26 May 2014

How to start and what to practice for CEED 2015


Welcome back friends, It's been long since I posted any article; because of the fact that earlier was not the right time to post - as you might be busy with your academics or you might not be willing to start your preparation for CEED 2015 (because of time). Now - precisely speaking, CEED fever has already started ! Yes, many aspirants has started searching for CEED resources and are also in the process of selecting the topics that were supposed to act as a beginner preparation. Now the questions that most of you ask yourself are :
  1. Which topics to start for CEED 2015 ?
  2. My sketching level is below average, how to improve before the exam ?
  3. Which part of the sketching should I start ?
  4. When to start preparing for other topics ? (like aptitude/awareness, portfolio, interview topics etc.)
  5. What to skip (what not to practice) ?
  6. How to schedule my time everyday ?

These are the questions that might be confusing you. Well, friends don't fear. In this post I'm gonna cover all of the above questions giving necessary suggestions from my end for your smooth flow of practice. There is nothing like zero level of sketching because it's a fact that everybody has got some design talents hidden inside them, and even if one thinks that the so called zero level exists, then let me tell you one thing, such people can definitely improve their design talents with proper practice and most importantly with their self confidence and passion towards design !

You may also watch the video of this tutorial at the end of this section.

Understand the CEED process


CEED preparation is a four stage process (based on the pattern upto 2014)
  1. Part - A preparation - Comprises of the following categories
  •  General awareness
  •  Mathematical and pictorial Aptitude
  •  Basic Design ability
  •  Observation and visualisation
   2.  Part - B preparation - Comprises of the following categories
  •  Basic and visual sketching (objective, perceptive and imaginative)
  •  Observation, problem Identification and problem solving
  •  Design think-ability - that relates mostly to the following streams : product/Industrial or Interaction Design, User Interface Design
  •  Visual communication design in the form of posters, logo
  •  Animation design in the form of comic strips, character framing etc
   3. Portfolio preparation
   4. Interview facing


The above four stages represents the complete process of CEED exam.

What topics to start for CEED 2015


Well, here comes the main content of this post. It's always better to start with basic sketching work. Most of you start with object sketching giving utmost care to shading and detailing. According to me, jumping straightly to the concept of detailing is not a good idea. To reach the top floor by taking say 10 steps, one has to start from the first step. Even if you are a good jumper (artists in comparison) you can at the most cross say four steps but not totally the ten steps, right ?, same funda applies to your sketch practice. Instead of jumping straight to the final stage of sketching, begin with the basic fundamental steps

Sketching work has the following stages:
  1. Representation in the form of basic geometry figures like circles, squares, lines etc (this step can be skipped in most cases as many don't prefer this !)
  2. Simple outline drawing; without any concern for details or shading
  3. Completing all the parts of the drawing
  4. Giving line details like - say detailed eyebrows, curves, projections etc
  5. Finally - shading or detailing the entire sketch

Some examples were shown below, just for your reference

(Source : blazedent)

(Source : katheringerdens)

As a beginner, you are suggested to concentrate mostly on the first four stages (mentioned above) following the given order. So, it's an intelligent way to start with simple basic sketching - what I call as 'line drawing' caring for the following factors :
  • Shape of the figure
  • Proportion of the sketch
  • Line quality


Remember; it's no use if you apply a mind blowing shadings or detailing for a proportion-less image ! Likewise there won't be much problem if you care less for shading with very good proportion of the image. Proportion here means, the size of the picture comparative to the surroundings. I had seen many students doing the mistake of not caring for the size of the picture. Below shows a sketch from one of my friend that supports what I'm saying. 


As you can see, the books on the desk appear more bigger than the rest of the objects, which in reality is not practical, right ? I can say the shading that has been given to that picture were in no use as the total picture went wrong. Now, I hope you understood the importance of size and proportions concept. So, better start practicing with simple line drawing - simple sketching minding the reality of the sketch, in other words actual proportions without much concern on detailing, clear ? Don't forget to practice the methods of sketching with different degrees of fineness - thickness and sharpness of lines wherever required. Try to learn : 'how to use different grade pencils' (viz. 2H, 2B, 4B grades), sometime after you start your initial practice. That will ease your sketching later !

