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Drawing for Graphic Design by Timothy Samara

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22
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23
Universal
Principles
of a Strong
Drawing
No matter the medium, style, or purpose,
every successful drawing embodies the
resolution and integration of fundamental
qualities—universal principles that must
be evident regardless of which territory
that drawing inhabits
/
A
/
.
It’s worth noting again that capturing
an accurately real depiction is not one
of the characteristics assigned here to
“successful” drawings. Too often, realism
is equated with success. Remember
that a drawing is always an abstraction
to some degree: It distills essence and
reconstructs it with specific intent. If the
intent, in a given context, is to accurately
reproduce observed forms in space, this
may be another criteria upon which to
judge a drawing’s success. However, a
decision in favor of pictorial realism is
narrative, solely dependent on the nature
of the communication; only then should
success also be evaluated on this basis.
Definitive Structure
A sturdy set of recognizable relation-
ships among form axes and contours
Unified Form Language
A specific combination of marks, shapes,
and gesture
Positive/Negative Vitality
Dynamic rhythm and interplay between
forms and spaces
Perceptual Space
The creation of engaging,
illusory dimensionality
Drawing
/ for Graphic
Design
Discovery
Universal
Principles
Linear:Planar
Geometric : Organic
Angular : Curvilinear
Large:Small
Restful : Energetic
Uniform : Varied
Simple : Complex
Delicate : Bold
Cubic : Elliptical
Deep : Compressed
Field : Singularity
Dark : Light
Volumetric : Schematic
Regular : Irregular
Repeating: Distinct
Ordered: Disordered
Dense : Open
Orthogonal: Diagonal
Soft :Sharp
Opaque :Transparent
Concrete: Abstract
Single : Multiple
Fluid: Staccato
Most important to understand is that
all the universal principles are informed
by one overarching aspect: the notion
of contrast. Creating states of differing
presence or quality—states that contrast
with each other—is inherent in avoiding
visual monotony. Contrast established
among aspects of one principal will
usually affect aspects of the others.
While the term “contrast” applies to
specific relationships, it also applies to
the quality of difference in relationships
among forms and spaces interacting
within a format together. The confluence
of varied states of contrast is referred
to as tension. For example: A composi-
tion with strong contrast between round
and sharp, angular forms in one area,
opposed by another area where all the
forms are similarly angular, exhibits
tension in angularity. A composition that
contrasts areas of dense, active line
rhythms with areas that are generally
more open and regular might be charac-
terized as creating tension in rhythm.
A
This poster exhibits all the universal principles
to be achieved in a successful drawing
/
STIM Visual Communication United States
24
/
25
Universal
Principles
of a Strong
Drawing
Drawing entails complete inven-
tion from the ground up. Through a
process of trial and error, designers
discover what kinds of graphic
shapes may work to articulate a given
subject, as well as how they might
act together. They invent a palette
of form elements (a syntax), each
having its own purpose and quality,
along with the behaviors in which
those parts engage (a grammar)—
a language of form that, in a visual
way, corresponds closely to the
analogy of spoken language. Form
elements are like sounds, or even
words; they contain basic identifying
information much the same way that
verbs, adjectives, or nouns do. And,
as with speech, these “words” are
combined in patterns specific to that
language; they behave in a particular
way in French, for example, that is
different from German or Japanese.
In drawing, designers build form
languages unique to each drawing.
Possibilities for defining a form language
are, of course, endless. It may be funda-
mentally defined by purely geometric
syntax
/
A, B
/
; alternatively, it may be
defined by organic syntax
/
C
E
/
. It goes
almost without saying that syntax of
either kind may be hybridized in any
combination. The syntax may be very
rough
/
C, E
/
or highly refined and sharply
articulated
/
D, F
/
, whether geometric or
organic. While the medium used will
contribute to the language
/
E
/
, the basic
geometric or organic nature of the form
syntax will typically remain identifiable.
Every
successful
drawing
expresses
a specific,
unified
form
language.
First Principle
A
Planar and linear geometric syntax
/
Steff Geissbuhler
United States
B
Dot- and grid-basd geometric syntax
/
The Luxury of
Protest United Kingdom
C
Organic, linear syntax; geometric structure
/
Catherine Harvey United States
D
Organic form syntax arranged gesturally
/
STIM Visual Communication United States
E
Organic syntax
/
Eva Surany, UArts
United States

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