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Drawing for Graphic Design by Timothy Samara

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132
/
133
In/
ven?
t–
ion
This chapter presents
methods for overcom-
ing timidity—facing
the blank page!—and
exploring, hands-on,
the development of
skills from basic mark-
making and gesture
through structure,
composition, descrip-
tion of pictorial form,
and creation of non-
pictorial narrative.
/
*Rhoda Kellogg with Scott O’Dell.
The Psychology of Children’s Art.
[1967] CRM, Inc.
Drawing is a skill that, like any other, can
be learned. Some people demonstrate
a superlative native talent for it, just as
they might for playing football or cooking,
working with typography, or taking photo-
graphs; others must actively work on
honing it as they would for any of these
latter activities.
It’s interesting to consider that children
draw intuitively as part of their early
development—and, perhaps not surpris-
ingly, are extremely accomplished at it,
even at the early age of three. Research
has documented both a universal instinct
among children to make images and an
equally universal process of evolution in
their approach, regardless of culture.*
It begins with the discovery of gesture
and then, almost immediately thereafter,
the articulation of a first, purposeful form:
a mandala, the child announcing the
understanding of self and location in exis-
tence. From there, all children vigorously
express themselves through nonpictorial
means with increasingly complex shape-
based forms that eventually result in
pictorial depiction. Even more fascinating
is that, in looking at childrens’ drawings,
one confronts an undeniable consistency
in resolving the aspects of the universal
principles discussed earlier—a remark-
able level of visual sophistication.
This realization has nothing to do with
condescending to accepting childens
work as “good” simply because of their
age. Comparing nearly any drawing by a
child with fine art works (of any genre)
that hang in the world’s most prestigious
museums—or, for that matter, with any
of the posters, brochures, book covers,
or website layouts that captivate us
in myriad graphic design journals and
showcases—will immediately prove
otherwise. Being completely objective,
one will recognize a powerful cohe-
sion among gesture, form, structure,
and space that seems to have simply
occurred in a state of complete resolu-
tion, without the effort that is evident in
works made by adults. The issue here is
confidence; young children are fearless
when they draw. They accept their skill
and the expression that results without
the judgment that adults impose on
themselves. Somewhere along the way,
though, many of us—even those who
go on to be image-makers for the rest of
our lives—lose that fearlessness and,
eventually, the desire to even explore
drawing as a vehicle for communication.
In effect, our intellectual development
cuts us off from one of the most provoca-
tive, compelling, and human modes of
storytelling and narrative.
Uncovering, or rediscovering, the creative
possibilities of drawing is empowering.
The assignments that follow are accom-
panied by suggestions for translating
their exploration of specific concepts and
skills in their day-to-day job or projects;
corresponding real-world examples give
evidence to this same practical poten-
tial. For beginners, assignments in this
chapter may be approached with photo-
graphic reference through tracing or scan-
ning and working digitally; once some
level of comfort with these activities have
been achieved, revisiting assignments to
work directly through observation or from
memory will further enhance budding
skills. Designers or draftspersons with
greater experience are encouraged to
engage in both the simpler, more funda-
mental studies and those of a higher
level of complexity. Drawing skill is like
a muscle: It needs continual exercise to
keep strong and flexible and, eventually,
able to be called upon powerfully and
instinctively.
Drawing
/ for Graphic
Design

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