I was talking mostly about sketch from the beginning, what about others ? Well, to be frank; only sketching and design thinking requires preparation right from the beginning while the rest like general awareness can be taken care later. While I suggest you to go through some geometrical aptitude questions from the start, the questions could be any of observation, visualisation or other geometrical questions. For your convenience, I'm giving you the list under this category :

  • Illusions
  • Isometrical views and projections
  • Hidden word and images findings
  • Patterns
  • Picture puzzles and
  • Mechanical and pictorial reasoning


Not all the above six topics appear directly in CEED exam, the main reason why I'm insisting you to go through the above topics is that these kind of questions would grow your lateral thinking power, that happened to be the most required quality for a CEED aspirant, especially to clear Part-A. Of course, as a designer one should have these kind of ability ! (I had given related exercises and topics in my earlier posts. You may refer to resource section of this blog. I will also try to post more resources in the coming days)

Learn here how to improve Creativity and Lateral thinking power with practice

Let's see what to do with GA (general awareness) study. Remember that, even when you go through awareness questions right from now, you need to revise the same before the exam as it is more or less like a theory subject. If you don't have related resources, then you should be caring about data collection, but most of the topics were covered in this blog and interestingly as you move on, you would notice that discussions on GA and cultural aspects will be carried in Facebook groups, forums as well as in some blogs. So, it's always advisable to skip your GA practice from the very beginning. Instead, schedule your GA study - may be before 45 days or (in most cases) before a month. That should work and of course it worked for many !

It's clear that preparation for interview could be carried after the declaration of results. So, you should not care about that until CEED exam. Next comes Portfolio generation. You will be getting more than two months time between the exam and the interview date. I can say, that time is more than enough for anybody to work on portfolio. While I recommend you to save all your practice exercises (that could be sketches, designs or any other creative exercises) for future use. Your practice works might ease you as well as aid you with your portfolio preparation. A combination of your practice works would provide you some bunch of ideas !

The left discussion is about Design thinking and creative idea generation. These topics really require considerable time to improve and we cannot develop design thinking skills overnight. So, you need to parallelly start your preparation for design and creative thinking along with your sketch practice. The thumb rule is to take any day to day product or activity and analyze the following :
  • The current design - why it is so ?
  • What are the problems with that existing design ?
  • What changes can be made in that ?
  • Any new/alternate ideas ?
  • Possible alternate uses of that product 
  • What more can be included in the design ?
  • Any drawbacks of the new design ?

The list goes on. It's upto you - to think laterally on any selected product. For example, you may consider say your own wrist watch and analyze it for the above points. Make a note of the ideas and if possible put your imaginative thoughts in paper (simple rough sketches). Like this, you are advised to make everyday; a design analysis for day-to-day regular surrounding things - whatever things that strikes your mind or that appears to your eyes. Remember, It's very easy for you to find faults in others work than faults in self work, same goes with others. Others (friends, instructors, family or even children !) are good judges for your work. They may give you appropriate suggestions, changes or any other additional to be made in your's. Most of the time, we learn from the mistakes and there's no harm in making mistakes even if you are doing mistakes in every assignment !

By understanding 'WHAT NOT TO BE DONE' in every exercise, you are upgrading yourself and it is the true knowledge that will stay with you forever. So, I advise you to share any of your design works with your friends or especially so called groups (Facebook groups and forums) and get feedback from others. Your work will inspire others to start their own and of course your ideas will be a lesson to group-mates. Likewise you need to analyze the mistakes in others designs/sketches too. You might also learn others ideas; so that the process would assume two way - with gain to both ! 

Don't make others fear with your outstanding artistic works. If you are an artist, then save your mind blowing works with yourself. The thing is if you post such kind of hi-fi works in groups, then others might get misguided, they assume falsely that the standard for CEED would be to that hi-fi level and so they may lose their confidence. I had seen many people getting disappointed as they are not catching up with that level of works.

CEED exams are designed to test mostly your design ability and sketching work matters next. Even one who is below average in sketching gets good score in the exam. I'm the best example for this case. So, what I want to say is, just share or post design/sketch works, the level of which is sufficient enough to meet CEED standard. Show your artistic skills after getting seat in M.Des !

Well, I had included a number of everyday design thinking as well as practice exercises in this blog. You may take an exercise everyday and try to solve it as per the question. I will be giving my suggestions and answers to that questions in the coming days, so that you may cross check your's.

