As both a practitioner and educator, design education is of keen interest to me and it seems the old art school foundational model no longer meets the needs of most interactive design students. So what model is appropriate for students that will be designing for experiences on devices? Our increasingly screen-dominated world has brought us to a critical juncture in drawing education. At many institutions, the traditional drawing programs are no longer required for design students. Unfortunately, learning to draw the figure or still life does not necessarily translate into the ability to effectively design a logo, communicate a user interface, or create a web site wireframe. The developmental needs of the ideation processes in design drawing are not met by purely observational drawing practices.
Add all of this to the fact that many design students simply don’t believe that they need to know how to draw and my challenge has been multiplied. In my search to find solutions I have stumbled across experiments in drawing curriculum happening across design programs. While most appear to be preliminary drawing skills aimed at designers, some have even gone as far as integrating computers and tablets, such as the Wacom Cintiq, into their life drawing studios and courses. Most professional designers do not start the design process at a machine and there are lots of very good reasons why they don’t, so I am of the mind that it’s better not to start them off on devices.
These pictures from a half-day workshop at Quinnipiac University for the Interactive Design students.
Designers draw before they sit down at the machine: