What is design? That was the one question we were asked as new students within the design field. Design is many things; it is creative, it is innovation--a process and a way of thinking. There were many times where we came accross the contention between art and design. What makes them different? Art is subjective and for its creator. Design, on the other hand, is for the users. This book documents most of my projects and my process as a design student from the first day I walked into Akshay’s studio. It also serves as the final project. I would also like to note that this is my first time using InDesign to create any sort of book. Akshay showed us how to do the basic formats for pages and margins but other than that everybody was pretty much on their own. I am proud and thankful, especially to Akshay and my peers for teaching me so much and showing me that the cognitive and design process is sometimes more important than what may result from it.

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Table of Contents

Projects Paper Color Clay Abstract Composition Platonic Solids Skewers & the X, Y, and Z Planes Interaction Poster Compositions Charcoal Sketches Pen & Marker Sketches Sketching Shadows Team Sketches Natural Pattern Collage Plaster Photography Screen Printing

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Project I


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Paper Study

As we progressed through the study Akshay wanted us to learn different shading techniques. In order to do so, we used acrylic paint and the primary colors.

I tried different shading techniques like cross-hatching and lightly brushing the paint on. I think the red and blue are most successful as yellow was way too bright.

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Paper Study

This study was assigned to us at the very beginning of the year. The assignment was to take a sheet of regular paper and explore its properties. What I wanted to explore was the flexibility of the paper and curves. Akshay also wanted us to sketch eye view with pencil and shading what we made from a bird’s on an 8” x 8” bristol board.

The most challenging part in the project was getting the dimensions of the object accurately onto the paper and getting the shading dark enough.

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Paper Study

After having more experience in shading and color, Akshay wanted us to paint what we had sketched in three colors instead of one. I chose green and yellow on a magenta background because they contrasted each other nicely. Green and purple are complementary colors.

For this second painting the study was to explore another aspect of the composition. I was interested in seeing how the shadows would appear if they were inversed.

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Project II


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A color cube seems more interesting to me than a regular color wheel.

This particular project was to help us understand the harmony of color better. We were to recreate the color wheel with acrylics. This was perhaps one of the most challenging assignments because blending was very difficult. I had to redo much of the cube and even now it is not perfect.

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I made two because I felt that the first one was not clear enough because I made the mistake of adding a background of orange. That takes away from the orange within the red and yellow. The second one I feel is more successful as the pinks stand out more as two seemingly different colors.

For these two, the assignment was to create a color illusion, using two contrasting colors and a mid-range color to create the false image that the mid-range color is two different colors, when in fact they are the same.

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Project III


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I did not have much experience in working with clay so this project really helped me understand the properties of clay. It took some time for me to get used to the texture of clay. I knew that it was important to work with the qualities of the material, so what I wanted to explore was movement and fluidity as it seemed to be a natural tendency of clay to curve and bend.

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Below is a second clay object where the focus was on simplicity. Above is a poster we did regarding the idea behind our tile. Mine was movement so waves portrayed it well.

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Project IV

The following are photographs I took of a clay model I made. The purpose of these photographs is to demonstrate a working knowledge of abstract photography within natural or manmade settings. Most of the photographs were taken in common settings.

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Abstract Composition

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Project V


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Platonic Solids

We started learning about the platonic solids which form the foundation for all shapes. Our assignment was to create the solids from chipboard. Each edge had to be 2”. This was difficult because we had to account for the thickness of the chipboard.

Our abstract cube assignment was to force us to think of structure and space differently.

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Project VI


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For this project we had to explore the different dimensions of space, such as the x, y and z planes. We were given bamboo skewers and no glue was allowed. I placed my origin in the center because i felt that would give it the most balance.

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After making my object I made an interpretive sketch of it.

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Project VII


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Interactive Toy

After exploring the x, y and z planes our next project was to create an interactive toy that consisted of those planes. I struggled with an idea for days, and after coming up with unsuccessful ideas I decided to go back on previous works for inspiration. After much thought I discovered that the octahedron, if rearranged, can form two tetrahedrons. This became the basis for my object.

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Interactive Toy

Each side is 6” long with eye screws holding the rods in place.

The completed octahedron made from wood and metal rods held together by nuts and bolts.

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Interactive Toy

Besides breaking into two tetrahedrons the octahedron can form many other shapes.

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Interactive Toy

Sketches of the toy

Computer models created using Sketch Up

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Project VIII


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For this project our assignment was to make a poster representation of our interactive toy. The poster composition had to show interaction and had to portray the idea behind the toy. It could not be a literal translation. What I noticed about my object was how the planes interacted. I wanted to portray that so I drew two planes crossing each on a axis, which on my toy represented an edge.

