Art School, Week 6: Design

Design class finally sees some actual grades. The first project consisted of several parts, done over several weeks. It was nice, because most of the work was done in or after class itself, so there wasn’t a lot of homework. Given the load from other courses, that’s been a good thing.

The first two bits of work were to create particular drawings of this object:

We ignored the base, but otherwise it was all to be drawn. First, as an orthographic:

And then again as a paraline:

I apologize for the lousy quality of those pictures. I did what I could to improve them.

Next we began some sketching to create a concept of an idea of our own, one that we built from cardboard and hot glue. The materials caused some limitations on what was possible, of course, but that’s part of the process. Once the sketching process was done and we’d figured out our object, we then created paraline drawings of it (front and back, if needed), and then went off to build it.

Sadly, I don’t yet have pictures of my sketches or paraline drawings of the object, but I have some of the object itself:

That thing is about 9" in all the large dimensions, and the assembly process drove me a bit mad, but not nearly as mad as it drove some of my classmates. You’d think that cardboard and hot glue would not pose that big a challenge to someone of my advancing years, but they did. The seams and corners could be a lot better.

Still, with the creation of that object, we finished the first assignment, and I have A’s on every portion of it. Apparently experience does matter, and I have plenty of that.

We’ve already completed the next assignment as well. It was more nebulous: we were to use wire, a small base of MDF, and perhaps some paper to show how an animal moves, without actually showing the animal itself. Also we were to include an 11" x 17" idea sheet, and do a short presentation about what we created to the class.

Honestly that assignment description was vague enough to cause me some consternation, so I worked at mine and completed it early. I didn’t trust that my concept would work. Here it is, without other context:

In case it’s not obvious — and it’s not — that’s the movement of a landing bird. The rings show the orientation of the body as it lands as well as hinting at speed, and the centre (short) wire appears when the legs come down. Here’s the idea sheet I put together:

And I did my presentation as well (something I am a lot more comfortable with than most of the kids in the class), and it’s all done. No clue what the grade will be, but I suspect I did well despite my initial discomfort at the nebulous description. The grade will appear eventually and I’ll see if I am right about that.

We’re now getting ready to start the next assignment, which is to create a design for an entomology pavilion (very loosely defined) for a local place called Van Dusen Gardens. All we’ve been told so far is that we’ll be building in cardboard again, that the pavilion might cover a 20' x 20' area (give or take), and that it needs to have some sort of insect related them. This week we’re to collect some insect related images off the web that will help inspire our design.

And that’s where design class sits. I am pretty happy in this class so far. It covers ground that I am familiar with and works in three dimensions. Essentially it plays to my strengths, unlike painting, and even drawing to a degree. Ceramics is good, too, but I can see there is a lot of technical stuff to learn that I haven’t yet been exposed to.

Oh, and the instructor for this class is starting to put together a special projects design class in the Summer that will include working with the city (Vancouver) to get students to work on trying to find real solutions to problems they have but lack the manpower to work on. That might be interesting to do, and I will be looking for more details on it.

Originally published at on November 6, 2017.

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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