Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Design Subtleties

There's an online steampunk comic I follow, 2D Goggles: Or the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.  The latest blog entry has a great discussion of some of the subtleties of visual design.

Talking about drawing her heroes, artist Sydney Padua explains how she developed a "look" for Babbage (based on the real Victorian inventor) that combines the blocky and the flame-like (fitting his volcanic nature) which contrasts with his partner Lovelace (based on the real-world's first computer programmer), drawn with more ethereal, curved-lines.  Padua shows how this idea influences even the drawing of their hands.

This is thoughtful design that her readers (or our theater audiences) seldom consciously notice - but which can be subconsciously very powerful.  Whether a line is straight or curved, a mass light or heavy, can have emotional impact...  The audience doesn't know why.  Or even that it's been manipulated.  It's like the way lighting works or the way a film's musical underscoring can move you to tears.

Dare to be subtle!
Image borrowed from the conclusion of "The Organist" by 2D Goggles/Sydney Padua. Start reading it HERE

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