DESIGN JOURNEY #2
2D drawing skills, Copycat Sketches, Preportions,
The past two weeks have been very busy for myself, which is why I couldn't get this issue out last week like I originally intended. This course has turned out to be fast paced, with a large quantity of work to go through each week. Made up of a series of exercises and design briefs. The fast pace nature of the course, is meant to reflect the fast moving nature of the industry itself, For example, you cannot spend hours on one sketch a day. Since as a designer, you will be given multiple sketches and designs to do. In our first module for this course, we will be focusing 2D and 3D drawing skills. We than progress into 3D clay model making, were our designs will come to life. And vehicle architecture, materials and manufacturing, will combine with design and engineering. Overall, this first year of the course, is designed to provide you with right skill sets and foundations to develop on. And I couldn't wait to get started.
The first thing I had learn on my course was speed sketching. Designers in the industry are expected to sketch quickly, and create multiple sketches and drawings. Instead of focusing on the one sketch or drawing for hours a day. We were tasked to do a series of sketches for certain periods of time, sketching what was described by our lecturer as "self propelled personal, mass transport." Which turned out to be our own shoe. A timer was set up, and our first task was given to us. Sketch our shoe in 20 minutes. I was able to get the basic silhouette of shoe laid down fairly quickly, so it was case of making sure the details of the shoe were correct. But since I was against the clock, I couldn't spend minutes focused on the one area. This caused me to make some mistakes with the proportions, and since I was drawing with a biro pen instead of a pencil and eraser, I couldn't correct myself and change the proportions.
Next we were given 10 minutes to draw the shoe. With half the time available to us, I had to speed up, whilst making sure I could keep the same details as the shoe, and improving on the proportions. I was more careful when doing the proportions, and in the end the silhouette came out looking much more accurate. I had less time to focus on the details of the shoe, but was able to get the most important features laid down without a problem. The final sketch turned out to better than the previous one, despite having less time available. It was a case of focusing on the appropriate areas. Specifically the silhouette and then the additional details.
The next set of sketching tasks, took things to whole new level. We had sketch our shoe in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The idea is that we had to use the sketches that we already produced as reference. Focusing more on the silhouette of the shoe, rather than the details. Despite the limited time, the sketch had still came very well. We then started progressing towards 2 minutes, were the final sketch remained similar to the last sketch. I followed the same principle of focusing on the silhouette rather than the details. Next we were tasked to sketch the shoe, in under 1 minute and 30 seconds, than 1 minute and then a near impossible 30 seconds. For these sketches, I only focused on the silhouette of the shoe. These particul sketches were certainly challenging, but ability to sketch in such a short amount of time could prove yourself. When showing other people your ideas in a quick, easy to understand way. I feel more confident in my ability to sketch quickly now, and feel that I have the right understanding of how too, and what to focus on. I believe that I can improve my speed sketching with more consistent and accurate proportions in the silhouette.
One exercise we have to do weekly, is a series of sketches referred to as "copycat sketches." Which involves copying a professional's design work, to experiment with drawing styles to help later adapt to your own drawing style. The sketches have to look as if it's your own work, like the lecturer wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the original and the copy. We have to do at least one copycat sketch every week, and we were allowed to use underlay to help improve of sketches. Choosing from a wide range of drawings done by professional designers, that were approved by the university's lecturers. I felt that rather doing just the one, I would do multiple. Because it gave more of an opportunity, to experiment with the different drawing styles. And to possibly help boost my body of work for the module. I decided earlier on that I didn't want to use underlay for my copycat sketches, because I felt that I wouldn't learn and experiment much in terms of drawing style, and gain much confidence to sketch and draw with a similar style. For the first series of copycat sketches, I decided to focus on the Jaguar F-Type sketches. Because I liked the unique drawing style used in sketches, with the way lines are deliberately contrasted so heavily. To draw the eye to the main focal area in the design. The F-Type is a car that I really like as well, with its beautiful style, performance, and sound (especially the SVR). I also feel that my design work and drawing style will be better influenced by something I like and admire, rather than something I'm personally not a fan of. The first sketch focuses on the left front 3/4 view, with heavy focus on the left front wheel, left front headlight and grille and vents. I managed to replicate the desired effect involving the heavy, contrasting lines, and produced a similar form of shadow.
