Going back for ID Degree, where to start?

Forgive me for not searching first (the cardinal forum sin, I know, but all newbs should get one as a Mulligen) but since my background is probably unlike most others here goes…

I’m 28 and without any educational background in design. Recently I decided to pursue the opportunity for a Bachelor’s in ID. Still working on the when/where/how, and of course, the money, but I believe those questions will all be resolved in due time. What I’m currently looking for is what might be a good place to start getting ramped up before diving in head first when back at school. I’ve been told by a good source that freehand sketching is the essential skill to master, and immediately bought the book Conceptual Drawing, and have been doing some pencil sketching, practicing when I can.

That said, does anyone else have any recommendations for what supplies I should start picking up, such as would it be better for me to invest in some markers or other medium or does it really just come down to preference (or school)? While Core77 (or maybe it was Coroflot, I can’t recall) had a list of books, are there any that someone would strongly recommend for a rather novice drawer?

Any and all help, suggestions, feedback and encouragement are greatly appreciated. While this is my first post I hope in time to become an active contributor. For anyone that is curious as to my (one of many, many) reasons I decided to pursue this is that I’ve been designing in SolidWorks for about 6 years now, and would say I’m pretty good at it (Certified Professional, Support Technician and Instructor). So if anyone has SolidWorks related questions, design or otherwise, fire away.

If you are located around/near Pasadena, check out Art Center’s At Night courses. If you are really serious about it, I’d recommend taking Tony Yao’s courses in drawing.

IDsketching.com is a great place to start. Markers are a definite yes. Don’t invest a lot in it though as you should get your pencil/pen sketching down first. Maybe a Grey set (i.e. Copic cool grey 10, 30, 50, 70, 90 will run you about 25 bucks. prismas same set will run you about 15 bucks. buy it individually) and a color accent or two (your own preference, I’d recommend prisma carmine red or lime peel.)

Start keeping a sketchbook, and draw one page a day (or more). Master straight lines (draw a dot, and quickly lay in a line from somewhere to the dot, many times), committing a line (draw a line lightly a few times and commit to it by going over it a few times, making sure you end up with a single line, not a hairy mess), curved lines (draw from your elbow, using your arm as a hinge), ellipses (this is an ongoing mastery thing… will probably take you many many months, if not years to master) cubes, cylinders, cones, spheres. Then go on to practicing shading them, study value, etc.

Thanks for the feedback. I’m actually on the other coast, and looking into taking a drawing class near the Baltimore/DC area over the summer. Definitely going to pickup the marker set, seeing as I have a coupon for 40% at Michaels this week. Lines, check, power stroke curves, check. Ellipses… Yeah, those are gonna take some practice. They are oh-so-easy to make in SolidWorks, but much more impressive when you can freehand one on a bar napkin.

If you are going to take drawing classes in the DC Maryland area, let me make some suggestions:

  1. Montgomery College in Tacama Park has great art offerings. They have open live drawing each weekend.

  2. MICA in Baltimore has a great reputation for art and drawing.

  3. Corcoran School of art has a good summer program in art.

Awesome. Looks like I’ve got some calls/emails to make. Thanks!

IMO there’s no real substitute in learning ID than going to an ID program. You can do the foundation stuff in other schools (drawing, art history, etc) before transferring since most likely you’ll be doing that on the 1st year. But I’d highly suggest moving and going to a school with an ID program. I was 29 when I did it, and I don’t feel out of place.

I’m originally from Baltimore so I know a lot of people from MICA. They have a new environmental design program but I think it’s more sculpture oriented, though they have a furniture design class. Towson used to have a sculpture + “ID program” (not a full ID program) that was sponsored by Black&Decker, but they stopped doing it 4 years ago. Baltimore’s a GREAT town for the local art scene, but not a great town to learn ID.

If you want to save money go to Catonsville Community College (or another local college with good transferable art credits) and do the 1st year there. Or better to do your 1st year in the ID program school as there maybe design-oriented intro classes you can take in your foundation/1st year instead of fine-arts intro classes.

Looking for drawing classes around Baltimore/DC may get you some good general practice, and the list provided by taxguy is certainly a fine one, but you really want to be focusing on different things than you’re going to get in an average drawing class, which will typically revolve around drawing from life. It’s going to be hard to find something in MD that will be anywhere near ID drawing (I grew up there.)

Drawing in ID is about taking your memory of all of your vast experiences and using those influences and inspiration to make a drawing from your imagination. It’s a markedly different process. You need to take what tangerine said and do that stuff til your arm falls off and start to use those simple exercises as blocks to build complex forms from your imagination. Feeling comfortable making something up on paper, in a snap, and making it clear what your intent is, is the big challenge. If you can start to be able to do that, you’re on your way.

So, just draw things, and draw them until they look good. Start with boxes and cylinders and, once you’re comfortable with those, start working in other shapes and amorphous transitions. Work on making your drawings jump off the page… visible from 6-8 feet away. There’s a lot to do, but having solid drawing skills will make things a lot easier for you.

Markers can wait for sure though. They can be distracting in the beginning and, more and more, coloring will be done digitally.

Good luck

Although the schools that I mentioned above have great reputations for art and drawing, there really isn’t a good program in Maryland or even DC that has ID,which is a shame.

Towson University has an art program. However, from what I have heard, most kids don’t think it is a good program. Thus, I would stay away from there.

VCU in Virginia has a strong art and design program that should also be checked out.

Frankly, although I don’t see any harm in your taking art courses and courses in sketching at the schools that I noted above, you might be better served going to a school with a strong ID program. First, they would have courses more geared to ID skills. Secondly, if you do a good job, you might make some good enough contacts to get you admitted to that school.



Just some additional thoughts to think about.

Also some ID programs are easier to get accepted if you start from their foundation year than transferring over from 2nd year

Thanks again to everyone for the feedback. I have a conversation tomorrow with the chairman of the program I’m looking into so we’ll see how that goes. Been sketching a lot, reading design books and just browsing the portfolios on Coroflot for inspiration. Also going for the Surfacing specialty of my CSWP next week. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

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