Thursday, 8 November 2012

Project 4 Review - Developing design ideas

Did you manage to make space 'move'?
Looking back at the work I have done since this project 4 started, I am struck by how much the focus on how shapes are organised in space has improved the way I see things. At the time, the stage 1 exercises seemed a bit kindergarten, sticking black squares into white squares. I wasn't sure what it was doing, if anything, but straight away I had opened a window in my head that let me see everything in a new way. Apart from the enormous improvement in the appearance of my sketchbook, and the introduction of 'designed' visuals into its pages, I found it easy to pick sections of drawings in Stage 2. As I moved through this project I found more and more ideas coming into my mind of how space is distorted by different aspects eg by density of texture, colour intensity, repetition, scale. The change in my 'eye' shows in the kind of photos I take now that I have worked through this project:

Before - these are some of the photos I took to build up
an image resource file during the first project of this course. 
After working through Project 4
These are photos I took recently
just because the images appealed to me.

I certainly found this new way of seeing made it easy to choose sections of drawings to use for design development (see blog 26/10/12 for photo of these).

Have I managed to translate that new way of seeing into a new way of drawing? Well, I'm working on it. I have found it easier to do it with images that are not of anything in particular. Obviously it's a lifetime's work, so it's a question of bearing in mind this way of seeing things while I'm making images. Along with all the other things to bear in mind. Which brings me to the next question.

What are your thoughts about the drawings you did in stage 3?
I had found it very interesting and helpful to make the three small drawings focussing on different aspects of the object ie texture, colour and arrangement in space, in stage 2. This technique has made it much clearer to me how to approach drawing, and I have used it in my sketchbook since. Even when I have not done these sketches first, my drawings have much more interest to them than they did before. I believe that this is due to the combination of lots of practice and the way this exercise has taught me how to do it.

Before - a sketchbook drawing I was proud of
when I started this course

After - my sketchbook drawing from yesterday, showing how much these exercises have
deepened the way I see and draw objects.
I was particularly struck by how much of this work depends on what I like personally - which drawings I 'most enjoyed making', and which qualities of the image I wanted to emphasis or leave out. I generally seem to be more interested in shape and texture than colour. In fact the colour largely comes in as a way to reveal the other two.

Having done this stage made it intriguing to look through my drawings for Stage 3, finding parts of them which revealed the qualities that would result in design inspiration. Of course the three aspects of them was on top of my mind, and this certainly helped to pick interesting sections.

While I was doing it, I initially looked for sections that were intrinsically appealing to me, without thinking too hard about why that was. I found parts of almost every drawing I had made which was appealing in this way. When I started thinking about whether they had 'potential for further development' it was difficult to know as I hadn't done this before in a conscious way. So I focussed on the contrasting spacial/ texture/ colour aspects of each section I chose, and picked out the images that had that (and the personal appeal) in one way or another.

Were you able to use your drawings successfully as a basis for further work? Are there any other things you would like to try?
When I started stage 4 I found myself redrawing the first one using different media, holding in mind the idea of 'big wave' all the time. This resulted in some new ideas, but in a rather limited range.

Scanning it onto the computer and playing with editing software helped to limit the image down to 'shapes and colours on a two dimensional square', and leaving behind the idea of a big wave, which liberated my imagination a bit more. This led to a series of different design ideas coming out of the same image, and I started to get carried away by ideas derived from those, and more derived from those. (see yesterday's blog)

When I moved onto the next one, again I started slowly, redrawing the image in different ways, and then accelerated into a mind-space where ideas came easily and led me into trying out new things eg potato printing, working with dots of inks, clingfilm on watercolour, and aluminium collage. And using yarn as one of the 'drawing' materials.

I can see that working in this way is rewarding in itself and can easily produce lots of new ideas to work on. And new techniques. That the initial task is really to get into the right state of mind, and once I'm there the ideas and experimentation come.

Are there any other things I'd like to try? Other than to get into this rewarding state of mind again and see what comes out?!

I didn't try putting bits of different drawings together as suggested, so I'd like to do that. And I would like to do a mosaic of a more subtle drawing. I was surprised how different a drawing could be by redrawing it in tones of one colour, and I have also liked the effect of restricting the range of tone, so I'd like to explore these more.

Now I have completed this stage, I suppose that next time I am picking parts of drawings to develop, I will be looking for images that trigger ideas for me straight away. Or ones with a lot of different potential shapes and contrasts to choose from.

I am aware of the difficulty I had separating what I saw from the object it was representing, so for the time being I think I need to stick to sections without identifiable objects. And to avoid giving them names!

Now that you have a good working method, do you feel confident that you can carry on working in this way independently?
I certainly do feel that working this way will quickly become part of what I do. I have already started to do it in my sketchbook, and it seems to come quite naturally to play around in this way.

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