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I was unsure of how I wanted to color it so by recommendation I made some tests firsts.

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This was a second interpretation of my toy. I wanted to portray movement in this one. The bars going down represent that movement.

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Project IX


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Project X


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Pen & Marker

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Pen & Marker

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Project XI


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For this excercise we learned about shadows and creating them porportionally to the object rather than just simply coloring in a random dark spot.

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Akshay also mention that adding a dark background to the lighter shades make them stand out more.

We were taught how to draw the horizon lines and our light source to accurately measure the shadows.

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We also drew shadows for different objects such as this cylinder. This was more difficult as the ellipses were more challenging than simple squares.

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In addition with cylinders, we worked with cones. I did not find these as challengiing as the cylinders. I also learned that there is a slight reflection along the edge of the cone because it has a curved surface.

We were also encouraged to explore other shapes. I decided to combine a cone with a sphere to see if I can shade a more complex shape.

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At the beginning of this excercise I did not know how to find the shadow of a sphere but this excercise has taught me how to calculate it.

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Project XII


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For this assignment we were to work as a class to make a large composition of a light shining down on an object. Each person got a different cube on the grid and we had to all work together to figure out the same dimensions to use. It was hard because many people had differing ideas and this project showed us how important team work can be.

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Each person was given three strips of a piece of a photograph and we were to enlarge them porportionally. At the end of the project we put all of our images together to form a huge projection of the original photo. It was interesting to see how each person interpreted their strips differently and how each person shaded things differently.

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Project XIII


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Natural Pattern

Our assignment over the break was to analyze how our thinking has changed and any examples of that. In my letter to Akshay I wrote that I noticed how my thinking is different since I began paying more attention to structures on buildings and more detail to buildings at home that I had never noticed before this year. It really surprised me at first but I am glad that I see things differently. In particular, when I was walking past a patio table on a rainy day in an outside plaza, I stopped. What I saw on the table captured my attention. The rain had formed water puddles and droplets on the table that was quite interesting in pattern. I pointed it out to my friend who was with me and she did not think the same, and at that point I realized that my thinking has changed. For this composition I derived two words from my experience over winter break: natural pattern. At first my instinct was to go with plant leaves or something off of that, but then the assignment was not suppose to be a literal translation. I began working with curves and organic shapes and I came up with a topographic-like composition. The gradation of color also gives it a tunnel-like look.

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Natural Pattern

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Project XIV


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For this collage, I wanted to portray depth and perspective, so I used pictures that had lines so that they can converge and create a focal point. I also wanted to give the collage a scenic feel, like something you’d see in a landscape portrait, so I went for trees and mountains. I like how the people in the picture provide a sense of direction for the collage, leading the viewer’s eye towards the focal point.

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Project XV


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This was one of my first experiences with plaster. It was very difficult at first to get the consistency of the mix right and work quick enought so that it doesn’t harden on you too quickly. Another limit I had was that there was no turning back once the plaster thickened, and that adding water did nothing to stop it. I thought this was interesting as it forced me to actually work within the time limits and push myself. Plaster cannot form a shape and structure on its own; it takes on whatever quality of the material you are using it with. For this particular piece of plaster, I used burlap and a triangular piece of cardboard. I wanted to see if I could get the plaster and burlap to hold the piece of cardboard upright. It was difficult to get the shape to stand when it was wet, but once dried, the object held its shape very well.

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For this next piece, I was exploring strength and dexterity of plaster forms. Again, I used burlap. This time, I wanted to create something that had volume, similar to that of a tunnel. I wrapped the burlap dipped in plaster around itself but found that it was difficult to get it to stay in a cylindrical shape, so I propped up the ends with two cardboard toilet papers rolls. It held the burlap up, creating a space between the two ends and an organic curvature shape, which I thought was interesting.

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Project XVI


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Project XVII


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Screen Printing

I had never worked with screen printing before, so I was very excited. At the same time, I knew nothing about the screen printing process, and all I knew about scren printing was that they use it to make shirts. The first part of this group project was to figure out a design. up with the slogan and I decided that the words should look like glue to fit with the theme. Ash did the cut out part, and I did ing. It was nice to be able to work as a group and come together with kyle cam squirts of the tracour ideas.

The most challenging aspect was getting the hang of screen printing, especially lining up all the words and pictures so that the match. There were many steps and it was not something that we could rush on. Adding the paint was by far the most nerve racking experience because if we mess up there was no turning back. Screen printing also taught me that little mistakes are okay, and as long as you play it off like it was intentional, people won’t notice.

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