3 Design Tips to get inspired from an abstract painter


It’s surprising how much you can learn from people you’ve just met. Last week-end I went to  visit the city of Lyon in France. I went there using carpooling (Blablacar.com). To me, it’s a great way to meet new people and have fascinating discussion with them.

When I booked the car, I saw an available one which the driver was an Abstract painter. Yeah ! That guy might be interesting ! So I booked that car even though I had to delay a bit my departure. : ) (Some more in the car I also met a young student fascinated by diet for professional sport player. With whom I also learned a lot from!)

I don’t know anything about abstract painting, it is the first time I have the chance to talk to such artist. It was for me a great opportunity to discover a new branch of art.

Let me share with 3 tips I learned from him I believe can inspire Industrial designers.

TIP1 | Get DAILY inspired


I asked him if he sometime take a sketchbook, stop somewhere and draw. He look at me, smile and say never. He actually get his inspiration at every second he lives. He observes, feels, absorb every moment of his life in his heart and brain. So he paint with his subconscious and what he calls: ENERGY.

How a designer could put this in practice ?
Being an Industrial designer involve a great sense of logic. However we also need to retranslate our own inspiration, learning, observation, experiences in our work through “untangible data” such as the emotion of a form, color, texture… can convey.

A designer is not working only during working hours fron 8 to 6. His brain is connected to the world H24 and keep observing. Be open to details and anything that doesn’t link to design. Store information you feel cool even though you have no idea of application yet. So the probabilty to make unexpected connection and innovate will rise.

Always keep a pen with you ready to take notes. One of my friend, Adrien Wira loves furniture design. He keeps a booknote beside his bed. Whenever an idea pop out from his mind, even at night, he wakes up to take a quick note, and go back to sleep. Your ideas are precious do not let yourself forget them.

You know when you tell yourself: I got a great idea ! It is so great that I will for sure not forget it ! The moment you need it, of course you won’t remember it ! We are so predictable haha.

TIP 2 | Draw with energy


I really like the idea of “translating ideas into ENERGY”. Human are driven by emotion. A painting may be abstract, we feel emotion looking at it.

Everyone has an unique energy:
Take 2 people and ask them to paint following the same technique and steps. The result will be for sure different. Why ? Because they have different energy, past, story, habits, body morphology… so the way they will throw the paint on canvas will be different.

An abstract artist doesn’t only throw randomly some paint on a canvas. He tries to better utilise his energy to transmit emotion.

How a designer could put this in practice ?
Open your eyes at discovering multitude work of artist .Feel free to copy get inspired from the one you like. From there you will mix your influences to create your own style and sensitivity. More you know about others, better you will build and mature your energy, and be unique.

Remember that every feature of a product “feed” our sense. Energy is in my opinion what make user experience memorable and meaningful to people.

TIP 3 Think different


It’s a story about 2 friends at a terasse of a cafe in Paris – under a beautiful rainbow. One of them is a photographer. The other suddenly saw a couple walking around and suddenly call the other to take a picture immediately or he may miss a beautiful scene.The photographer took his camera, shoot the ground and get “scolded“ by his friend accusing him that he wasted the picture !

So the photographer show him the result on camera. He actually took a beautiful picture where the couple and the rainbow was delicately reflected on the puddle.

While one was talented enough to spot somthing great, the other saw in less than a second something new. This may come from experience, but experience also come from the ability to see things differently.

How a designer could put this in practice ?
Train your eyes to observe the world differently from how majority of people see things. You may share the same experience, but live it with a new vision. Pay attention to details, ask yourself what the creator of things that surround you may though during the process of creation. A shopping mall is a paradise to train that skill obseving at the IT corner, packaging, disposition of the product (merchandising)… and so on…

Think different and you will rise your chance to propose unexpected ideas.

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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.

1 Comment

  • Roger Santos

    Reply Reply November 30, 2015

    Wonderful article Chou-Tac! Thanks 🙂 What your friend Adrien Wira does, keeping a booknote beside his bed so he can take a note whenever a idea pops in his mind, makes me remind of Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido. In his dojo, in the middle of the night, whenever he dreamt of something related to Aikido, he would wake up, gather his students that were falling asleep, practice and work on what he had dreamt of until he was satisfied then he would go back to sleep peacefully and calm. Meanwhile his students couldn´t sleep anymore because they were all sore after that hard working session with their sensei in the middle of their sleep 🙂


    Roger Santos

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