‘Drawing Ideas’ Is a Primer for Thinking

It’s a book whose time has come.

A series of standing-room only workshops on drawing by hand has led to a new and thorough, 304-page tome on the topic.

Mark Baskinger, a professor of industrial design at Carnegie Mellon, and Will Bardel, an information design consultant, have published Drawing Ideas to bridge a number of knowledge bases out in the marketplace.

Some books teach how to draw but aren’t suited to design, while others teach design and communications but don’t offer the fundamentals for drawing. Baskinger and Bardell teach both – and with the new book, they want to broaden their audience.

“We wanted to hone the skill level from the beginner to the expert, so anybody could come to it and get something out of it,” Bardel says.

“We have a mutual interest in drawing as a means of communication, and as part of the design process,” Baskinger adds. “There’s a need for this knowledge – it’s an important message because drawing is important.”

Computer software, they say, offers a toolbox that someone else created, while Drawing Ideas reminds its readers that drawing is a fundamental skill that belongs to the owner.

“It’s portable – you can take it anywhere, and it’s easy to use,” Bardel says about the hand sketch. “We learned through our workshops there’s a real interest in this knowledge base, one that’s almost lost. People are realizing it’s an important skill to have for architects, product designers and industrial designers.”

Students emerging from design programs at schools and universities are rarely equipped today with the ability to draw, where once it was de rigueur. One of the results is that they don’t have skillsets needed to think creatively and find solutions that respond to what their audiences demand.

“It’s expected both in industry and in upper level studios,” Baskinger says. “So we’ve cast a wide net for designers everywhere, whether in academia or the profession.”

With any luck, there’ll be more to come on the topic, soon enough.

The book features more than 200 drawings, and an easy-to-understand text. It’s published by Watson Guptill Publications.

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Reprinted with permission from Drawing Ideas by Mark Baskinger and William Bardel, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Watson-Guptill, a division of Random House, Inc.