This class was a surprise to me as we were told that we will be painting a wall. Painting? Very unexpected. I was so excited to know what it was that we were going to paint wanted to get started straight away. However, this was a slow process, where we first were put in groups. In these groups, we proposed different ideas for the mural and selected which one turned out the best. We then showed these to the professors to get their feedback on our designs.
To me, this process was very helpful as I was not having any great ideas. So what I did first was I looked at all the patterns that I had made previously in this class and the other classes. Some were interesting to me but most of them were not. To help me with this, I asked my group mates to choose the ones they liked the most.
They all chose these two designs and thought they were unique and very interesting. I personally really liked the first one because of its simplicity and Symbol-like design. however, the second one looked way more complicated and disturbing to me. As far as I remember, this was created by mistake which my Professor calls as “Happy accidents”.
Ebi, one of my group members, wanted to work with the first one so I sent the file to her. I thought of playing with the one I did not like and see if I could make it something more interesting. Everyone shared their designs through a shared folder online. By this, we could play with what others have created. I enjoyed this idea very much because sometimes working with your own work can be quite boring.
These were the results:
This was a very interesting design that she came up with. It was actually two different designs and we discovered that when they are put together one below the other, they give an illusion effect which looked super interesting.
All of us decided that the dominoes pattern was something we wanted to do. So we started sketching our idea.
After gathering all the work from our group, we went to the professors to get feedback. They really liked the dominoes design and and told us to move forward with it. We had to present three of our proposals to the class and we chose the dominoes design, Latifa’s design with her scans and a design which was a combination of mine and Samia’s work. After the presentation with the class, everyone chose the domino pattern so we went with it.
These were some extra patterns that we made
Next class, we started to think of how we will draw the pattern. We had two options. First was to project our design using the projector and the second option was to measure all the lengths of the dominoes as well as the gaps between them and the borders to give us an accurate measurement of the design. We chose the second option as we had only one projector and 6 other groups waiting for it. I think this was a very smart decision taken by our group which saved time and was turning out to be more precise.
Latifa and I started to take the measurements from the illustrator file and sketched it out. This helped us a lot in understanding our design.
This took us a while to figure out as we had to consider the large scale of the wall as compared to the tiny size of the screen that we were working on. After figuring out the exact dimensions, we finally started taping the wall. We found taping the easiest and quickest method as compared to stencilling which was the other option.
We faced other problems when we started taping. We realized that some of us where not using the exact measurements which resulted in inaccuracy of the lines. As a result of that we had to redo a lot of the taping.
Painting didn’t take us that long as everyone loves painting and so everyone equally contributed to it. Things we had to make sure of when we painted were:
- removing any air bubbles under the tape
- painting in thin layers
- covering the dots on the mural
This is our final result after taping and we were proud very proud of the result. The only thing left was to remove the tape and we were all ready for it-until our professors gave a twist. The twist was to add COLOR! This changed our intention of removing the tape and we started thinking of were and which color do we add. We had some great ideas but most of them did not seem to go with the idea of dominoes. I felt like we needed simpler colors and something very subtle to go with idea of the simple dominoes effect we had on the wall.
Some of our ideas were:
- a maze which would fit in the negative spaces of the dominoes
- A gradient effect
- random colored dominoes
We were still not happy with our ideas and even the professors didn’t agree with our proposals. That’s when we got help from the professor with an idea of the music equalizer design. My glasses had a similar design which my professor showed to me as reference to what he was trying to say.
We kept the design and the colors simple and proposed our final design. Our professors approved the design and next class we will begin to add the color.
In the next class, we added more tape to help us add color. Ebi colored the ball, but it was not perfect the first time so she repainted it a couple of times. In the end we decided we will make a stencil of the ball and then paint. This would allow us to get a smooth textures on the ball.
After painting in all the blue, I noticed other people taking off their tapes and then realizing their mistakes of using a lot of paint. When we painted ours, we were very careful at first, but later we began to do it faster, putting blobs of paint at a time. This made me very nervous about how it would turn out when we remove the tape. We asked our professor, she said let’s try removing one of them, and if that one is perfect, chances are the other ones will also be the same.
The one she removed turned out perfect and we couldn’t wait to remove all the tape to see how it all actually looks.
ADD–––––our team– by this point had all got distracted from the mural and no one cared about finishing it any longer. We asked Samia to paint the circle but she wasn’t able to get the perfect circle. In the end I decided I will do the circle and paint on the wall.
Next, we started by illustrating tiny objects and making our own Avatar.
I was surprised at how fast I completed 4 illustrations and even loved how they turned out. I had never illustrated objects realistically in a digital way. So this was a new learning experience for me.
Making my own avatar was also very interesting. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it literal, but I then thought I would improve it later on so I just did an illustration of my self with my veil.
What have I learned so far?
Before coming to VCU Qatar, Design technology was a subject which I had known as something where you design 3D spaces. Knowing that I had this subject was part of my Graphic design course I was confused about what it will be about. As we were introduced to the course, I was very excited about its content, which was very open and sounded like a lot of fun.
The first project that we did involved using a scanner in a way I had never even thought of. I knew there would be many things that I would learn in this class and so always looked forward for Sunday!
In just two weeks, I learned so much of illustrator from the projects that we were asked to do. The projects were very simple and open and let us explore illustrator in whatever way we want. It helped me to get faster at illustrator with using simple tools, which will be a very useful skill to have during the future projects.
Exploring simple shapes and creating others from those shapes helped me understand how even a simple shape can be used to create complex and interesting looking shapes.
A new word that I came across during a class discussion was the word Iteration. This means that we keep creating new shapes from one basic shape in the beginning. This gives different results every time and gives a variety of shapes and forms to choose from.
Black objects. For the second class, we started by bring black objects and markers for a new technique of scanning that we learned. This method was called drag and scan and it basically meant we had to drag along with the scan.
To start with, we wrote our names on paper in different styles and media. I wrote my different languages; Arabic, Hindi and English.
These were some of the scans that I made. They were super interesting and I had a lot of fun doing it. These scans where due in two hours before the afternoon class. At first I was stressed about the amount of scans-30, which I thought was too much for a start. As I have never used this technique before, it seemed difficult in the beginning. However, I was wrong. I had so much fun doing it, I did not realize when I completed 30.
Next, we used these scans to create patterns on illustrator using effects such as transform, zigzag etc.
Some critique that I received was that I had a lot of rotation effects as you can see from the images. When I had done them, I did not think that it was a bad thing to have. I was actually quite proud of what I created. However, a lot of people thought it was repetitive and I needed to try different effects and techniques.
We did a total of 100 patterns which I can say was exciting at the beginning, but as I progressed, I was running out of ideas and kept using the same methods again and again. Some I believe, came out really well and those ones where the ones I tried to do something different. They are blurred one and also the simple ones which did not involve any effects.
For the next class, we were asked to create two grids, with shapes like circles, triangles and squares and had to make iterations of the shapes. One grid would have effects and the other one was without effects, with limitations like only using three shapes, not transparency and no transforming. How I interpreted this assignment was that I thought we have to make better shapes each time we progress. So, I made more and more complex shapes by the time I reached the end. What we were required to do was actually making ‘iterations’, which meant that we went back to the original shape each time and make slight changes to the shape. This would lead to various different versions of the original shape. This was something many logo designers would use to finalize a specific logo.
These were some interesting shapes that I came up with: