It Begins!

New house, three new roommates, first day back in school, after less than 24 hours in DC my brain already feels like its been turned inside out.

I’m really excited to get to be immersed in the subject of design over the next year. Today in class we were given a permanent assignment: to investigate and document anything we encounter or hear about that interests us: artists, art, pretty things, ugly things, inspiration, ideas. This can involve sketching(/drawing, painting), photographing, googling, reading, looking and writing- generally just being curious and paying attention. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile and fun, even after just one day of class I already feel like I’m seeing my surroundings differently.

This evening I went to a talk by Carolyn Sewell, a local graphic designer and illustrator. She’s crass, energetic, funny, she likes wine, and I want to hang out with her! I got some good advice and saw some pretty great work.

She passed around some of her sketchbooks and notebooks- one of the cool things she does is “sketch noting” (taking notes in the form of doodles) more info and pics of her sketchbook from the 2009 AIGA Design Conference here. She also keeps notes of funny things people say, running brainstorm lists, clippings of found logos and graphics, to do lists, and idea sketches. The first thing I did after her talk was go buy a notebook and a roll of scotch tape.

Snagged these two postcards that I liked

I love this project she did- its called Postcards to my Parents ( which consisted of sending love letters to her parents every day for a year. Her project is being featured in the September 2011 issue of How Magazine, in a feature they’re doing on designers who do side projects for fun.

Some of Carolyn’s tips:
• Good font sites-,, She is not a fan of

• Do the work you love and put it online (no one is going to show up at your door and ask you to do work for them, you have to put yourself out there)

• Go to every design event you can (“you have to go out and schmooze, and drink a lot”) – talks and happy hours through AIGA, the Art Directors Club, the Corcoran and other museums and galleries etc.

• Keep a sketchbook- it doesn’t have to be beautiful, just draw. Frank Chimaro is an artist who always scribbles a big blob on the first page of each of his sketchbooks, that way he says nothing will look bad after that. You can’t make your sketchbook sacred.

• Read design blogs and twitter. Some she recommended are We Love Typography, Pintrest, Quipsologies and Swiss Miss.

• Keep a blog. Check.