Graphic Design Course: Week One

It’s strange the things I’ve learned in a week. Like, I was meant to be a graphic designer. That the little idiosyncrasies that made my past teachers hate me, like doodling letters in my notebooks and going overboard with prep seem to be exactly what’s expected. Or maybe all my teachers hate me already and I’m just oblivious because I LOVE every class.

Last week I discovered Neville Brody. It’s ironic that the reason I discovered one of the most influential designers of this generation is because I wanted free shipping of a text book on amazon and ended up searching “Best Graphic Design Books”. Brody’s was the cheapest and was on the most lists and so I got it. HOLY MOLY. He designed album covers for bands that I love, has a punk rock philosophy towards design and creation and went from being someone who almost didn’t make it through graphic design school to being the Dean of the Royal College of Art. I’m in love with the mans interviews on educational reform in the arts, and his designs, and the fact that he’s not just an artist he also has a brain. Oh how I love those artists with brains, and oh how rare they are! Oh yeah, and Ellen Lupton. I’m in love with these people. Like, in love. I haven’t listened to real punk in quite a while but suddenly I’m throwing on X Ray Spex and dancing as I think about an assignment on fonts from the 18th century! What’s wrong with me?!?

Oh yeah… and none of this is in the course.

Then there’s Helvetica, which I hate, but the documentary is super interesting. There’s the movie The Architect and The Painter. There’s hundreds of dollars worth of supplies to buy and there’s class assignments to sketch in a book, and to take pictures of random things that might inspire. There’s a whole list of most influential designers that I can’t find in blogs but I discovered in the comments section of blogs who were missing names. See, the thing is, I’m approaching this from the perspective of a girl who started a web development company. I’m looking at school like work, where excuses don’t fly and you do your very best and three hours of sitting drawing is not hell, it’s what you finally get to do when you’re on vacation.

What do I have to say about graphic design school at Dawson? It’s given my life purpose? The things I do automatically, like take pictures of the sewer gratings in the courtyard where I hide so I don’t have to interact with other students are assignments. Painting shades of grey (not fifty, perv) is a three hour class and the teacher lives around the corner in that warehouse with a wood stove that makes me want a fireplace every time I walk the dog in the fall.

I’m just spewing excitement right now and it’s probable that no one is interested, but it’s a reminder to me that I need to write some blog entries.

#1. Publish my experiences at Wordcamp Montreal! Web Design Baby!

#2. Review of Critical Hit games, and maybe of Pixelles Montreal courses on Unity! Game Design!

#3. Graphic Design, books, classes, inspiration, everything.

I love it so much I’m going to explode, and I don’t want to press publish because I’m already looking at my sites as if they were made by an amateur who didn’t love Baskerville! So, basically, more coming soon, after I finish the two papers that aren’t due for a month and go overboard on thumbnail sketches that the teacher asked for three of and I’m doing three pages of instead.

Wish me luck!

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Dawson College Graphic Design Application

Some might call me neurotic. I call myself prepared. That is why, when I walked into the portfolio review at Dawson College this past Wednesday I had everything they asked me to bring, and more.

The letter I received which informed me I had actually been invited to have my portfolio evaluated said I should bring a pencil, an eraser and a sharpener. I brought six pencils three erasers and three sharpeners. It worked well for me, the person behind me had none, and I was able to help them out. The letter told us to bring a portfolio of approximately 25 pieces (they do not accept ONLY photocopies), a sketchbook, and to be prepared to write a statement of intent.

Did I mention I’m neurotic? I searched every design blog I could find, I googled every combination of design, school, portfolio, evaluation, application. I had masters students in fine arts review my portfolio. I designed and bound a book of my art photo shopped to be presentable with a personal brand and contact information, threw it out when someone made worthwhile suggestions about the content and diversity of my portfolio, had everything printed on card stock, cut and paste onto a prefab scrapbook with beautiful black pages, made sure every page of my 100 page sketch book was covered in art, rehearsed what I would say if I had to talk to teachers, what I would write, what questions might be asked. I’m only kind of ashamed to admit that I looked up every member of the department on the dawson website, linkedin and ratemyteacher… and now it’s over.

If you’re like me and you’re searching “Dawson College Graphic Design Portfolio Evaluation” over and over, hoping that a student will give potentials a heads up as to what they should expect… here you go.

There were 36 of us in a room, each at an over sized (but not huge) drafting desk. We were given a blank sheet of paper, a paper with three questions on it, and a yellow sheet of paper. First, we were given ten minutes to fill in the questionnaire.

