Thinking With Grids
this last illustration technique I want to show. You, brings us to a common theme and graphic design the grid. Whether you're working with typography, layout, pattern or illustration setting up a grid is a great way to make a composition stronger. When people think of working with grids, they sometimes imagine that it's a lot of work to set up or that it will stifle their creativity. That couldn't be farther from the truth. If anything, they should be making your job as a designer easier grids are simple to make and you can work with them to create order or intentionally against them to create tension, creativity happens in response to a proposed question or challenge designers and artists don't like to admit it, but we love working within parameters. That's why it's so hard to think of new ideas from scratch. So if you're ever stuck sitting down and waiting to draw something right out some restrictions for yourself, you might be surprised at what you come up with. So how do we set our...
own parameters to work in? Get yourself some gridded paper. There are plenty of types. You can get grids made out of lines, dots, and even hexagons and isometric angles. Any good art store will sell at least your standard grid paper with squares made from intersecting lines like this. Of course you're welcome to make your own grid. An adobe illustrator. And print it out as well to start. I'd like to show you how I might pull one of my abstract simple sketches from the free sketching exercise. So I wanted to bring in one of my abstract shapes here, because I feel like a grid is a really great place to sort of explore what that shape can do. Um so again, I have my sort of squared off graded paper here, and it's good to sort of think about these as as different points, as different points that you can draw to and from a little bit like connect the dots. So one of my abstract symbols was this sort of, was this sort of shape that was that had a square and then it had the sort of rays coming out of it like that. Now, when I drew this, I did not adhere to the grid, but I'm going to be wanting to do that from here on out just to show what it looks like. So, if I wanted to make this a little bit more strictly geometric, I would locate points that would help me do that, right? So, I want to look for four points that can make up that little diamond shape in the center there. So I'm just going to plot them here. 1, 2, 3 and four. And again, I'm going to connect the dots. So, some of my other shapes are these rays that are coming out of the center point of that diamond. So I'm going to find out where I want those to live. The beauty about this system is that you can sort of count away from your shapes and and thinking proximity, right? So if I want that ray at the top here and at the bottom here and at the left here, if I want all this to be the same distance from the square, I can literally count it out. So I'm going to points up, I'm going 12, I'm gonna start my ray there and I'm going to more points up and again, I'm going to connect the dots now that I've done that up there, I can easily replicate that around. So, so I've got my four rays around around my diamond shape here, but the other ones are gonna be a little bit more difficult to draw, right because they're at an angle and I don't see any easy point for me to draw from one point to another. Um without it looking a little bit wonky. So I'm gonna sort of cheat the grid a little bit and I'm actually gonna, instead of use the points that are laid out here, I'm going to create some for myself. So instead of just going directly onto the point, I'm going to find the center point of one of these squares here and I'm going to draw from that. So I'm gonna use this point here and I'm gonna go up to this center point here and I'm gonna draw a line there. So even though it feels a little bit more organically uh flaying out in this direction, um it's actually still geometrically mathematically um in ratio with this with this diamond center point here in the center of the square as opposed to on one of the grids that's been laid out for me. So it's still sort of mathematically related to all of the points around it, but I'm kind of using it to my advantage and then I'm going to draw up to this point here. So I've laid that line there, I'm going to do the same thing on this side here, I'm going to find the center point there and move up here and then for this one, I'm gonna move it up a little bit. So instead of finding this sort of center point in the square, I'm actually going like a half point up diagonally. So I'm going up in that direction instead. So now I've got this sort of interesting bouncing back and forth shape going and I know that I can easily replicate it around again because I have the help of grids. So I finished my first iteration of this shape here and it's all tightened up in the grid, but I'm not quite liking the visual weight that's happening here. I think the center is this sort of heavy piece and then these rays coming out the side are a little bit thin scraggly. So I kind of want to balance that out a little bit more. So I'm going to take these same points that I've laid and I'm just going to create different shapes with them. So I'm going to recreate them over here. Right, I've laid the same four points here that I laid in my mother when I was designing my other mark. But I kind of want to iterate off of that and again, sort of make it more interesting looking. So I'm gonna add a couple of more points for me to work with. I'm going to add one here in the center point of this square, one here in the center point of this square and so on, so that we can go not only from A to B, but from A to B to see and then all the way around again. So I think I've made this shape a little more interesting, even though we started with the same points and it's still kind of relying on the same composition that I set up in my initial sketch. So that's the idea of this, is that we're just kind of pushing and pulling it and it still carries the same essence throughout. So, again, I kind of want to take these rays that exist alongside the edge here and I want to make them more interesting too. So just like with the center point, I'm going to be adding more points for me to work with. So instead of just these two points existing at the bottom and top of the line, I'm going to add some more here and here, creating this sort of geometric triangle. And I'm already liking this a lot more because I'm seeing a very clear relationship between these two shapes. And then for the side shapes, I think instead of going this large with the triangle, I'm going to go a little bit smaller. So I'm going to lay the same points that I did in the initial drawing which go from here to here. And I'm going to fan out from there from here to here. And I'm gonna do this going around the whole and I'm going to continue to do this going around the entire symbol just until we have a really neat sort of geometric layout. So using those extra points, I've been able to add a little bit more visual interest to this piece. And I've even been able to break it up a little bit. This seemed also a little bit monotonous to me on the edges here. So I left out some shapes and I left some breathing room in here so that all of these shapes seem to have a better visual hierarchy in terms of their relationship and wait and in composition. But I kind of want to see a version of this. So it looks a little bit more organic or circular. So, and I just kind of want to show off that the grid can do that too. Right? So if I wanted to lay those same points again, I would lay them 1234 instead of just going straight from point to point, I would just do a curve and they still sort of guide me and leave me with a semi precise shape. So I'm gonna do that again throughout this whole iteration and make everything a little bit more rounded. So alright, so I've created something that looks a little bit more geometric in shape and I'm now left with three different symbols that look pretty different and they're all using the same grid. So this is just to show that there are a lot of different ways to use a grid to create much different shapes.