We kicked of this class with evaluating the results from the last session and the sketches that you have used for your projects. You voiced varying experiences about the latter. Some found out sketches were very helpful in communicating with others and others discovered the value of sketching as a means to explore and develop your ideas. There were also some that experienced frustration when trying to apply the techniques (that worked so well in class) to their own projects. That’s great! You just found a big motivation to come to the last three sessions and practice even harder. 😉
In general all the results start to look quite professional. You seem to understand the basic principles of communication and are able to apply them well to your sketches. Looking at the results now I realize some of them are still missing text. You might think something is too obvious, but it really doesn’t hurt to add a description and especially a title to your pages. It not only helps you to remember what to talk about (no more blackouts during presentations) it also helps in archiving your ideas and… it also looks way better!
One big observation is that regardless the (expected) trouble with perspective drawing the product sketches still communicated your ideas pretty good. So, you are halfway there. You just need to learn and practice sketching in perspective and your sketches will start to look really professional!
See where these (and other) general comments apply to your own work and include it in your personal reflections.
We started this class with a little bit of history of linear perspective and how Filippo Brunelleschi re-discovered the rules by making a drawing of the Baptistery in Florence. Note that perspective effects are usually much more visible in big objects (like buildings) than in smaller products.
Together we investigated the basic principles of perspective by analyzing a 3D model of a cube. We discovered that in most cases you can’t actually use the geometric rules of construction directly since the three vanishing points are most likely not visible on your page. Therefor you have to take a guess at where they are and aim your lines in the appropriate direction. A good way to practice this is by sketching lots of cubes from multiple angles.
Armed with the basic principles of linear perspective we filled some pages with sketches of cubes in various perspectives. I demonstrated how to render and communicate the two best results per page.
We also looked at two pictures of a whiteboard wiper taken with a different focal length. In reality we see very little perspective in smaller products like this one, however when sketching products a slightly exaggerated use of perspective makes the product a little more dynamic and attractive because it literally draws the audience closer to the object (wide angle lens effect!). Be careful not to use too much perspective because it also makes the objects appear larger then they are.
Next we used images of simple square products (such as remotes and dvd players) to analyze the perspective and use their framework of angles and proportions to construct sketches of these products.
Observation is key in understanding perspective. The better you understand it, the easier it becomes to reproduce it in your sketches. A major part of learning to make good sketches is training yourself to see what is wrong in your sketch and than correct it. That is why we use the blue pencil and sketch as light as possible. Sketching is an exploratory process of working towards a result. By training your skills extensively you will gradually be able to put down your lines in the right place at the first attempt and speed up the process step by step.
In the last demo I showed you how to communicate a selection of your sketches by adding contrast and rendering from dark to light with a black marker and a soft white pencil. I also added some details like radii, parting lines, screens and buttons. We’ll talk more about material expression in the next classes, but keep in mind that it is all based on observation. Something you can do too. Observe how different materials reflect the light in different ways and try to copy those effects in your drawing.
To do for next class:
A lot of practice! Take a good 4 hours to focus on this exercise. Finish at least two pages with cubes in various perspectives and highlight the best one or two per page (don’t forget to add text!). Next, collect plenty of reference material or create your own and repeat the above exercise of sketching from a picture. First by using the same perspective as in the photograph and than by mentally rotating the objects and constructing your own perspectives. For example, try to sketch the same dvd player from the rear or the bottom. See how much you can explore and produce in this time frame (at least two pages), but save the last hour to switch to the communicative mindset and highlight a couple of sketches per page. Include a title and some descriptive text about the products.