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How To Draw Cool Stuff

...and other awesome things

The RainyDayInterns love it when we review creative gear, whether the gear be for drawing, painting, or designing new user interfaces. It is true that we have been more focused on digital and photo related items lately, but sooner or later, we always find our way back to the analog side of the spectrum 🙂


How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine V. Holmes

Drawing, like many skills, can be acquired by anyone with the proper instruction, desire, and lots of practice. The books by Catherine Holmes takes are of the first part. The other two pieces are responsibilities of the student.

There are currently three books in Ms. Holmes How to Draw Cool Stuff series. Our recommendation: if you are going to get one, just get all three. Why? Because the lessons are addictively fun.


Ms. Holmes starts each lesson with a few simple rules, a couple of basic geometric shapes, and then shows how to build up to the final object.

The great thing about Ms. Holmes’ approach is that all the lessons in her books are building blocks for creating more complex objects, scenes, and even worlds. This is because she peels back the layers and shows how to “see” the fundamental constructs (circles, ovals, squares, etc) which make up a “thing.” With time and practice, a student will start seeing those basic shapes and will be able to deconstruct anything into those simpler shapes.


Take the lesson on “How to Draw a Rose” for example: the lesson starts off with some simple shapes, and in about nine steps, the student goes from drawing just a circle to a pretty convincing rose.


Granted, the sequence is not going to make anyone an illustrator over night, but that is not the point here. The point is learning to see a complex shape as a combination of simpler shapes, and then seeing the “odd” bits which connect the simpler shapes to the complex shape you want to draw. Examples of that are the tips (Step 5, Step 7) which guide the shape not into a reasonable wine glass but into decent and identifiable rose.

SCALE Retractable Ballpoint by Shigeru Ban

Every so often something shows up that is unexpectedly cool. Yes this is “just” a pen, but one cleverly fashioned out of aluminum and in the same spirit as the Staedtler-Mars architect scale we have had for 30 years! So actually, it is NOT “just” a pen. It is a pen AND and a working scale!


The SCALE pen is designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban for Acme Studio, Inc. If you don’t know Acme Studio, don’t click on the site unless you are prepared to lose yourself there for a delightful amount of time!


The markings on the SCALE is finely laser etched and the pen is surprisingly comfortable to hold and use. A twist of the body will extrude/retract the ball point at the tip. The pen comes with its own form-fitting case with magnetic closures.


This pen has gotten so popular that other versions (Black, Rose Gold) are being made. We don’t have those in-house yet, but we are pretty confident that they will be of the same high quality as this silver version.

BTW, no instructions came with the pen, so we are uncertain as how to replace the ink cartridge. However, we are certain the process will be something simple and elegant 🙂

We will, of course, update this post once we find out.

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