1. What is Graphic Design. 

2. What will you contribute to the program?

3. What do you hope to leave the program with?

Those were the questions. Next? Ten minutes for a drawing test.

Draw your hand. That’s it. Draw your hand.

As for the yellow sheet. Fill in your name. Below are two sections with a list of teachers names and a space for them to say a number out of ten that they awarded you for your portfolio, and then again for your drawing test.

Then the teachers told us to put our portfolios on the tables, and leave. Come back in an hour and a half and take your things home with you, we have another group to see this afternoon.

That was it. 

D’you want to know the best part? Somehow, I ended up befriending a collection of girls, one from Montreal a quiet student, one from Montreal studying at McGill in Education and desperate to get into the graphic design program instead, another from France who came all the way from Toronto for the review. We went across the street to the mall, talking about how nervous we were, how we had expected some one on one, or to at least see our reviewers reactions as they rated our hard work… It was only after half of my spinach jugo juice, as we walked back into Dawson and decided to make a tour of the notorious 8th floor while talking about the drinks that we would go out and have together in September when we all got into the program that I looked into my bag and realized…. I had taken my timed drawing test, letter of intent and the yellow sheet that my potential teachers would use to mark my portfolio (which they had been doing for about an hour), in my bag. IDIOT.

I ran to the door, and handed my sheets over with apologies. Now it’s a waiting game.

I don’t think I’ll publish this until I hear back. Who knows,  maybe these are trade secrets that would bar me from entry into the program that I could find nothing unofficial about before my own stressful application. More later on the intricacies of my portfolio creation, and why I have determined that graphic design is the only career for me!

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Winning An Argument With A Computer Geek!

The course I’m in right now is very strict about what monitor resolutions we use when designing web pages. The ideal, that they insist will not change for a very long time, is 1024 x 768.

So as I design, I’m sitting at a dual monitor set up, with one at 1600 x 1200 and the other at 1024 x 768.

The pages I design that look empty with lots of filler on the left, right and bottom of the page in my regular monitor look full and centered on the 1024 screen. So I design, I test it on the large screen, and then I drag it on over to my sadly undersized for its capability second monitor, and everything comes up Millhouse.

Enter, my boyfriend, the professional developer.

Thing is, he doesn’t believe the things that my online professors are telling me. He thinks that the average computer user is going to have a larger screen, like the main screen that we generally use, and unless you’re coding for mobile devices, it’s ridiculous to be at a resolution of 1024.

The only reason I argued with him is because I thought I was missing something. The majority of people who I know use netbooks, or computers that they bought several years ago. I know many who still use the bulky old desktops. These are not designers, yet they are not technophobes. They are people who use the internet for information, they are people who can’t or choose not to buy the latest innovation in technology. They are THE people.  My boyfriend insisted that these “people” don’t exist.

When I read, “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, the thing that struck me the most in his book was that designers and developers don’t necessarily understand the people who they design and code for. They assume that everyone is a Facebook addict, has a great monitor, a wi-fi network in their house and high-speed internet. Being from the country, where to this day we still can not get anything other than dial-up, I know this isn’t true.

Maybe my boyfriend is right in thinking that most people our age, from 25 to 40, with steady jobs and a place to call their own, have a good computer. He doesn’t take into account that if you don’t live in a city like Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, there’s really no point in getting a really great computer because you can’t get an internet connection that will make it worth it. Furthermore, he forgets that people “our age” are outnumbered by the baby boomer generation. Just last week my dad sent me 50 emails in a row, each containing a single image. He’s figured out how to use his fancy iPad, but doesn’t yet know that you can send more than one attachment at a time. If he hadn’t won the iPad, much like my boyfriend’s mom and dad, he’s still be using our old IBM Aptiva from 1994. Such a computer is no slower than the internet connection available where they live.

So, I argued that he’s living in the dream world of designers and developers. I argued he was of a generation that assumes everyone is as computer literate and capable as he is. He scoffed, he made fun of my school and my teachers. He consulted W3C, which stand for World Wide Web Consortium and he was proven right. According to W3C browser statistics, as of January 2013, 90% of people have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher. I was sceptical. “There’s NO WAY!” I told him that maybe they were only taking into account the people who consult W3C. Oh yeah. That’s exactly what they were doing. A website for designers, developers and web professionals was in fact publishing the statistics for THEIR SITE. So much for his vindication in being right.

