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Entries in KLC School of Design (4)


A 1930's Loft Apartment Project - Part One

I figured it's about time I shared with you the project I've been nose down in for the last few weeks.  Not just because I think you'd be genuinely interested but also because this week I've done a bit too much pontificating on certain aspects of it and I'm hoping that by putting my work out there as it presently stands all unfinished, you will encourage me to crack on.

So the project starts like this.  After taking details from the assumed client on their likes/dislikes and their lifestyle, plus a run down of the structure of the property and what can and cannot be changed or removed, the first step is a concept from which to build a coherent design around - a chosen set of adjectives and images - Contemporary, Relaxed, Stylish, Urban.

This concept is for the main living area and the colours in the images dictate the overall colour scheme.

I have started a Reflective Journal to jot down all thought processes, collect inspirational images and sketch out ideas.  This bit is vital to the project submission as we must illustrate how scheme ideas have been taken from an initial piece of inspiration, worked on and expanded into a fully workable plan, design or item.  It's a ace exercise in emptying the mind that's brimming over with ideas and getting some clarity on the ones that will and won't work.  I have found that in the majority of instances, particularly with regard to kitchen designs and the overall layout of the apartment, my initial idea has evolved and been overridden with a much better plan.  Deciding on the smallest details of the kitchen design is proving to be a time consuming challenge but as they say 'the devil is in the detail'.  And I haven't quite nailed it yet.

After selecting some furniture for the main living area, I went off to see a fabric supplier (the laborious tasks must always be offset with some fun, tactile and exciting stuff, right?) and spent 45 mins choosing from their huge selection of luxury fabrics.  I've got to get some texture into this open plan apartment to layer and cosy up the scheme as there are quite a number of sleek, shiny, hard surfaces planned.

But oh boy is this project tough going, it's here to test me, my knowledge and capabilities to the limits. It's all-consuming and it's taking my full attention, that's why I've hardly come up for air in recent weeks. I suppose I'm just a quarter of the way through, still on the planning part of the project and there's a number of sample boards and rendered plans and elevations and a client presentation to do yet. There's an immense amount of effort involved in designing a property from scratch and I'm learning and honing skills every day.  Phew!


The one where I didn't draw any shops

My mind and body have been knee deep in coursework for the last week, so forgive me friends for not spending as much time here or anywhere else online.  You'll probably remember me setting myself the challenge of getting my Diploma finished by the end of this year (it's here if you want the reminder) so at times when huge waves of positivity and motivation arrive, it's crucial to take action!

There's another huge motivator too, a pretty powerful one to be fair.  When I see my fellow students and great friends producing top notch, fabulous coursework and progressing so well, it really really spurs me on to try and produce something as wonderful as their creations.  In addition, and I'm being totally honest here, I don't want to get left behind either. The risk that my peers will reach the finish line without me, and I lose out on the incredible support network we've built as a result of being on the same journey at the exact same time is a scary and depressing thought.

I'd like to thank Annie in particular for being a massive support.  We are ploughing through at the same stage of our studies and she is always there to happily offer her advice and expertise when I need it.  We seem to winge and moan to each other about drawing and rendering a-l-o-t, and that's when we are not venting our frustrations about the lack of time we have to nail our studies when we are juggling all our other regular commitments.  I'm so glad we have each other, we have become great friends and I look forward to reaching the finish line together. Yes, we will have an almighty shindig to celebrate.

So Annie, in honour of your recent shops project and post, I've called this post The One Where I Didn't Draw Any Shops, and it is just for you ;-) 

In case you were wondering folks, I'm on a slightly different version of the curriculum and oh so thankfully (because my rendering and perspective drawing is not very good), I wasn't required to draw any shops!

So after resting my poor blistered fingers from cutting vinyl flooring and teeny weeny pieces of card, I'm on to the next project this week - sourcing accessories for a retirement home, starter home and Executive apartment. Watch this space...



Drawing and inking domestic circuit plans

It's been a productive week on the coursework front. I'm keeping to my self-imposed rule of 'doing', but then it's been just 12 days since I set this goal so I'd be pretty lame if I had fallen off the wagon already.

Part of the KLC project I'm currently working on involves drawing plans and explaining the workings of all the services in my home.  Pipe and cable runs for the central heating, electricity, gas services and water, including explanations of how they come into the home and are distributed throughout the house.  This seemed fairly straight forward initially, but as an example, when you actually get into the nitty gritty of how a boiler and water cylinder and associated equipment is plumbed into a set of pipes that snake around a home to make a fully functioning system, it starts to get pretty confusing and mind numbing.  Once you've understood how it works, you've got to explain, draw and present it.  When you've got the ground floor nailed, there's a huge sigh of relief until you remember that there's the 1st floor plan to do aswell.