Finally, Let me wrap-up the above discussions in the form of simple points :

  1. Practice initially simple sketching minding proportions, shape, size and line quality - How to learn sketching step-by-step (beginners guide) and the sketching level required for CEED exam
  2. Give last preference to shading and detailing works
  3. Skip General awareness practice; right from the beginning - Plan before a month or 45 days for GA
  4. Improve your Creativity and Lateral thinking power with practice
  5. Practice lateral thinking and geometrical aptitude exercises from around the web
  6. Everyday - observe and analyze for problems in the existing products - Practice exercises here
  7. If possible, ASSUME/CREATE problems
  8. Evaluate alternate uses of surrounding products
  9. Look objects and everything surrounding you in perceptive way, to improve your sketching skills - Learn here how - in CEED tips page
  10. Think crazily and do mistakes while designing. Get feedback from others
  11. Think like a child but act like an adult
  12. Don't forget to learn from the mistakes. Try to avoid similar mistakes day-by-day - Learn here some mistakes to be avoided
  13. Analyse others works and give suggestions from your end in-order to self-improve ! 
  14. Practice everyday design and creative exercises - Collection of exercises
  15. Skip portfolio and interview preparations until exam

These are the 15 points that I wished to bring before you - for your smooth CEED practice. Hope this helps you. Feel free to comment below regarding your views or suggestions about this articles. 

Here is a video tutorial that covers all the above topics nicely -



All the best with your start !


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10 comments:

  1. Thank you so much..i think this is very systematic approach towards CEED preparation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. how to develop problem solving skills and design skills(i am good at imagning things but unable to put it on paper)what shud i do fr this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are good at imagining but poor at communicating things in paper, then I hope you should work on 'WAYS OF SKETCHING' - that's because when you know how to sketch (in different angles) - you would find it easy to show your thoughts.

      The best thing is to practice - sketching of as many products/objects/views that may either

      1. Strike your mind - imagined
      2. Came across in day to day activity

      Start sketching simple-simple things and then later move towards advanced imaginative sketches. Don't forget to practice perceptive way of observing things, that will improve your design skills. For people of your kind, I suggest that you better understand and work on ISOMETRIC sketching - I mean sketching the same object/product in different views, angles etc

      Ok, here is my way of dealing in such situations. If say I want to design a bike, then I will

      1. First - sketch a bike by seeing (copying)
      2. Doing this by taking four to five different bikes - preferably in different views/angles
      3. Now memorizing the sketched images
      4. Try to sketch the memorized images by own imagination roughly.
      5. Later go for my own imaginative idea or design and put them in paper

      This is how I relate communication and design !

      Here is my strategy on how to improve perceptive way of visualizing objects in order to improve sketching (check the sketching subheading of the post) - Initial tips for CEED Exam preparation

      Hope this helps :)

      Delete
  3. Hey Bhanu Chander and Sri Krishna, really great and very helpful article. Feeling lucky to find this one. Thank you so much :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Bhanu,
    Great blog, very helpful. I just wanted to ask a questions though.
    How do we know what areas are we good at and what we need to improve related to CEED course?

    Can I mail you my other doubts? I have lot of them. It would be great if you could help me out a bit.

    Thanks
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Manuj,

      Thank you for the comment.
      Okay, the best way to get to know where you are good at and what you need to improve is by going through previous question papers. Try to give solution to the CEED previous papers (especially CEED 2012-14 papers, design part), that would help you understand - where you need to improve and in what you are good at.

      Yes, you may mail me your doubts, although I always prefer to receive queries by way of blog comments. Clearing doubts through mails will only you, but clearing your doubts through this comments will be helping many !

      I will be happy to help you anytime :)

      Delete
  5. Can you give us any resources to start with Sketching exercises?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Navin,

      I've already included some good number no. of pdf downloadable files as part of sketch practice. You may check under the sketch section of this link - Resources on sketching practice

      In addition, here are my simple collection of examples for everyday practice
      Perception sketching practice
      Step by step sketching examples

      Anyway, I have plans on making a video on guiding 'How to learn sketching step by step for CEED exam' - giving utmost details for easy understanding. I will be working on it very soon.

      Hope that helps !

      Delete