Next stop,

At this point, he finally started to fold. What the hell? Even on the W3C site he was shocked that up until 2009 over 40% of visitors were using a screen with a resolution of less than 1024. When we looked at really hit home.

Graph from on browser display statistics

Graph from on browser display statistics

According to “The average has sat at 1024 x 768 since at least March 2009, but StatCounter has been tracking it ever since and as of March 2012, 1366 x 768 is now the most popular. 1024 x 768 has dropped to second place, and 1280 x 800 takes up third position.” You can click the graph above to see their original article.

And so, I was vindicated. What I was being told was correct, what Steve Krug warns us of is appropriate. Never forget who your audience is. If you’re building a website for Joe’s Garage and Second Hand Car Sales, don’t forget that Joe’s second-hand buying car clients, probably haven’t bought the latest mac notebook. If you’re making a website for social services in rural Quebec, don’t forget, none of the people in those communities who are using the site have access to high-speed internet. When they look things up, it’s because they have to, and it takes a long time to do. Arriving at a website that the government or a business spent a lot of money developing and finding it illegible, that it takes hours to load or that it’s not user-friendly will not just make them click to an alternative page, it might have made them waste an entire afternoon. Design is great, as is the ability to code quickly and intuitively, however, we all need to keep in mind that we are not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for a client and more importantly for the clients of our clients. We must never forget who those people are.

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Common Sense Is Not So Common

I have to say that Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug changed the way I look at things.  In his book he talks about the importance of web site usability, and somehow, in the week since I read it, I’ve started applying those principals to every day life as well. Some of the things that he says will diminish goodwill towards a website, or the company it represents include:

  • Hiding Information You Want
  • Punishing The User for Not Doing Things Their Way
  • Asking for Information that isn’t Needed
  • False Sincerity (which he calls “Shucking and Jiving”)
  • Putting too much sizzle (aka Flash intros that take ages to load or pages with feel good marketing photos)
  • Looking Amateurish (pg 164)

A Picture Of The Book Cover, Don't Make Me Think

Perhaps the reason that he calls his book “A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” is because all of these things ARE common sense, when you’re not on the web or talking to most designers that is.  If I walk into a store and can’t find anything, and I have to ask the shop assistant for sizes or specifics, I’ll walk out. If I need to have an account with a company in order to buy from them, and to get that account I need to give them information that the hydro company didn’t even ask me for when I set up my account with them, well, I’ll go somewhere where there’s no strings attached. If a shop attendant hangs on my every word or tells me I look great in the red dress that is ten sizes to small, I tell her I look like Kool-Aid before busting through a brick wall on my way out of there.

So why are so many websites SO overwhelming?

While I lay in bed reading this book, my web developer boyfriend lay in bed next to me playing pokemon. I’d ask him, “Does your company do usability tests?”  “What?”  I’d explain the concept. “Oh, hell no, what a waste. If people are too stupid to use the site, I’m not going to dumb it down for them.”

Laws are now being passed by governments that state that establish mandatory standards for accessibility in certain circumstances, and more are going to follow – basically, people who use screen readers because they’re visually impaired or for a variety of other reasons, need to be able to understand the sites you make too.  I’d ask him if they actually have protocol to make sure that their pages are accessible, and he laughed again. “Hell no, the boss says that will take way too much time, besides, we know who’s using our websites, it’s not necessary.”

Here I am, a student in my first tech course, asking questions and clarification about a book by a well known blogger, lecturer, author and web usability consultant, and the guy with the established development career either has no idea what I’m talking about, or discounts everything as unnecessary. It wasn’t Steve Krug who explained to me why websites can be so bad, it was my developer boyfriend who discounted everything he said in the book.

In Don’t Make Me Think  Steve Krug doesn’t tell us why, but he does tell us how to fix the problem. I’m not saying that contrary to my boyfriend, every thing in the book is to be applied to every website, neither am I saying that you should go against your boss and get laid off for being too slow on account of all of the accessibility you’re adding to a page, but Don’t Make Me Think has some brilliant ideas in it that really did make me think. Basically the book explains how to do your own usability test on a website, or how to get others to do it.

