In this second installment of our two-part interview, Interbrand talks design technique and advice with Bart Laube, Senior Designer, Interbrand Cincinnati.
Interbrand: Do you have a favorite technique?
Laube: I normally take a Mechanical pencil with HB lead in it and loosely draw on velum a rough layout of what I am trying to draw. Proportions have to be in place before you can move on because you are not going to know more later than you know right now. So figure out proportions and layout now.
Then I lay another piece of vellum on top of that and lay in more final lines. I usually scan that in and get input from who ever is involved in the project to make sure the content and message is clear. The goal is always to communicate without words to anyone who sees it.
Another technique is to start with pencil on illustration board or copier paper, then ink final lines over top of it with a Pentel Sign Pen. Then erase all the pencil and you end up with a clean black line. I recently bought a Pentel Brush Pen. This creates wonderful lines with lots of character. Great for script type and variable line weights.
Sometimes a rough look is what is needed so that scan will be ok. For a cleaner drawing I trace the scan in Illustrator to create paths and add color and shading.
I also work in various natural media. The process is basically the same, but I can use watercolors and colored pencils to fill in color. I have used oil paints, but they are pretty messy to use in an office environment.
Interbrand: What advice would you give to designers who may want to include handcraft into their process?
Laube: This is probably the best time to try handwork. The trend has really swung away from tight computer drawings to more rough looking work. So include a "natural" concept in your range of work. What is the worst that can happen? Give it a shot.
Draw numbers, letters, things on your desk, your friends or your dog. Five minutes. 30 seconds. Just draw anything that inspires you. If you can't think of what it looks like, write the words out. Then make them cool. Let yourself enjoy it. Draw out your dreams. Your fears. No one has to see it. Draw for yourself.
Collect anything you like to look at. Make a folder called inspiration on your desktop; drop jpgs in there of anything you like. Then save it.
Collect your drawings in a sketchbook. It’s fun to see where your head was at at any given point in time. This will inspire you to keep improving. Leonardo Di Vinci has some pretty interesting sketchbooks.
Interbrand: What resources would you recommend for designers who would like to learn more?
Laube: If you want to get in on the action check out Threadless.com. It features all hand drawn t-shirts and you can have your own drawing submitted to be made into t-shirts. There is a giant community of people there who are excited about drawing.
For a basic understanding of hand lettering check out Ross F. George’s Speedball Textbook for Pen and Brush Lettering. For drawing people, check out Andrew Loomis’ book Figure Drawing for All It's Worth. Any pre 70s Andrew Loomis book is going to be pretty helpful. They have a great style.
You can find lots of tutorial videos on YouTube, but not all of these teachers are great. Try to find people whose work you admire and then try to learn from them. You will be happier with the results. Good Luck!
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