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Drawing for Graphic Design by Timothy Samara

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Many designers, despite the individuality
of their approaches, tend to follow a
staged process that leverages basic
notions garnered from early formal
training, even if they are very experi-
enced. The fundamental idea of this
process is to define the simplest aspects
of the image first—the broad strokes,
as it were—and then, through succes-
sive stages, to clarify and enhance
more complex aspects with increasing
specificity; in effect, building a rough
foundation and then filling it in. Although
this process may be described and under-
stood intellectually as linear, it is usually
reiterative and circular, meaning that it
often necessitates stepping back as a
result of going forward. Intuition guides
the exploration; analysis of what results
defines a particular direction; intuition
returns to test variations; analysis guides
the drawing toward its final form.
The Search:
Ideation
and Resolution
Modeling
Creative
Processes
The design process may be mapped using
a few different models. As seen here,
such models typically incorporate similar
stages of inquiry that act in different rela-
tion to one another.
Exploration
The designer examines a range of
different approaches to understand
their respective potentials in the
given context: visual brainstorming
to discover possibilities.
Focus
Comparing the results of the explo-
ration, the designer evaluates
which possibility—or combinations
thereof—may yield the most inter-
esting and clearest direction for the
visualization of the subject.
Construction
The designer integrates and “builds”
the components of the form and
composition, working with the attri-
butes he or she has selected.
Testing
As the drawing takes shape, the
designer experiments with varia-
tions—in scale, rhythm, position,
and so on—to determine how these
options confuse, clarify, or augment
the constructed image.
Refinement
Not to be confused with “clean-
up” or mere simplification, this
stage concerns editing the form
to clarify relationships—to bring
them to a state in which they
appear purposeful and somehow
“complete.”
Converging Tree
Visualized as a series of stages in which
multiple alternatives are compared, and
some selected for further refinement, in
successive rounds; at each juncture, the
choice of alternatives narrows until only
one refined state remains.
Focus Target
Similar to the tree model, each set of
alternatives directs the designer to the
next level of specificity; in this model,
however, only one option is given focus at
a time and future directions selected from
testing and refining it alone.

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