Some of his main points were,

  • Get rid of question marks. If someone has to wonder whether the underlined text is a link, it’s detracting from your site. If they have to think about whether a leather hammer is going to be under jewelry or hardware, your categories are too difficult. If someone can’t tell where they are in the site, they’re getting overwhelmed. 
  • In order to get rid of question marks, create a clear visual hierarchy. What related logically should relate visually.
  • Even if they’re boring, use conventions, people like to know that they can get to the home page at the top left of any page in the site. Generally you find the little shopping cart on the top right. Don’t make people search if you don’t have to.
  • Break pages into clearly defined areas.
  • Make it obvious what’s clickable. I don’t know about you, but my mom still screams when she gets a pop-up because she think’s someone’s attacking her with a virus. She’s definitely not always certain what she can click on, and half the time, even if she knows what she’s looking to click on, she can’t see it because of her bifocals.
  • Don’t make it too busy. People are easily distracted.
  • Omit needless words.
  • Don’t assume the user knows ANYTHING.
  • Happy Talk Must Die. Everyone knows it’s just corporate babble, and if the shinny happy, welcome to our company we love you, you’re the best customer ever part of the page takes away from the page’s ability to serve it’s purpose, (which it almost always does), get rid of it.
  • Instructions Must Die. If you need to tell people what to do, it’s not simple enough for them to use. Redesign. If you really can’t design the site to work without instructions, make them simple, keep it to a minimum. You can scare people away from a really simple survey if the precursor to the survey takes ten minutes to read and all they would have ended up having to do was ten multiple choice questions.
  • Give people breadcrumbs. Unlike shopping in a mall, where you have a physical sense of where you are, how far you’ve walked from your car, and the very farthest away that the store you’re looking for is, surfing the web can leave users lost. Give them some direction. Let them know how to get back to the homepage, tell them exactly where they are, allow them easy access to other places, tell them how many more pages are coming up in the search.
  • Always be able to easily answer or better, get someone else to answer the following questions about a site you designed.
  1.  What site is this?
  2. What Page am I on?
  3. What are the major sections of this site?
  4. What are my options on this level?
  5. Where am I in the scheme of things?
  6. How can I search?

Krug gives you examples to do yourself, his own redesigns of sites, and then tells you how to run a usability test in your workplace, bringing in different people to go through your website and see how they use it. He guarantees it probably won’t be the way that you expected.

Maybe the best part of reading this book in bed beside my boyfriend was when I finished it. We eventually plan to go into business together, I’ll do front end, he’ll do back. The minute I closed the book he looked over at me and scowled. “You’re going to want me to do all of that crap if we work together, aren’t you?” Of course I told him yes. He suggested I should stop reading so much! As if.

If you want to read more, be sure to check out Steve Krug’s website, and definitely, pick up the book!

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Robin Williams is NOT a comedian.

The first book that I read on design was loaned to me by a friend. I didn’t even notice the author of the book until I read the introduction and noticed it signed with a very girly Robin. Then, when I got to the review in Chapter six and all of the “Lessons from Hitchhiking Across The Country” cover page examples were by Robin Williams, I finally realized that not only do I love Robin Williams the comedian, I also love Robin Williams the designer and author. And in case you didn’t get it, those are two very different people, and I hope for the female designer’s sake that they also have very different ratios of body hair to skin!

The Non-Designers Design Book Cover

The Non-Designers Design Book


I FLEW through the Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams. It was an easy read, an informative read, and it basically explained everything that had confused me in the design section of my course. The first part of the book is devoted to principles of design. Robin Williams uses the acronym CRAP, which stands for Contrast, Repetition, Allignment and Proximity.  Oddly enough, I forgot this simple acronym two days after reading the book, and in browsing the web last night looking up bad websites to review for my course, came across this article which, as opposed to telling me about crap websites, nicely summarizes Robin Williams’ basic principle. I’ve linked the picture to the article, as it’s been difficult for me to find Robin Williams the designer’s page for all of the media about the comedian.

The first thing that struck me in this book was that Robin Williams reiterated one of the things that my teacher told me regarding my first assignment. Don’t center one thing and left justify the rest. Even though we were doing an html online resume, and I formatted it exactly the way that job sites on the internet tell us to present a physical resume, I lost a mark on presentation for centering some of the text, and not other parts.

According to Robin Williams, centering is for amateurs. You should always use the natural lines of your page to draw attention to what you’re saying on it. If the only lines that you have on your page (as in the case of my resume) then use the left side of your page to draw the eye from top to bottom. You can expand this idea to fit a page with multiple columns, and every other aspect of the page. Always use the natural line of the page to draw the eye to the next part of the page that you want the user to look at. This is what she’s talking about when she says ALLIGNMENT.

