Frank Chimero: This is How We Do It

Posted on Jan 26th, 2009 by Command Save

Welcome to the second installment of This is How We Do it (TiHWDi, as I like to call it). On deck is Maker Frank Chimero!

Save the Date, by Frank Chimero.

I asked Frank what some of his favorite tools/tips were and he is generously sharing them with us!

Preface About Tools:
I hate expensive tools. I'm scared to use them. Does your grandma have one of those sofas with the plastic cover on it that you're not allowed to sit in? That's how I feel if I buy a nice new sketchbook, or spend money on fancy nibs for a pen. So I buy cheap stuff. Because ideas are cheap, and you can't be too scared of your tools. You have to bend them to your will. I don't use fancy tools, but these are my most frequent.

No Sketchbooks.
I don't believe in sketchbooks. The only one I have is a tiny moleskin, and all I do is write in it. For sketching, I have a three-ring binder with hole-punched copier paper. Cheap, awesome. And, you don't feel bad documenting your bad ideas, because, c'mon. It's cheap paper. Getting the first, awful ideas out of the way is crucial for me, and if I document them on paper, I feel like I've acknowledged it and can move on to better things. If I had nice paper and a nice sketchbook, I'd be paralyzed to make the first idea good or great.

Extra-Fine Tip Sharpie
Writing and drawing utensil of the gods. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, Huckleberry Finn, and the first draft of Wuthering Heights were all written with an extra-fine tip sharpie? For truth! I love these little things. They're cheap, so I don't feel bad losing them. They're writing point is small enough to do tinyish drawings, but they bleed just enough to keep me from getting too much detail. The less detail the better in my sketches: it forces me to focus on content and the central idea I want to communicate.

There's something magical about scissors. I don't know what it is, but it makes your mind work differently. Cut paper out. Glue it together. Simplify things with a clumsy tool. Turn things upside down. Or just hold a pair of scissors and pace while you think. Just the right amount of danger, no?

In all software. To undo is to forgive. I'm forgiven. Hallelujah.

Illustrator's Pathfinder Tools
I make shapes out of other shapes. It's really handy, and gives me a nice structural, simplified look to my work. If everything is based off of geometry, it always comes together so harmoniously.

iTunes Next Track Button
I have music pumping all the time, and I'm SUPER fickle with what I'm listening to.

That One Kind of Comfortable/Kinda Not Pillow on the Sofa in the Studio
Just comfortable enough to relax you. Not enough to have you fall asleep. Right before you fall asleep, your brain is making connections between all of the unrelated thoughts in your brain. There's no filter in your conscious mind saying "This makes sense and is acceptable. This does not." Without that filter, you can consider many more possibilities. So, grab your sharpie and some cheap paper, and fill your mind to the brim with research and what you already know. Then, take an almost-nap and get ready to document the ideas that come rushing in.

My Friend, The Delete Key
Anything that's good comes from editing. Delete unimportant things. Even if you love them. Sometimes you have to kill puppies. Delete. Refine. Edit. Improve.

THANKS FRANK! To see more of his work go here —>
To follow him on flickr go here —>
To see some of his prints in person —-> ask me 🙂