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Learning to Draw for a Future as a Graphic Designer

By Jon, published on 22/03/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Arts and Hobbies > Drawing > Learn to Draw for a Career in Graphic Design

Are you intent on a career where you can make full use of your creativity?

Could your ability to draw lead to a satisfying and rewarding profession?

By developing your drawing skills, you may find many doors open to you in the world of graphic design.

Before you start banking those fat paychecks, you will need expanded education in drawing art.

With this article, we hope to point you in the right direction.

The graphic designer is a professional artist who works with a well-developed aesthetic sense, complemented by solid technical knowledge of drawing and painting.

Technical know-how?

Generally, when one discusses pen and ink drawing, pencil and paper drawing, charcoal drawing or drawing in any type of medium, drawing technique is invoked, rather than technical knowledge.

Unless you are talking about graphic art.

Let us find out now what this job entails and how you could train for it.

How could a talent for drawing not be enough to work as an artist?

We’ll answer that question, and discover everything you ever wanted to know about the profession vaguely labeled graphic designer.

This is the type of advert that graphic designers create, this time of year Graphic designers are busy throughout the year. Photo via Visualhunt

What Type of Work Does a Graphic Designer Do?

So you know how to draw: wonderful! What can you draw a picture of?

Can you draw a cat? Draw a still life? Manga? A chibi?

Can you draw a tree? A human face? The human form?

Have you mastered the skill of blind contour drawing?

Yes, yes, yes to all! you reply, maybe a touch impatiently, as you twiddle your stylus over your graphics pad.

You are so ready to move on! To take that next step! To become…

A graphic designer is a communications professional whose job it is to give visual identity to all types of documents.

In practice, the graphic designer works on:

  • images of all types, not only photos or digital painting
  • Pictures – family portrait, pencil portraits, all manner of portraiture, as well as other photos
  • color definition; sharpening lines and contrast between colours
  • Typeface: font settings and adjustment
  • Simple shapes, coalescing them to create a coherent whole.

Sounds like we’re casting a wide net, doesn’t it?

In spite of the far-reaching realm of the graphic designer, s/he operates under specific guidelines.

As such an artist, you might be tasked with enhancing and fine-tuning a proposed concept to create a brand-specific image, logo, poster, flier; or design fine art for packaging.

The graphic designer works on all types of print media, but also creates online art for the world wide web.

Designing banners, callouts and adverts; s/he could even be credited with designing and creating the layout of entire sites!

With the year’s peak shopping season currently at hand, you’d better believe that such artists are working double and triple time to make sure their clients secure the lion’s share of this year’s holiday spending!

If you are planning your future around this type of lucrative engagement, here is what you will have to be capable of:

  • Working under/against a deadline
  • Managing stress and pressure from client (or supervisor) demands
  • Working on a team, with other artists
  • Be willing to scrap all of the work you’ve done and start anew, if your customer so wills it.

That makes your glorious future career as a graphic designer sound like any other job, doesn’t it?

The field of graphic design is as yet undefined; limitless in creative and earning potential.

What that means is that the profession is constantly evolving.

Doesn’t that make it sound more exciting?

And, graphic design is not the only career field you can ply your figure drawing in.

Cross over to the exciting world of graphic design! Your path to a career as a graphics designer starts in art school Source: Pixabay Credit: LarisaK

The Path to a Career in Graphic Design

Why would anyone learning how to draw want to do so on a computer?

The benefits of drawing in achieving a meditative state are well known – the feel of charcoal on your hand, the smell of oil pastels and pencil shavings; the warm reassurance of a sketchpad across your knee: aren’t these expressive of the artist’s milieu? 

Not necessarily, although your drawing lessons will most likely require you to work with those drawing materials, at the outset.

Every idea the contemporary artist embraces as his next subject begins its journey to realisation with a pencil sketch: an unformed idea thrown on paper through a series of random strokes of the pencil.

We’ll bet you have filled a sketchbook or two!

From there, your work turns into a powerful message, whether for advertising, brand recognition, entertainment or any other objective.

That is why it is vital to know how to draw well by hand, and ply your skill through digital drawing, too.

To do so effectively, you would need to have:

  • intimate knowledge of colour and what each shade symbolises
    • for example: pink for girls, blue for boys, red for passion
  • a sense of balance in art; of proportion and aesthetics
  • ideas for the effective use of space
    • even negative space
  • a way to achieve textures, for example: through cross hatching or shading.

The best graphic designers master these fundamentals of art drawing and more, which gives them the artistic intuition to render exactly what their client is looking for.

Often, the most successful artists outdo their clients’ expectations.

With proper training as an artist, you could be one of them!

Because the profession of graphic design is constantly changing, breaking new ground in visual feasts and treats, the field has been cited as one of the most exciting to work in, in this new millennium.

