally they are not exactly the same as the originals, but I cannot claim that they are 100% my ideas.

Only once did I use colour, as I prefer black and white sketches. There is something softer about the pencil drawings that I like, which gets lost when drawn in pen. When studying for my degree the tutors encouraged us to move away from pencils and to experiment with other media. As a result of this I developed a style using fine liner pens, and never really got to grips with drawing with pencils.

I am pleased with the progress I am making. Whenever I start a drawing I doubt myself. “I can’t do this.” “I’m rubbish.” I am always surprised with the final outcome – proof that I CAN do this, and I am NOT rubbish. Although I am only copying from other images, I want to keep practising so that one day I can draw straight from my imagination.

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Inspiration

Whenever faced with a new design brief, it is always useful to research what has been done before. This helps you to discover what works and what does not work. When stuck for ideas, looking at existing artwork can help to boost your imagination.

Here are some of the books I own that I recommend looking through for design inspiration:

13325960Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

This book contains examples of sketchbooks kept by over 100 typographers. Although there are not many final outcomes featured, the selection shows the thought processes behind each typographical composition. Sketchbooks need not be neat and tidy, and there is no right or wrong way to display your thoughts. Typography Sketchbooks reveals what works best for each individual and may inspire you to try and document your work in an alternative way.

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Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

Similarly to Heller’s Typographic Sketchbooks, this book also shows the sketchbooks of 100 of the worlds most influential designers, including Art Spiegelman, Milton Glaser and Sara Fanelli. Hence the title, Graphic, the subject matter of these sketchbooks cover a broader insight to the mind of a designer, introducing illustration and layout as well as typography.

 

 

9837813Drawn In: A Peek into the Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, and Cartoonists by Julia Rothman

Drawn In is a similar book to the two above except it includes a wider variety of disciplines. A landscape painter’s sketchbook is going to be very different from a cartoonist or graphic designer’s sketchbook. It also includes interviews with each artist and their opinions on keeping sketchbooks.

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The Picture Book: Contemporary Illustration by Angus Hyland

I highly recommend this book to illustrators looking for inspiration; especially those who are still developing their own style. The Picture Book contains some well known artists as well as promising newbies. Some of the work is very beautiful and uses a range of mediums you may have not even thought of using.

 

 

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Illustration Now! Vol.4 by Julius Wiedermann

150 illustrators working in 2011 are shown in this book. There are other volumes available from different years, but this is the volume I personally own. Some of the work in here inspired me whilst I was working toward my graphic design degree, especially as I was leaning more towards illustration than any other style. Illustration Now! also contains information about each individual’s career path, exhibitions and clients they have worked for.

 

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@Supermarkets: Package Designs by Kaoru Takahashi

I came across this book at a Christmas bazaar back in 2010. It is really interesting to look at the packaging styles and methods that some of the most well known companies use. It is also fascinating to see how competing  brands package their goods to try and sell their products.

 

 

 

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Handmade Graphics: Tools and Techniques Beyond the Mouse by Anna Wray

While studying graphic design, I became more interested in designing by hand rather than on a computer. Handmade Graphics is a very useful book that shows you how you can produce designs without digital input. There are also a few tutorials you can follow for each set of examples showcased.

 

 

 

 

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Fingerprint: The Art of Using Handmade Elements in Graphic Design and Fingerprint No.2: The Evolution of Handmade Elements in Graphic Design by Chen Design Associates

These two volumes feature hundreds of examples of design outcomes produced by hand. All of these have been used successfully in the real world. It is amazing the lengths that some designers go to achieve by hand what a computer could achieve (although less authentically) in a few minutes. There are also a handful of essays written by leading designers about the benefits and their experience of producing handmade designs.

88466511039320210247456 Graphis Annuals 

Every year Graphis publishes annuals for a variety of disciplines . Artists and designers submit their work and the winners get featured in the relevant annual. I own three annuals: Design 2010, Posters 2010 and Posters 2011. I have turned to these books quite often when lacking inspiration as they contain so many original ideas.

I hope you will find these books as useful as I have found them. Do you have any recommendations of books to turn to when in need of inspiration?

 

 

Essay Resources

As part of my Graphic Design degree I had to write four essays (not including dissertation and proposals). In some ways I enjoyed writing these as it gave me the opportunity to learn new things. My essays varied on subjects from Bauhaus and illustration to sustainable design.

For those studying the same subject, or thinking of taking it up, I thought I would share with you a few of the books I bought to help me with my writing.

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Clean New World: Culture, Politics and Graphic Design

By Maud Lavin

This book is great for research into political aspects of graphic design. Lavin reveals the political influence on design from democracy to anti-Nazi propaganda. There are also chapters that focus on women designers and their contemporary activist work.

 

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Digital and Video Art
by Florence de Mèredieu

I purchased this book with the hope that it would help me to argue whether graphic design counts as an art form. It had a few helpful quotes and prompted me to research further in to particular designers and theorists. However it mostly focuses on computer graphics rather than graphic design or digital illustration.

 

 

 

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A Designer’s Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need
by Jennifer Visocky O’Grady and Ken O’Grady

It was recommended by my tutor that I buy this book, not for essay writing, but for help with research. It provides a step -by-step guide about how to go about seeking the information you need. This is particularly helpful when you are tasked with writing your own brief for a project – something I had to do in my final year, and many designers have to do during their careers.

 

 

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British Posters: Advertising, Art & Activism
by Catherine Flood

I recommend this book for anyone interested in poster design regardless of whether or not you have an essay to write. It contains a vast selection of British posters from the V&A collection from 1945 through to the present day. It covers various advertising companies and countercultural groups, including the “Keep Britain Tidy” campaign, hand-printed punk posters, public art projects and the more recent political advertisements.

 

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Graphic Style: From Victorian to New Century
by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast

Finally, if you’re looking for information about different styles of graphic design then this is the book you need. Admittedly there is not a lot you can quote, however it gives enough information to help you further your research. Beginning with the typical styles of pre-war graphic design, Heller and Chwast talk you through every art movement and development until the digital design of the 2000s. Accompanied by plenty of relevant images, this book provides a great insight into the changes and directions that graphic design has taken.

Naturally, I used hundreds more books and websites in my bibliographies, but these were a few of my favourites. I hope you also find them interesting whether as essay resources or a source of personal enjoyment.

 

 

Think. Draw. Create.

28096614Think. Draw. Create.
Written by Frances Prior-Reeves
Illustrated by Eleanor Carter

 

 

In the spring of 2015, a very kind friend of mine presented me with this book as a present in order to keep me busy. Each page has an empty space for the artist to draw their own illustration based on a specific instruction. Below are a few of my outcomes. (Some are based on other drawings I have seen, others are from my own imagination or photographs.) I have many more pages still to complete!

Published in 2014 Think. Draw. Create. provides artists, amateurs, adults and children with a space to nurture their creative thinking. Beautifully set out, each page has a different instruction that requires thought before putting pen to paper.

These instructions are not the typical commands you may expect; instead they are often open and result in a variety of interpretations: for example “Draw orange ignoring red” and “Draw the future in this crystal ball.”

I highly recommend this book to other artists who want to develop their own illustration style or to practice their drawings. It helps to keep the mind active and will benefit those who want to get a job in the art field where they may need to be able to think of original ideas on the spot.