Archive for the 'Samantha Dooley' Category

Thesis #3 Revised

February 10, 2011


Design is meant to communicate a message. We as designers must solve the questions and problems that arise from this task. How best do we reach an audience? When we get their attention, what do we want them to know? What should they take away from the message when it is gone? In this modern period of speeding information and instant communication, a designer is further challenged to either slow people down or run fast enough to get a few steps ahead.  But is just spoon-feeding them the message enough? Should designers simply bow down before the power of popular demand, or should they aim to make the masses feel something along the way?

In our modern age, computers infiltrate most aspects of our lives. Design is no exception. While it would be impossible to completely remove the computer or a computer-like approach to design, it would be remiss to completely dismiss the hand-drawn approach as well. Milton Glaser, in his book Drawing is Thinking, says, “The computer does things that people may not be able to do, but at a price. There is something about the struggle and the energy used to make something that is being compromised…that is what we see in objects, the energy of the maker. It remains constant; the object may be valued, or not valued, but the energy is always there.”

I have always loved to draw and see how other designers incorporate their love for the hand-made with the demands of the industry.  While a photographic approach is no less valid, there is something incredibly interesting about a piece of work that has been created by the hand. It shows that someone put time and effort into their piece, and they want the viewer to take the same time, maybe even the same effort, to look at and understand it. Instead of the audience seeing a computer, they see a human being. Hand-drawn elements can stir all sorts of different emotions, otherwise missing in today’s design work. Drawing as a design solution is not a step backward, but a step forward.


Drawing evokes emotion, imagination, and intrigue, provoking people to actually feel something about the message they are receiving.


Design – make drawings,

Communicate – to impart knowledge of; make known

Quality – an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute; character or nature as belonging to or distinguishing a thing

Gesture – a movement or position that is expressive of an idea, opinion, emotion, etc.

Evoke – to call up or produce; to elicit or draw forth; to call up; cause to appear; to produce or suggest through artistry and imagination a vivid impression of reality

Humanistic – of or pertaining to human affairs, nature, welfare, or values

Hand-drawn – Drawn by hand with either pencil, pen, or charcoal


Milton Glaser (

Sara Neuhart (

Denise Van Leeuwen (

Erik Jones (


#1 = Draw for at least ten minutes a day. Interpret objects in different ways (traditionally, experimentally, abstraction). Switch between small formats and large formats.

#2 = Draw for at least twenty minutes a day. Begin to interpret more abstract things, such as emotions

#3 = Draw for at least thirty minutes a day. Begin to incorporate drawing into applications and see how people react. Switch between small formats and large formats.


Samantha Dooley

February 3, 2010

Update #3 – 1/27/2011


The word illustration brings to mind a variety of images, ranging from archaic cave paintings to the sentimental Norman Rockwell painting. As it is such a broad term with an equally broad definition, this comes as no surprise. However, when placing the term in context with that of graphic design, it can begin to be focused down towards a more streamlined concept. Design is meant to communicate a message, while illustration is meant to illuminate it. The definitions are similar; however, there is a difference. Communicating a message is not the same thing as illuminating it. To communicate is simply to express thoughts, feelings or information to another. To illuminate is to make lucid or clear that expression. Therefore, design and illustration have a very symbiotic relationship with one another.

In the past, traditional illustration was created without the aid of a computer. Artists utilized pencil, pen, charcoal, paint, collage, and many other techniques to create their work. With the advent of digital technology, traditional illustration experienced a steady decline in popularity. Despite popular belief, illustration is not dead, nor missing. Plenty of artists continued drawing, incorporating new artistic styles and the public demand for them into their work. Illustrators began to adapt to the changing markets and times. One of these adaptations was taking the simple pencil/ink/charcoal sketch and enhancing it with digital means. By doing so, illustrators were introduced to a whole new style and experience of creating. While some used the technology to make it seem as if they had never touched pencil to paper, others used it to enhance the gestural, hand-created quality of their work.

I am drawn more so to this approach than the former. This is not to say that I do not find digital work just as appealing or amazing. There are many digital paintings available that look as if they were created on a physical canvas. There is something captivating about an artwork that was imagined and executed by hand. However, when fused with digital media, the hand-drawn, gestural illustration transcends its initial intrigue and becomes something even more enthralling and provoking.