Now there's an element of guess work when drawing the plans up. As I was not around in 1927 when my home was built, I was having to get down on all fours, feeling the heat from the pipework under the floorboards to try and understand how they were laid.  The extension of the house is a much easier task, it is underfloor heating and only installed 3 years ago.  We project managed the building of the extension and the house renovation so I still have an understanding and vivid memories of this part of the project, the entire ground floor was laid just 2 weeks before Christmas (with 12 people to cook for, we must have been bloody mad).

So I'm planning on having the electricity circuit plans finished today.  I've done the mains circuit, I now need to complete the lighting circuit.

I've learned with experience now that these projects take longer than one initially estimates. I planned to have this interior construction booklet finished by 24th March, and a month later, I believe I've got another full (24/7) week of work to complete it.  I think it pays to take as much time as you need, as long as you are progressing even in small steps, as the presentation is as important as the facts.

And on the subject of 'doing', another of my goals was to design network more this year and I'm really looking forward to catching up with Annie and meeting Tina tomorrow, as well as a bunch of other likeminded ladies.

Have a lovely weekend folks. What are you up to ?



Attempting to draw on the right side of the brain

For those of you that, like me, freak at the thought of having to put a pencil in ones hand and draw somebody, something, anything and have it turn out pretty much exactly how it looks in real life must read on, as you are about to have an epiphany.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards is a book that is on my KLC studies recommended list.  And I'm very pleased it is otherwise I don't think I'd have bothered to try and improve on my pre-schoolesque daubing outside of my diploma.

When I saw the KLC Interior Design curriculum and it clearly mentioned the need to be able to relay a design idea or item in pictoral form and that filling a sketchbook of my own drawings must be submitted with coursework, I panicked first, then got myself on KLC's Kickstarting Your Studies workshop.  I hated Art at school (touching the rough paper would give me goose bumps) so I'm not exaggerating when I say that I felt really tense about the prospect of drawing and that surely cannot be condusive to producing or improving on my current poor ability.  I still find it vexing, but it has got much easier since using this book.

Anyway, Betty's book is a marvel.

Her teaching style is based on medical research of the brain (she is a professor of art, education and psychology of perception at California State University, Long Beach), therefore you'd expect the book to be technical, formal and possibly tough to follow but no. It is full of practical, easy to follow exercises, laid out in simple and appealing terms, no wonder it's made her so popular and a life saver for us artistic dimwits.  The premise of this book is about understanding how our minds work and what our perception of everyday things is.  A lot of how we view things has been learned since we were young and therefore our brains automatically see them as we have learned and not necessarily how they actually exist.

You see, according to Betty, the skill of drawing needs only five basic component skills.  These are NOT drawing skills, they are perceptual skills:

The perception of edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows and the perception of the whole.

To take advantage and to use these skills, you need to access the right side of your brain. The left side is your verbal and rational brain, it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words.  Aparently we don't want to use the L-side, we have to turn this OFF.  The R-side is our non-verbal and intuitive brain and it thinks in patterns or pictures, composed of 'whole things', that's what we need to tap into and use.

In the process of learning to draw, we have to also learn to control which part of our brain handles the information.  We need to process it with R mode, not L mode.  Are you still keeping up ?!!

So the book takes you through various practical exercises, starting small and simple through to the point where you will have accomplished a masterpiece of a portrait, a la Rembrandt.  Initially you are instructed to draw a self portrait, then squirrel it away until you complete the book and then draw another with your newly acquired skills, then of course compare the two.

I haven't ever finished the book.  It's so brilliant, not just from a drawing perspective but from an understanding of how our minds work perspective too.  Now I see why artists do what they do so well, they use their R-mode brain far more effectively than the rest of us, but the cool thing is, we can all learn to use it, and the best of us will use both L and R modes to their maximum.

I've got just half way through the book and been able to produce some really pleasing drawings.  Perhaps I'll go revisit some time. At the risk of you all cracking up laughing, here's a selection of my efforts, hopefully I don't need to point out the start of the sequence. What's more, the armoured horseman was drawn upside down.

Do you all enjoy drawing and how good are your skills ?

Here is Pablo Picasso's drawing of Igor Stravinsky 

I'm really rather proud of this...