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Why Graphic Designers Should Do ‘Plein Air’ Art

March 28, 2012 IADT Nashville, IADT General, Graphic Design 0 Comments

Paintbrushes - Graphic Designers and Plein ArtPlein air is French for “open air,” making plein air art an outdoor activity. It’s generally used for sketching or painting landscapes. So what does plein air art have to do with graphic design?

Whether graphic designers are developing websites, illustrations, print media, or animations, they are increasingly tied to their computers. Take a look at these five reasons why graphic designers should take a break from the screen and spend some time doing plein air art.

1. Change your scenery

Doing plein air art after spending most of your time using computer software allows you to exercise your eyes, hands, and brain in different ways. Although you can take your laptop or tablet outside to work, go for a more drastic change of scene by taking your sketchbook and pencils instead.

2. Escape work pressures

Getting out of the office or classroom can help you relax, and the physical experience of working outdoors in good weather makes your change of scene even more refreshing. Take time to brainstorm and sketch something fun instead of only working on an assignment.

3. Return to the basics

One of the best benefits of doing plein air art is that it makes you return to using basic tools and media. Try colored pencils, water colors, oil paints, or pens to exercise your fundamental sketching and painting skills.

4. Forget about detail

Returning to fundamental principles helps put your creative methods and vision in perspective. When you’re working on a complex project, you always have to stay focused on uniting the intended message with every detail of the design drafts. With plein air art, you can take a step back from Web and marketing principles and focus solely on art.

Experiment with shape, line, light, shadow, and value by hand for practice. Work on these basics to improve your time management. Ask yourself how quickly you can convey an idea using rudimentary sketches. Look carefully at your environment and decide which element of your subject should be emphasized in order to capture that subject effectively.

5. Find ideas in your surroundings

When you’re outside, you’re free to study the organic shapes found in nature as well as man-made structures. Regardless of what you focus on, take the opportunity of being outdoors to admire your surroundings and look for inspiration. Brainstorming can help you solve project issues or produce ideas on styles or formats to use in the future.

This article is presented by IADT-Nashville. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from IADT-Nashville.

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