Swimming Studies | Skillshare Projects

Natalie Shields

RISD graphic design '15/seattle, wa



Swimming Studies

Hi all,

My book I'm designing a drop cap for is Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies

I started by rereading the book and taking notes, as Jessica suggested—I only like the book more with a second read.

My notes are a little illegible, but here are the main points I found with my second read of Swimming Studies:

- what do you do when you're really good at something, but not great

- obsession does not equal love

- water is both blurring and clarifying

- artistic and athletic discipline: tedious, invisible practice, unending effort it takes to do it well

- you can't choose what you're good at, but does it mean you should do it?

- water is elemental: can't live in it, or without it

- swimming, art, other people are vital components of this life, but learning to define them vs letting them define her

The concept that resonated with me the most was the tie between athletic and artistic discipline. That one teaches the other a discipline that is an unending repeatition and practice in order to become great. Since I'm an artist and an athlete, I knew this would be the concept I wanted to explore further. I have a few pages of sketches:

After a lot of terrible ideas, I was intrigued by the figure-8 form that works around the S (for Shapton). I did a lot of sketches using that base idea and realized I had created lanes, which in turn created a pool. I did a couple sketches in color because I felt it was hard to see the idea without it because there are many small elements. I still want to explore some sketches of this concept, but I'm pretty sure I'll stick with this idea: the S becomes a figure-8/infinity sign through the lanes of a pool. I think this really connects with the larger concept I was thinking of because the drop-cap itself is a small work of art, but is still about athletic practice going around and around in a repeatitive shape. This goes back to the tie between an artist's discipline mimicking an athlete's and vice versa.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I asked some of my classmates here at RISD for some feedback at earlier stages and got rid of other concepts at that point, but would be interested in getting more. Thanks!



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