Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Design?

Design is, in a way, a derivative of something that makes humans unique---tools. Wheels, ovens, pens, iPhones; these are all things that allow us to shape the world around us and change the type of experience we have in it. Design is about making more effective tools---things that better serve the purpose for which they were made, and in a way that is most aesthetically pleasing to the user. I love design for this reason---it's purpose-driven and its results are measurable (satisfying my scientifically-oriented brain).

Because of this, instead of talking about the broader subject of what defines art, I'm going to assume that everyone buys into my philosophy that a piece of art is only "good" when it's successful in the goals it set out to accomplish. These goals could include expressing ideas, evoking emotion, and creating appeal or beauty. However, I'm also not going to talk about where good ideas come from, or about what qualifies as beautiful. Those might be interesting discussions for another time. What I want to talk about is the raw elements that effective art is constructed from.

Design is one of three major areas of study in art. These three areas are Structure, Technique, and Design. Very few artists have a mastery in all these areas, because there's a lifetime of learning in each one. Interestingly though, all three areas are closely related and rely on each other. Your character design of a horse won't be appealing if you don't base it on a real horse's structure. Design guides the use of brush techniques when painting. Some techniques for constructing the figure can speed up the process and produce more pleasing results. My Schoolism class is focused on structural learning (rendering surfaces accurately), but it ends up touching a little on design and technique because those things are inescapably tied to structure. Because of this, while I'm going to be talking a lot about design in the upcoming posts, keep structure and technique in mind because many of the principles will apply in both of those areas as well.

Next Post: What does Painting have to do with Design?

15 comments:

  1. Graet and intresting post sam. its intresting that u say this because its something i started thinking about then i started looking at the cartoons of people like stevin silver and the design elinents he talks about. after watching him i started to think how can i apply those same ideas into a painting with a 3d feal. ideas like simple vs complex and streat vs curved. also keeping the image balenced so that its just a bit more pleaseing to the eye.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great introduction! I can't wait for the next post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Thanks , I'm looking forward to the next post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is going to be great. I can tell.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, yes, yes - teach me how to think inside these concepts. Build me a structure I can walk around in. This is useful to my little brain.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have put in words something that has been lurking in my thoughts for a long time. Npw I know why I have been struggling with technique, and you have shown what my next steps should be. Thanks a lot!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Seems like most things in life, it is best to take the balanced approach.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really intertesting blog, great read:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for that, great read

    ReplyDelete
  10. Extremely eager for the next posts!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Killer! Can't wait for more!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous1:38 AM

    Very interesting introduction. I look forward to the next one...even though (don't take it wrong)it's a little painful to read in white on black background! XD

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is the kind of thing I always hope for in an art book, but never find.
    Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  14. exelentes trabalhos!!!paz

    ReplyDelete
  15. i think there is something about the word 'design' that relates to factories. Perhaps design is 'thought' stolen from the craftsman... medi-evil cathedrals weren't designed or drawn out... they were considered and agreed upon by a bunch of craftsman?biulders doing their thing (swoon)... but in french 'desinner' simply means to draw...,'design' must involve the industrial revolution,,, small children losing their fingers, their arms, their lives in looms for designer cloths,,and so it continues. Character Animation ... hmmm you make the pin ...and let someone else stick it in the doll (sweat shop made) . Guess it's all down to the 'Division of Labour'. nice drawing, great craft! i think art is the re-invention of gold... until it gets spent.

    ReplyDelete