The second copycat sketch focuses on rear 3/4 view. The contrasting line effect is more subtle than the left front 3/4 view, but shows a greater use of shadow, light and tone. Despite being happy with my previous copycat sketch, I felt I could've improved the use of light and tone. So I made sure use a greater amount of light and tone, to compliment the shadow and line contrasting in the next copycat sketch of the rear left 3/4 view. The resulting copycat sketch was a good step in the right direction. But I personally preferred the heavy contrasting lines of the first copycat sketch, because I found it to be more visually appealing.
The third copycat sketch focuses on the side profile view, and unlike the previous two. It has a subtle and relaxed use of contrasting lines and tone. For the third one, I wanted to combine what I learned from the previous two. With a mix of heavy, contrasting lines of the first sketch, and the use of light, tone and shadow. I believed that a combination of what I learned could create a more stylish and dramatic drawing style, that would help influence my design work. The end result proved very successful, and I believed the combined uses of the contrasting lines, tones, shadow and light had worked very well. I'm going to experiment with this adapted drawing more in my own design work, to see if it leaves the impact. I'll of course use the weekly copycat sketch task to try and experiment with other styles. But right now I'm happy with style I have discovered and adapted.
One excercise that we had to do, was based around line weighting. Lines in a drawing are very important. As they help define shape and can highlight certain features. And can be used in very stylistic, and unique ways. For this excercise, we had to use a line drawing of a Volkswagen Campervan T1 Splitscreen as underlay. And draw it, copying the lines with a biro pen. I was able to recreate the lines with good precision and accuracy, and was very happy with the end result. I understood the way the lines had worked. The lines would increase in weight, to draw focus to the main focul area of the drawing (the same way the copycat sketches worked), depending on the view and angle. I decided not rush this excercise, as it could limit my understanding of how the lines worked. In the end I was very happy with the result of this excercise, as it helped me to further my understanding of how line weighting works.
The final task for our first week, was to draw 20 proportioned sketches. In this type of design work, you'll be tasked to sketch or draw side profiles of cars. That have to be properly preportioned, with near perfect levels of accuracy and realism. This form of sketching or drawing involves a specific drawing formula, involving circles and lines to establish height, length, and certain distinctive features. The cars we were given along with the formula, are the Audi A8, Audi A3, Audi TT and the Smart ForTwo, doing five drawings for each of the four cars. For me personally not the nicest selection of cars, but at the end of the day I still to draw them if I want to pass the module. For the first 10 drawings, I focused on both the Audi A8 and the Audi A3. I decided to draw them small, because it was the first time I had used a formula to draw cars. As I prefer to draw with only observation. I also decided to draw small, because I didn't want to spend to long on the drawings. Reflecting on the lessons I learned from speed sketching. The drawings started out rather crude, but as I kept progressing and practicing the formula. The drawing got better, and I was able to start getting used to the formula.
The next series of proportion drawings, involved the Smart ForTwo. I continued drawing with same speed and small sizes. I noticed that whilst drawing with this combination, I wasn't as consistantly accurate as I would of hoped, so for the next drawing. I decided to draw larger sizes to help draw more accurately, with greater consistancy. The larger drawing proved to be more successful than the previous 14 drawings. Were shape and lines appeared more accurate and realistic.
I continued onwards with the final 5 proportion drawings, focusing on the Audi TT. Through continuously practasing the formula, the drawings started to become more consistantly accurate and realistic. For the final proportion drawing of the TT, I decided to draw it at a larger size. This is because I wanted to show I could use this formula on a larger scale. In the end, I felt that I had got used to the formula, and that I understood how to use it later on in my designs. Personally for though, I would prefer to continue drawing with my observation. But will be willing to learn to no ways to produce my sketches and drawings.
I apoligise for the delay of this article (this body of work is from the first week!). The course has proven to be intense and fast paced. And cannot guarentee exact time and dates for future article. I will try to publish as much as as I can. Thank you for your patiants and support, and for reading.