The ability to quickly observe a form and deconstruct it into primitive shapes that can be sketched or modeled is one of the most valuable skills that a designer or engineer can have. Unfortunately, learning how to think this way doesn’t necessarily come naturally for most – particularly if it involves a sketchbook and a pencil.
In his Dynamic Sketching class at Art Center College of Design, designer and illustrator Peter Han teaches students how to break down everything from insects and marine life to more complicated mechanical machines like tanks and airplanes to better communicate their product designs visually.
Over the past six months, Han has been keeping a journal of these concepts to ensure that he’s not missing any of the foundational steps leading from one sketching concept to another. The result is the Dynamic Bible – a published version of his journal that covers all of the groundwork as it is taught in his semester-long Art Center class:
The finished 8″ x 10″ perfect bound soft cover book features 115 pages printed on paper that closely mimics the actual watercolor paper used by Han in his original journal. While the first half of the book focuses on breaking down organic forms, the second focuses on breaking down mechanical forms. Here’s a couple of examples snagged from Han’s Instagram account that go deeper into his thought process:
“The ability to draw and problem solve has given me the skill to adapt to any design problem – whether it be entertainment or otherwise. Here I took a similar approach in process – I took a mantis shrimp raptorial appendage and broke it apart. I know how the saddle and latch system works on the animal, I tried to take a similar functionality to apply it into a latch release system for a folding knife.”
“I haven’t played with eyewear exploration in awhile. I love doing exercises where I take a source of inspiration by studying it first. Here we have an owl skull, then I extracted shapes that are interesting to me. Then the application to the design. By the end of it, I have a unique idea that I can now push into something that I wouldn’t have thought of unless I did this process. This eyewear plays with the idea of doing ‘kit’ eyewear, ever since I started doing model building I loved the idea of designing build it yourself eyewear like a model kit or a car kit.”
At just $20 for the digital copy and $45 for a hand-signed physical copy over on Kickstarter, the book is a bargain considering that you’re essentially sitting in on a full semester of Han’s world-class sketching class.