Hand-based illustration can be more effective at communicating a concept than a strictly digital approach, even more so when combined with the aforementioned.










Milton Glaser

Sara Neuhart

Denise Van Leeuwen

Matt Johnstone

Case Studies (at least 3)

Milton Glaser; Theatre for a New Audience commission

This series of posters created for Theatre for a New Audience features several different versions of William Shakespeare’s face. Each time his likeness is represented in a new way. However, all approaches are distinctly illustrative, with many emphasizing a hand-based medium. Each portrait evokes something new, whether it be through color or gestural quality, but a distinctly dramatic feeling remains.

Sara Neuhart; Yamato identity   

It seems many companies these days want the typical, clean vector image for their logo, something that can be scaled down or up easily, that presents a professional image, and is simple enough that the general public can understand and recognize it. Sara Neuhart, a designer who primarily uses hand-drawn illustrations in her work, created an illustrative identity for Yamamoto, a sushi restaurant in Encino, CA.  She combined a hand-drawn approach with digital media to create a minimal, yet emotive figure of a fish-seaweed hybrid.

Denise Van Leeuwen; CJP Campaign

Photography is the norm for many of us. If we want to view something, we Google pictures for it. Designers often utilize stock imagery in their work because its easier, people respond to it, and it doesn’t take as much work. Denise Van Leeuwen looks to photography for source material, but her campaign work for CJP blends an exaggerated pencil-sketch realism with digital media to evoke something a photo would be hard pressed to do. The result is something much more visually interesting than a stock image.  The viewer is intrigued as the quality of the work, the detail of the sketch, but also the subtle inclusions of digital technology to highly certain characteristics in the work.


Glaser, Milton. Drawing is Thinking. 1st ed. New York, NY: Overlook Duckworth, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc., 2008. Print.

Camara, Eva Minguet. Ultimate Illustration!. 1st ed. New York, NY: Monsa, 2008. Print.

Nicolas, Yaiza, Alessandro Zanchetta, and Andres Gonzalez Fernandez. The Sourcebook of Contemporary Illustration. 1st ed. Barcelona, Spain: maomao, 2009. Print.

Illustration as a Design Strategy

I am interested in the use of illustration as a method of design strategy. It is my observation that illustration is something of a black sheep of the arts family. Fine artists claim that illustration is a facet of design. Conversely, Graphic design insists that illustration remains part of the fine arts world. I believe that integrating traditional illustration with modern design can yield interesting, unexpected, and ultimately successful results. I have always been interested in doing work that involved illustration, either exclusively or combined with other methods of design. While reading The Education of an Illustrator by Steven Heller, I was introduced to illustrators who work in many different areas, including design, and discover their experiences. The work they showcased was, in my opinion, more communicative than some digital designs I have seen. To further research this topic, I plan on using books, magazines, and blogs to generate more information that can then be used to argue my belief.

Update: Illustration in the Modern Design Environment

My topic of interest is illustration as used in the design industry. What recurring trends have there been in illustration? Are they dependent upon trends in design, fine art, the socio-cultural realm, or all of the above? Who, in the past, has used illustration in their work the most? Who’s doing so currently? How is mixing traditional/digital illustration without other mediums strengthen the design, as well as transcending the tools/mediums themselves? I intend to answer these questions to the best of my ability, while also exploring what illustration is at its core.


The Anatomy of Design : Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic

Illustration – A Visual History: Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast

The Education of an Illustrator: Steven Heller and Marshall Arisman

World Graphic Design: Geoffrey Caban

Borrowed Design: Steven Heller and Julie Lasky

Update #2


Advent of abstraction led to conflict for illustrators working in the public domain

Illustrators began to incorporate abstract ideas into their work as demand for it rose

Illustrators also began to expand their styles and uses for their art

Digital technology revolutionized way illustration was viewed/accepted

Once again, illustrators are choosing to adapt to the changing climate and incorporating digital methods into their work, combining traditional methods with new

Illustration, at its core, is about illuminating and communicating a concept

Design is visually communicating an idea, concept, or message

Personal Observations

I use only pencil and ink in my own sketchbooks and almost entirely focus on figurative and gestural drawings. While I have tried other methods, such as painting, watercolor, and collage, I remain at my best and most inspired when drawing with pencil and pen. I like to look to past styles and art movements to inspire my work, such as Art Nouveau, then combine that with my own style or contemporary styles I have seen. I also have fused my drawings with digital technology by using a tablet to draw digitally. Although some aspects of digital drawing are much easier (and cleaner) than actually doing so, it presents a new challenge. I am not used to drawing with my focus on a screen instead of a paper, or hitting a back button instead of diligently erasing. However, combining a digital drawing with an actual drawing creates a hybrid piece of work that transcends both mediums.  I do want to retain a gestural, hand-created quality, despite adding digital elements to apiece, because I feel that it’s missing in many designs.

