sketching

Kickstarter | Penxo by john cheng

Recently I've returned to using 2mm mechanical pencils to get a more organic feel in my sketches. I love the sharp point of a 0.5 mm pencil, but it was just too rigid for me.

But me being me, I search near and far for the writing utensil best suited for me. This also means that form and function must be on the same level. In the case of my everyday carry pen, I searched for about 2 years before landing happily on the Karas Kustoms Retrakt with a Parker Pen fine ball point tip refill. The aesthetics of the pen are beautiful and the function of the Parker refill suit my writing and sketching needs perfectly.

I'm undergoing the same process at the moment with my pencil. Currently I'm using a Staedtler 2mm pencil and functionality wise, it works fine. The aesthetics portion however, are just so so in my opinion. But as always, Kickstarter seems to save the day. I discovered the Penxo today and immediately backed the project! It is such a beautiful and simple writing utensil an the perfect mix of beauty and utility. I just hope that when I receive my very own Penxo, it will hold up to it's presumed glory.

Aaron Draplin Designs a Logo by john cheng

Aaron Draplin of Field Notes was asked by Lynda.com to go through the process of designing a logo. I love his process because this is pretty much exactly how I work. I always encourage new up and coming designers to use pencil and paper rather than going directly into the computer and mocking things up.

Be sure to watch until the very end and get Draplin's bits of advice about freelancing.

Watch more like this at lynda.com/vimeo. Most logos aren't designed in fifteen minutes, but most designers aren't Aaron Draplin. Aaron's a Portland fixture by way of the Midwest, the owner of Draplin Design Co., and an advocate of "blue collar" design: design that works. Here he takes our logo design challenge, creating a dozen iterations of a logo for a fictional construction company. Not inspired? Just wait. Watch as he sketches, brings his ideas into Illustrator, and tests and tunes the different iterations. The logos Aaron creates prove design can elevate any company or brand. Along the way, he provides tips for freelancing, finding inspiration, and providing clients context for logos that won't just live in PDFs.

Back to the Basics by john cheng

Transient

I have been staring at my computer for far too long lately. From my day job designing to more designing after work at home. As a result of constantly using digital means to create work, my drawing hand has become rusty. Last night I picked up my brush again after a couple of weeks of not painting, and had a very frustrating non-productive evening.

What I sought to accomplish on my painting did not occur, but rather I made many bad marks that I now need to revisit and do over. What is the lesson learned from this? I need to draw more and physically render with my hands rather than constantly be stuck behind a screen.

The concept of physically creating with your own two hands is not new to me, but with the constant barrage of new technology being born, I find myself needing to be more intentional with doing more analog work. So in the case of drawing and painting, use it or you really might just lose it.

New goal: draw something everyday, even if its just a tiny doodle.