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?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Design and Painting

Since most of my artwork these days is stuff I can't post, I'm thinking of doing a series of posts instead where I condense down the workshop I did at LAAFA on Painting and Design.  Will any of you out there read it if I do?