CAD tools get a lot of heat from the seasoned professionals. Now I’m not one to knock a good immersive brainstorming sketch session for dumping out your first seeds of ideas, but the pencil is tool just like any other, and it has its limits. For one, I think its strength is also its weakness: it is a direct conduit of line to a page. Notice I wrote line and not shape. Now Illustrator? That’s not direct shape to page, but it is close. Further, it is also line to page, color to page, and to a certain extent, pattern to page.
I’m moving forward bringing my cloudy concepts from the sketchbook to the computer. It’s a dreaded step in my process because in the sketchbook the ideas still have their merit, but seeing them in a polished form sometimes destroys their romance. But then, maybe the sketching isn’t over. Here I go, tracing some letterforms into Illustrator so I can refine their edges and attempt to see how the curves add together…and an unfinished S in “stuff” turns into a lovely little creature. I don’t know why I call them creatures, maybe because they are half letterforms and just half shapes. But their strangeness, their limbs and unfinished squiggles remind me of things more organic and less refined like a character would be. The tail on the S is chameleon like, it’s sharp like a thorn, but not really a great letterform. And before I finish the stroke of the S, I like it blocked out like that—I enjoy it as a filled-in top heavy beast of a letter, and best of all, you can still see an S in it. But who cares? If the form fits the concept for Hot Stuff, legibility and integrity of letterform can be sacrificed. I might be drawing the line a little biased on personal taste…but that’s why this is my blog. I just know the folks at Hot Stuff, churning their mustard seeds, harvesting their wasabi in their beekeeper suits are going to love it.
So here are a few snapshots of my workspace while I brainstorm from sketchbook to CAD programs.