O'Reilly logo

Drawing for Graphic Design by Timothy Samara

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

86
/
87
Pro-
c
/
ess
es
/
This section explores
various drawing processes
and their integration into
design and production—
including practical
application through a
series of selected real-
world case studies.
Drawing
/ for Graphic
Design
The process itself, while more or less
universal, is unique to every designer
and, very often, to the context of each
individual project. Some designers favor
intuition over analysis and allow form to
live as it comes into being, freely altering
as it develops; others approach drawing
from a highly structural and analytical
standpoint, architecturally planning and
constructing it in discrete stages. Only
through experiencing the process can one
define one’s own methods and how these
may be applied in any given situation.
Beyond the process of making the
drawing itself, a designer must also inte-
grate this act into the overall ideational
process of design with regard to other
design elements and the process of
production. How the drawing comes
about, its medium and method (whether
physical or digital, or both) must be
considered in the context of photographic
and existing typographic structures or
styles that may be used, as well as how
these will be incorporated in the envi-
ronment of the software being used to
prepare the completed work for print or
screen-based publication. Drawing, as
will be seen, happens literally in image-
making but also informs a conceptual
process of manipulation in composition
and content interaction at many stages
during the development of a total project.
So often, designers who don’t typically
draw are paralyzed by the fear of not
getting it right in one shot. It’s important
to recognize that the process of drawing
defines “failure” as a clear direction
toward improvement; only by seeing
what isn’t right can one then conceive
of any possible appropriate alternatives.
That recognition builds skill and then
confidence in exercising it. The very idea
of failure transforms into the idea of
discovery, liberating designers to actively
seek out the true depth of their creative
sensibilities. This fear is also often
compounded by the misconception that
the purpose of drawing is to accurately
reproduce observed reality. Considering
the works of such fine artists as Alice
Neel or Henri Matisse—which certainly
are not accurate depictions but, seem
somehow “right” because of the artists’
gestural confidence and their decisive
demonstration of universal principles—
reveals the limitation of this idea.
Drawings come to be through an inten-
sive dialogue between intuition and
analysis. The opening stages of their
evolution initiates a period of play in
which a designer first confronts unlimited
possibility for subject matter, means of
representation, and form language. In
this initial investigation, the designer
must leave preconception behind to test
spontaneously the available options; to
to evaluate what results from these first
attempts; continually to add, subtract,
alter, and rediscover; and eventually to
resolve the forms that contribute to the
fulfillment of the designer’s purpose.
The process takes place through creating,
obliterating, and reworking. Each idea,
each form, each structure, as it mani-
fests in the accumulation of marks and
gestures, presents information to be
incorporated or refuted. The process
almost cinematically records its devel-
opment for contemplation, accepting
missteps as necessary components upon
which to build the right elements. In
that sense, the drawing process is very
forgiving; it is assumed that accidents
will happen and allows them to become
part of the final work.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required