The second thing that struck me in The Non-Designer’s Design Book was an example of taking the headings up a notch, from a regular font like times new roman displayed in bold, to a font that is actually created to stand out, a thicker, chunkier and darker font that will REALLY contrast with the rest of the font.  Use that font for all titles, it will make a visual break in the page but if you use that font consistently for all titles, it will also draw the entire page together.  This is only one example of REPETITION.  If you’re using lists, make sure the markers are all the same, if you’re making more than one page, use consistent design for the tops of your page, use the same colours, and the same spacing, to let people know they’re still in the same place.

When I got to a section of the book that stressed the importance of making a page visually appealing to the customers as opposed to reflecting the personality of the owner I had to laugh. This is something I’m really going to keep in mind, but with a variation. When making web pages, it’s not about the designers personality, it’s about functionality and usability. Sure, I’m going to make the most interesting, visually stimulating site that I can, but it’s all for nothing if not a single person can navigate through it. One of the keys to usability is making sure that the different areas and functions of a page are visible, and the way to do this is CONTRAST and PROXIMITY. People scan the internet, they’re looking for words, phrases or the next link they want to follow, and it’s hard for them to do that if all of the services you provide are melded together into a big long un-ordered list with no spaces or if they’re so visually overwhelmed by the back-ground that they can’t distinguish what parts are links and what aren’t.  So use the images, use lists, make it fancy, but make sure that everything is clear, that one thing contrasts with another, that similar things are grouped together and that your beautiful page is actually usable.

The second half of the book is all about fonts. In the course that I’m taking right now, they explained what serif is (it’s like times new roman, the little bits at the top and bottom of letters),   while sans-serif doesn’t have those little bits.  The course also told me that it’s good to use serif for titles, sans-serif is easier to use in body text, and not to use too many different types of font. Their horrible explanation of the usage of font is what made me pick up Robin Williams’ book in the first place and in two pages she had told me more than an entire unit of my course had.

Robin not only breaks the relation between type on a page into different categories, explaining that your combinations of fonts can be “Concordant, conflicting or contrasting”, she also defines six primary categories of type that can get you started in understanding how to put them together or when not to.

Concordant is simple, it’s fonts in one family without a lot of difference between size and weight. Basically, they all go together, so it’s easy to keep things elegant and formal, or tame and dull

Conflicting is when you use fonts that are similar, but not the same. They’re not different enough to stand out, but they also don’t quite go together. Conflicting is bad, you want one extreme or the other, or it will confuse the viewers eye without them even knowing why.

Contrasting goes well with all of the design elements we spoke about before. Using a bold font for all titles, a different and very readable font for the body. It’s all about contrast in web design, whether you’re using colour or fonts to achive it.

The categories of type that Williams defines are Oldstyle, Modern, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script and Decorative. You really do need to read the book to see how well she puts them together and in contrast. She gives a brief history of each, how it was used and how it is used today. She gives you information on how to contrast not only font styles but also their size and  weight.

I loved this book. It only took about an hour to read but it taught me a lot. I know already I’m going to flick through it every time I’m working on a project, you should pick it up to!

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New Post For A New Career

This January I enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology “Web Technologies Certificate Program”.  Each course is five hundred dollars, and you come out with a certificate from what in Canada we consider an accredited college.

I’ve never really made or designed websites before, aside from the cut an paste, formatted wordpress variety. The first course that you have to take, as a pre-requisite to all the rest, is “Weaving The Web: Publishing On The Internet”.  Which includes: Introduction to HTML,  Working with Text, Colour and CSS, Using CSS, Hyperlinks and Website Design, Working With Images and Creating a Page Template, Elements of Web Design and Using Tables, Working with iFrames, Sounds, Animations, and Movies and Administering Your Web Site.

Even though I’ve never used HTML or CSS before, I’m having a ton of difficulty with the second assignment, not because of the difficulty of the code, but the restrictions placed on what we can do in CSS, and a limit to the fonts and colours that we can use (only three of each). No matter what I do, I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that it’s going to come out looking like something off of geocities in the early 1990s.

To alleviate the tedium of learning the programming equivalent of addition when I want to dive right in to differential equations, I’ve read both of the e-books that the course suggests, and everything else that I could get my hands on. So, being the fast reader that I am, in the past three days, I’ve read:

A Picture Of The Book Cover, Don't Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug


Professional Web Design Vol. 2 by Smashing Magazine

Professional Web Design Vol. 2 by Smashing Magazine


Thinking Web: Voices of The Community Cover Page

Thinking Web: Voices of The Community by

The Non-Designers Design Book Cover

The Non-Designers Design Book

Please note that the only one of the above images that does NOT link to the website of the person or community that created it when you click on the picture, is the last one by Robin Williams.  I had no idea until she was referred to in many of the best articles that I’ve read recently, that Robin Williams is not just a comedian. Unfortunately, I can’t find her website for the comedian.