And, because the career field is so hot, new drawing tools to render this cutting edge of art are invented and designed every day.

Maybe that could be a career field for you! 

If you’re searching for art classes in the UK be sure to check out Superprof for drawing lessons London to Edinburgh and in between.

Taking a Step Back in Time

To get a proper perspective on how far-reaching the scope of graphic design is today, we have to go back in time, just a bit.

The term graphics, as applied to layout and typography, only came into being in the last sixty years, give or take.

In reference to computers, the word became relevant in 1966.

The use of visual communication predates its label by about one hundred years.

The use of graphic art developed apace with the notion of consumer society.

Advertisement was, in its infancy, mostly pictorial in nature; to appeal even to those who were not privileged to have learned how to read.

To continue that trend, and in addition to adverts, cartoons and caricatures started appearing in newspapers around the middle of the nineteenth century.

The practice expanded – and the art styles evolved in the early twentieth century, with the appearance of advertising posters, some of which are now considered works of art.

Surely you know of Toulouse-Lautrec posters? At least the Moulin Rouge one?

It was after the second World War that advertising, a visual feast, exploded!

Economies were desperate to recover from devastation, and people were hungry for beauty and novelty.

Ad agencies delivered.

Full page spreads hawking the latest kitchen appliance or household convenience. For the gentlemen: how about a sleek new car?

Rosy-cheeked children spooned pudding into their cartoon faces while doting parents looked on…

For decades, not much changed, other than the themes of the renderings: women were buying cars more, and working in offices.

For that, entire wardrobes were drawn and marketed.

And then, along came the computer; a more advanced way of rendering, and graphic design would never be the same.

Neither would advertising.

Learn to render pencil sketches on your computer With training as a graphic designer, you too could render pencil sketches digitally Source: Pixabay Credit: Ptra

The New Frontier for Graphic Design

For today’s graphic designer, whether in advertising, web page design or in the exciting and stimulating industry of vector graphics for gaming, the sky is the limit.

Software applications from Adobe, Quark and Corel permit graphic designers to reach new dimensions; far beyond the limited perspective drawing required of the illustrator of the past.

The Wacom Tablet and other computer drawing equipment have mostly replaced traditional pencil and paper drawing, but the mechanics of basic drawing have not changed.

Why not discover how online drawing techniques can help you refine your sense of art?

The Proliferation of Graphic Design

According to the site Career Addicts, the world of graphic design is one of the most lucrative and diverse.

If you aim to work in any of the following fields, you too will enter that world to seek your fortune.

Here are some blatantly obvious, and some not-so-obvious career choices your love of step by step drawing could lead you to:

  • Advertising (of course!)
  • Television and cinema – special effects, cartoon and other animated features
  • Web design
  • Comic book artist
  • Manga artist
  • Video game designer
  • Product labeling
  • Decoration and furniture design
  • Architect

No matter where you look these days, computer generated imagery is everywhere.

Someone has to design it! Why not you?

A Word on Dimensions

Just now, anyone who can execute flawless 3 dimensional work is in high demand.

In fact, if you are any kind of gamer, that is the type of graphics you may wish to specialise in. It requires a good understanding of maths to draw in 3D.

However, we offer this caution: don’t forsake every other drawing course to settle on this particular field.

It would be far better – more valuable in the long run for you to learn the basics: still lifes and how to draw faces.

Once you have established yourself as a graphic designer of some renown, you can always transition into this field that, even as we write this, is in flux.

Or, you just might find that you prefer being a portrait artist!

What Training and Credentials are Required?

It would be nice if, like great masters of the past, you could land an exciting and lucrative position simply because you have nurtured artistic talent all of your life.

The fact is that graphic designers today must be highly educated to specialise in their field.

Fortunately, there are plenty of courses for you to certify your drawing skills.

Before you get to that level, you should take all drawing classes available to you, to learn:

  • sketching
  • one point perspective
  • how to draw people
    • how to draw hands, an eye, the hair
  • contour drawing
  • foreshortening
  • how to accurately draw animals

You will also need to experiment with various media: colored pencils, Conté crayons and pastel oils.

Do you know the difference in drawing with a charcoal pencil versus a graphite pencil? Under which condition would you use a kneaded eraser? What about a plain eraser?

It might seem unnecessary, as you envision three dimensional work in your future, still: remember what was said about the mechanics of drawing?

If you can render a life drawing realistically, using traditional art materials, you stand a much better chance at furthering your art education than if you merely draw cartoons or caricature.

If you know how to create sketches that leap off the page – or screen; if you have attended art school and know more than drawing basics, your skill and talent may be eagerly sought after.

Does the idea of becoming a graphic designer give you additional motivation to continue learning to draw?

In embracing these different, modern drawing techniques, you will be perfectly prepared for your future artistic assignments.

For you, who spend your days doodling and finding subjects that are fun to draw, what could be better?

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