2D Project #15
Design from Nature

This project involves working on designs that are created from an object found in nature. The basis for this project is to use the ideas that we have discussed in class and have worked on this semester into a piece that will be made up of mostly either organic shapes or shapes that have rectilinear form.

A trip to the Supermarket The object you are going to use as the basis for the organic piece is to be found at your local supermarket. Specifically, in the produce section. There are dozens of different fruits or vegetables that can be used for this assignment.

You are to pick a fruit or vegetable that you can cut into thin slices or sections. The ideal object would be able to be cut into sections that are at least slightly different in shape and appearance from one another (a green pepper is a good example). It might be something small that is going to be significantly enlarged for the finish You are to create designs based on these shapes. My suggestion would be to buy a couple of these fruit or vegetables so you can cut them up really examine them.

By now you should have experience with the design of the page. You have a greater visual vocabulary to work with and your designs should reflect a sophistication of form that begins to have more interest. There might even be some attempt at content in this piece. That means that you might want to figure out if you could say anything about “life” that would have some meaning that might translate into a fairly abstract piece using fruit or vegetables as your subject. I know that’s tough, but that is what a great design would do.

For centuries artists have been using still life arrangements as subject matter. This is not a new direction for art. This is your attempt to look at this idea from a purely design aspect, without a significant emphasis on rendering the objects perfectly, but instead on the design of the page. You will return to realistic rendering later in drawing and painting classes. Think about breaking up the page, about positive and negative space, about scale, about form and shape, about figure and ground, about balance, and perspective, about fore- ground and background, about transparency and opacity...This could go on and on. The important aspect is to Think…

And Design T o help your design and to force you think about this piece, you are going to create a series of studies for this project.


I would like you to create at least five (5) different layouts for this project. They can be done on any paper you have. (They shouldn’t be scraps) They could also be done on Colonial white. They are to be full-size renderings that can be done in pencil, or pen, or ink and ink wash. By studies I mean that you are to create the various design elements from your fruit or tools that you will then use in your final piece. Draw, sketch or otherwise create studies of your fruit slices or tool angles. I want you to explore the subject matter. I want you to explore the various media that you might use. I am looking for you to figure out what you are going to do. What I am hoping to avoid is-”this didn’t turn out the way I planned.” Generally the reason for that is that you really didn’t plan it very well. Remember that the word design really means the artist’s plan. Figure this out before you do your final work. Have the elements ready. You are to pick at least three (3) views of your object from this group of preliminary studies to combine together into a final design. You can use more, but I need to see at least three different ones in your final work


You are to do a black, white and gray study using whatever materials you want to examine the final piece. This is to be on 15” by 20” illustration board with a one-inch border on all sides. This piece is to be a direct preliminary to your final work. It is here that you work out the final design ideas, the final value and texture elements. This is where you figure out all of the problems. Consider the impact of overlaying different shapes to create transparency.


The final part of this assignment is to be a full-color rendition of the design using whatever media you think best. It can be done in paint, colored paper, collage, or some other media. (as long as it is two-dimensional) This is a finished work of art so be careful with it. This part of the project should also be done on a separate piece of 15” by 20” illustration hoard and should also have a one inch board on all sides. What I am attempting to do with this assignment is to give you the best possible chance for success by forcing you to do this assignment twice. Once as a black and white study and then as a final color version. Make the best use of this opportunity to get something that shows me you understand how to put elements on a piece of paper.


The Library part of this assignment was for you to study an abstract artist. This would be a good time to think about how that artists has influenced you. Think about that artists use of color, their use of line, shape, texture and all the other art elements. How would they create a picture of cut-up vegetables? How do they show emotion-what kinds of emotion do they portray in their work:’ See if you can’t use get of that emotion in your work as well. I’m not asking you to copy their work in yours. I am asking you to allow yourself to be influenced by them. Pretend that you just had a day long Art Seminar with them. What would you bring back with you from that experience? See if you can’t get to some place new and interesting through their inspiration. You are going to give a short presentation of your artist along with some of your preliminary work in class. Again know a little about your artist. Show me some samples of their work, let me see some of your fruit or vegetable studies so I can see how you are doing and-hint: try to at least pretend that you really have some insight into this person. Your job is to be interesting for two or three minutes. You are talking about the most famous artists in modern western history. Whew: Got it all? let me review:

1) At least 5 preliminary studies of fruit or vegetables shapes done on paper.

2) Final design done using at least 3 of the shapes from your preliminary sketches. They can be repeated or changed in scale from your original sketches. There can be more than three shapes on this piece. The first version is full-sized done in black and white.

3) Final work done from the previous design only in what ever color you want to use. Any or all colors are OK. Any two-dimensional media you want to do is fine. Keep in mind this is a final piece for this class and needs to be in keeping with the craftsmanship and quality that I have stressed all semester.

4) Talk about your abstract artist that will show me you studied someone for this part and also present your preliminary work to me and the class.

You are to read Chapter 8 and if you haven’t finished it yet, complete chapter 10 in the text. The information in these chapters will be vital to your design having the complexity and visual interest to hold the audiences attention and to have meaning.

Begin to prepare a portfolio of all your work from this class. If you can put it in one of those brown cardboard folders with the handles, that would be great. If not, make sure it is something that will stay together well.