It’s a lot of books for a couple of day, but I read a lot, and all of them are easy reads and enjoyable. Thing is, I don’t want to loose what I’ve learned from them. I want to remember the things that struck me in these books when, a few months from now, I start delving into the wonderful world of photoshop.

So, seeing as almost every one of the aforementioned books spoke about the importance of participating in the design and development community if you want to make a career of web design, I’ve decided to make this blog my first step in that direction. Until I know more, I’m not comfortable on forums and can’t really offer tech or design advice of my own, but I can learn from other people, on the web, and in books. I can also share with people what struck me in those books.

So here it begins, an online review of paper instructions for functioning in web technology. Bear with me, I hope that it will get exponentially better as we go.

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When The Web Spills Over Into Real Life

I don’t know whether it’s a good thing, or a bad thing, but I can’t think of anything that goes on online as reality, and I don’t think it’s just me. When it comes to online shopping, I think there might be a lot of people who would think twice if they had to carry the weight of their purchases out of a store, as opposed to having it conveniently delivered. When it comes to commenting on blogs, news articles or forums, many people would not say the things they type, not necessarily because they don’t think them, but because the consequences would be a punch in the face as opposed to an angrily worded response.

What has happened to me recently, is that I’ve started taking a course on Web Technologies, and although it’s mostly coding, the little bit of design that we have had to do, has started to effect my art work. All of the articles I’ve read on contrast and colour are making me want to paint differently, and making me notice the problems in the pieces I created before I had this insight into the intelligence of design principles.

Picture 001


I have been working on the above piece for years. Well, actually, that’s not true. I haven’t been working on it for years. It’s been behind a couch and to tell the truth, I only pulled it out because I got a new easel and all my other works in progress were too small to display properly. Having pulled it out, and with my new insight into design courtesy of BCIT, the first thing I noticed was that the nautical star didn’t have enough contrast to it. You can see what it is, but it would have looked a lot better had I used bright red instead of burgundy with the black. The second thing I noticed was that it’s super busy, and it’s going to be even more busy by the time I’m finished (which, by the way, I am now determined to do).

The thing is, I like dark colours, I like busy, I like subtle. I know you can’t let every design principle or artistic norm effect the things you want to create, but where do you draw the line between taking good advice and throwing it out in the hopes that you know better? It’s something I’ve always wondered about people who go to art school. I know that things like anatomy and form are important, but if they teach anything like the design that I’m using for websites, I’d be surprised if everyone who came out with a diploma didn’t make cookie cutter art identical to that of their peers. So help me out, artists who do this seriously and not just for fun the way that I do. What did you learn in art school, do you use design principles, does it change how you express yourself? Any tips?

Picture 002


On another note, the other thing that I realized when I pulled out that old painting, is that sometimes you don’t notice that your style has changed or improved. After throwing the circles, which was my first attempt at painting, behind the couch and almost forgetting about it, I didn’t really paint again for years. The reason for this is probably the way I was painting. Not knowing what the hell I was doing, I’d mix up a huge batch of the colour of paint I wanted, and I figured I’d have to sit there until it was gone. Basically, if the inclination took me to paint, I’d have to clear my schedule for the next sixteen hours, because otherwise, the huge pile of paint I made on the palette would dry up. I know it sounds stupid, but I didn’t think I could remix the colour, so that’s what I was doing.

The picture of lovers kissing above, while not incredible, was my second attempt at painting, years later. What struck me when I pulled out the circle painting last night, was not that I was a much better painter now, it was that I now had enough confidence in myself to mix small batches of paint, and therefore, finishing it off would not be the chore that it used to be. I looked at the kiss painting, and at the other couple that I’ve done in recent weeks and found myself very proud. Not that I’m suddenly a great artist, that will take years, but that I had made a small step towards being a better artist just by changing the way I mix my paint.

It’s yet to be seen whether or not these design lessons I’m getting in technical courses will continue my development or stunt it, I’ll keep you posted!

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Meghan Taking Photo
Contact me at scienceofmythstudios at gmail dot com

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