Possible Thesis Statements

Combining traditional and digital methods of illustration with design creates something new, unexpected, and visually interesting.

Designers can strengthen their skills by learning traditional and digital methods of illustration

Illustration is adapting to a technologically driven society and is benefitting from combining techniques instead of shunning them.

Designers and illustrators benefit from combining a variety of techniques and styles instead of settling on one aesthetic.

At times, hand-based illustration can be more effective at communicating a concept than a strictly digital concept, even more so when combined with the aforementioned.

Illustrative work that combines basic media, such as penicil, ink, or charcoal, with digital technology should try to retain its gestural qualities.

Hand-drawn illustration can be enhanced by digital technology and tools but should retain its gestural quality.

Key Terms

Illustration: noun; 1) something that illustrates; as a picture in a book or magazine. 2) comparison or an example intended for explanation or corroboration. 3) the act or process of illuminating. 4) the act of clarifying or explaining; elucidation. 5) archaic; illustriousness, distinction

Illustrate: verb; 1) to furnish ( a book, magazine, etc.) with drawings, pictures, or other artwork intended for explanation, elucidation, or adornment. 2) to make clear of intelligible, as by examples or analogies, exemplify. 3) Archaic; to enlighten

Illustrative: adjective: serving to illustrate; explanatory

Design: verb; 1) to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for ( a work to be executed), esp. to plan the form and structure of. 2) to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully. 3) to intend for a definite purpose. 4) to form or conceive in the mind, contrive, plan. 5) to assign in thought or intention, purpose. 6) Obsolete: to mark out, as by a sign, indicate

Designer: noun; 1) a person who devises or executes designs, esp. one who creates forms, structures, and patterns as for works of art or machines. 2) a schemer, intriguer, or plotter

Communicate: verb; 1) to impart knowledge of, make known. 2) to give to another, impart, transmit. 3) to administer the Eucharist to. 4) Archaic: to share in or partake of

Tradition: noun; 1) the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc. from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice. 2) something that is handed down. 3) a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting. 4) a continuing pattern of culture beliefs of practices. 5) a customary or characteristic method or manner.

Digital: adjective; 1) of or pertaining to a digit or finger. 2) resembling a digit or finger. 3) manipulated with a finger or the fingertips. 4) displaying a readout in digital form. 5) having digits or digit like parts. 6) of, pertaining to, or using data in the form of numerical digits. 7) involving or using numerical digits expressed in a scale of notation to represent discretely all variables occurring in a problem. 8) of, pertaining to, or using numerical calculations. 9) available in electronic form; readable and manipulability by computer.

Gesture: noun; 1) a movement or position of the hand, arm, body, head, or face that is expressive of an idea, opinion, emotion, etc. 2) the use of such movements to express thought, emotion, etc. 3) any action, courtesy, communication, etc., intended for effect or as a formality; considered expression; demonstration

Quality: noun; 1) an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute. 2) character of nature, as belonging to or distinguishing a thing. 3) character with respect to fineness, or grade of excellence. 4) high grade, superiority, excellence. 5) a personality or character trait. 6) native excellence or superiority. 7) an accomplishment or attainment.

Key People

Milton Glaser

Ivan Chermayeff

J.C. Leyendecker

Seymour Chwast

Paul Davis

Paula Scher

Mark Ryden

Erik Jones

CIA (The Central Illustration Agency)

Twisted Fifties

Jason Maloney

Tara McPherson

Gary Baseman

Allison Casson

Ros Shiers

Tansy Myer

Olly Moss

Eli Neugeboren

Matt Williams (uberkraaft)

Kelly Reemsten

Luke Bott

Rudi De Wet

Sara Neuhart