Whether you are a student enrolled In a course or simply working through this book on your own at home, it is essential to keep reviewing your working practice. You will not progress unless you look at your work critically, assessing whether you have achieved what you set out to do.
When you start to be artistically creative it is often difficult to judge whether what you have done is any good. Oddly, what tends to happen is that students are far too self-critical and fail to spot when they are on to a winning idea. It is always worth pursuing something that you know works for you. However, you also need to be able to ruthlessly filter out the ideas that are not working. At first, you may lean heavily on the opinion of people such as tutors, but there will come a time when you know enough about yourself and your designs to select for yourself what works and what doesn't.
In this book you are asked to carry out a self-critique on each project. Don't be too hard on yourself, but think honestly about whether your work has succeeded in the ways indicated by the questions. Here are some tips to help you with your self-assessment:
• Much of the design process has to do with self-discipline so judge your work honestly. You should work freely and treasure your rough ideas (they are often more exciting than an overworked concept), but you need to know which ones to reject.
• Show your work to family and friends, and accept their compliments. The most experienced designers might give up without any appreciation of their efforts. Even a throwaway comment from a friend such as, "I couldn't have drawn that," will spur you on to new successes.
• Don't be discouraged if other designers or members of your class seem to be producing better work than you— just concentrate on developing your own unique style.
• Allow yourself to learn. Don't worry if at first your work seems very influenced by the styles of others. It is through imitation that you will discover for yourself how to make the best use of the techniques.
• Don't worry if an experiment fails. A good designer is always curious, always pushing the boundaries. It is only through trial and error that truly original ideas will emerge. Congratulate yourself for having the nerve to go beyond the obvious and ask yourself what you have learned from the project.
» Don't be too fixed in your definition of "success," as this will close off avenues opened up by a happy accident. So long as you know what the rules are, it can be fun to break them sometimes.
« Pay attention to your instinct about what you have produced, and don't try to judge it through the eyes of others. Some people will love your work, others will hate it—all you can do is try to be true to your own special take on the world.
People often wonder how fashion designers manage to come up with so many marvelous new ideas. The truth is that these ideas are rarely completely new: designers create by reinventing the world around them. This chapter will show you how to develop designs from almost any inspirational source, whether you are exploring the world of fine art or the buildings of your town, Indian culture or the familiar objects in your home and garden.
M This dress by Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the work of Mondrian: a good example of a designer drawing ideas from the world of art.
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