Jump to content
Product Design Forums

Treasurebox
Sign in to follow this  
Guest akgraphics

french curves and other treasures

Recommended Posts

Guest akgraphics

The other night was rather special, as my mum, and then my dad, handed on down their art and design appartus/paraphenalia from their youth.

 

My mum being the arty type, her toolbox that she gave me contained gouche, conté, pastels, charcoal, acrylic, pastels ... lotsa stuff!

 

My dad being the more technical of the two, gave me a nondescript cardboard box, which contained lots more boxes. Inside I found a set of 6 french-curves, dry transfer lettering, LOTS of plastic letter-stencils and circle/oval/ring/square templates of green plastic, and a "flexicurve". I also found some "Rotring" pens, with a cigar case full of various nibs for it, and some indian ink (i assume for refill).

 

[also, irrelevantly, a mysterious black and white roll of film...its ancient ....i'm gonna take it to the photography store in town, see what mysteries lie within ... my dad doesnt recognise it]

 

Now, the most complex tools I've used to sketch have been oil-based markers, and maybe a technical pencil and a couple of black gel-pens. This is all a bit overwhelming! I have no idea if I can utilise this stuff when generating concept-sketches, and final (hand-drawn) renders. [i like my hand-drawn renders - they let me carry on my artistic urges, which i cannot otherwise do at school, since I dropped art after GCSE. Also after reading an ancient book on hand-drawn rendering by some famous british designer or other, I've been experimenting a lot - only got as far as using oil pastel though, with no spectacular results.]

 

I'd like to know about all these mysterious tools, and what they do, and if theyre actually useful to a product designer!

 

e.g: The french-curves seem fairly redundant to my eye: they produce a fixed range of curves, when the curves you really want to draw in practice could be any shape and size, and unlikely to be matched by these plastic tools. Am I wrong? Or, when you have a concept in your head, you draw its basic bones with the flexicurves, and build your product up around those curves?

 

Any help / light shed would be fantastic thanks! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The french curves might be useful for large presentation drawings. You'll never get a long smoothe and precise curve on a paper, unless you have a robotarm ;) I agree that they only provide a fixed range of curves, so be sure you have a big set of different curves if you want to take full advantage, without being limited. I remember that I have used those french curves only once, when I was taught to use them for drawing a microwave 2D presentation drawing. And yes, the shape of my design was defined by the limited set of curves.

I think that french curves are rarely used nowadays. Digital presentation drawings are more usual, right? So we have got the path tool of PS and AI instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

French curves are still used quite a bit in the automotive industry.. they're really handy as well when making proper drawings for your presentation sheets (when you're not doing them digitally).

Dunno how many of those oval templates he have you, but those can be very usefull (wheels, buttons, holes etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest akgraphics

thanks! i'll have a play around with them, see what results I can get.

 

It seems to me, that the most "eye pleasing" curves that look "right", seem to be produced by wresting your hand on the ball of your wrist, and picoting on it, varying the reach of the pen ... makes a really smooth curve! Most of my initial concepts at A-level have been me making a random curve, then building up from it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest midnyt

I still use my french curves for cleaning up lines & hard-defining (often with black markers) quick hand-sketched concepts that often get shown a client or other team members early on in the design process.

 

You can use multiple sections of various curves to follow the curve you desire.

 

I suggest sketching lightly by free-hand first, then use closely matching curve sections to bolden-up lines as desired. Don't let the curve drive your shapes; that's one of the reasons I like hand sketching first.

 

I also generate more developed ideas via photoshop and in SolidWorks, but I like the speed, feel, & creativity of hand sketches still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest akgraphics

ahh thats a good idea! thanks midnyt!

 

yeah i love sketching too ... i've been kinda disappointed with the developmental stage of the design process, as theres less scope for sketching, and more emphasis on CAD and nitty-gritty perfectionism of getting the product to work - though I'm not saying that this is not an essential stage! lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest getthegimp

i bought this really cool drawing template from standardgraph. i love it. it pretty much replaced my french curves.

 

 

i coldnt find it on there website but it is just a long tool with curves on the outside and curves cut out on the inside. pretty handy. AUD$60.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.