My Material Life

Make Things More Beautiful with Pen and Photo

I love this image from an HTC magazine ad.  This is a great old designer’s trick that I learned from my favorite German interior designer, Christa, when I was her assistant.  Only Christa used actual photo prints of her clients’ interiors to draw on.  I just thought that was so clever of her.  I must say this HTC device looks pretty fun.  I wonder if you can do this kind of thing with an iPad – if not, I wish you could.

For so many years I was frustrated with my attempts to put together our living space in a way that was functional, comfortable and pleasing to the eye.  It wasn’t until I got the idea to approach the pleasing to the eye part the same way I would approach a two-dimensional design that the design of interiors started to click for me.  And that’s what I love about the drawing on photos technique.  It allows you to work out – to actually compose – a picture of that space as you would like it to be or as it could be without expending a lot of labor or money simply by using a two-dimensional format that already exists.  Maybe not the first or second or third time you try, but that doesn’t matter.  It’s just paper, pen, or maybe electronics and not actual worldly goods at stake (at least not yet).  And it works for landscapes too.  Pictured below is a clipping from an old issue of House & Garden magazine.  I believe the photo comes from the David Hicks book, Garden Design.  The magazine suggested using tracing paper to draw over photos or copies and that’s an excellent idea too; designers can go through a lot of tracing paper as they are working out their plans.

But the first step is to take the photos.  That’s the best way I know of to see your space in a fresh light – almost as though you had a new pair of eyes.  Areas of blight that you have learned to live with and maybe don’t even really see anymore will become glaringly apparent.  As will the spaces that already work.  Then get out your pens, your tracing paper, your photos or copies and start sketching some ideas for those areas that appear too bare or that need to be screened or that just need to be composed differently.  You’ve certainly got nothing to lose and you might even have some fun.

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