This week (23.-25.8.2022) I participated in a three-day footwear design workshop that was held by a designer and teacher Aki Choklat and took place at Häme University of Applied Sciences' footwear department. During the intense workshop we learned about finding inspiration, sketching, 3D prototyping and more. Here are everything you need to know about those three days I spend in Aki's bootcamp.
FOOTWEAR DESIGN BOOTCAMP
INSPIRATION AND SKETCHES
The first day of the workshop was all about things that inspire us, how can you use them for sketching and produce creative ideas. For this part Aki had asked us to bring 5 pictures that we had took ourselves and use them as starting points for each design idea. The first three rounds of sketching were done with pictures Aki had brought with him and the last four with our own pictures. The theme of the day was to sketch fast (varing from 5 min to 10 seconds per sketch) and produce six sketches per picture.
Those six sketches were formed from a step by step method:
Before you begin sketching draw six outlines of your last. Then you can start the sketching process. First you try to draw the inspiration picture in detail on top the first last outline without staying within the last borders. In your second sketch look at what you drew from the inspiration picture and pick elements you like and draw those elements on top of the second last outline. Slowly you start shaping those elements to the form of a shoe as the skething process goes on. The idea is to repeat and simplify the very first sketch of the inspiration picture into a unique new shoe shape. After those six sketches you choose one of them and start developing it futher.
The first three set of sketches:
The sketches from my own inspiration pictures:
For further development, I chose an odd looking design that seems to be covered with mesh or net because I usually try to make everything very pretty so I thought I might as well try something different and a little bit crazy this time.
What is more, I really enjoy skething which is why trying out a new technique was fun and exciting. Also the fact that we had to draw these sketches very fast gave the drawings a different look because you really did not have time to over think it.
The developed ideas:
3D PROTOTYPES AND WATERCOLORS
On the second day we finalized the shoe design we would later on the day turn into a 3D form. But before that Aki wanted us to paint our shoe designs with watercolors which is another way of sketching or presenting your designs. Watercolors are always fabulous and they give such an interesting feeling to the sketches compared to markers and ink so it was lovely to see everybody's designs turn into beautiful watercolors.
Next it was time to test how our shoe design ideas would work in the 3D world. Therefore, we had to create a 3D shoe model out of white paper or cardboard with the help of tape, glue and other crafting equipments. This was by far the most challenging part of the workshop because paper and cardboard are difficult materials to work with since they posses no stretch. However, the whole point was to demostrate how you can make prototypes from cheap materials and realize the shape through the process.
For me, the sole and heel were the most difficult parts to produce from paper and finally I had to give up on the sole. I am, however, quite pleased I managed to do the whole shoe even if it looks a bit wrinkly and strange.
FINISHING TOUCHES AND EXHIBITION
The third day was mainly about finishing the 3D prototypes and building an exhibition where we would showcase our sketches and prototypes for guest and other university students and staff. The exhibition ended up being a surprisingly fun event that almoust felt as though we were graduating from the workshop.
Setting up the exhibition:
MY FINAL THOUGHTS AND LEARNINGS
In my opinion, the workshop was brilliant thanks to talented organizers and Aki's constant help and interest in our work. It really felt like us students were cared for and that our efforts, problems and achievements were important. I hugely appreciated that atmosphere!
Also, when I say I learned a lot, it come as a no suprise. And I am not just talking about the practical skills such as sketching or paper prototypes but also those vital mindset and life lessons like making quick decisions, realising your limits and strenghts as well as working fine even outside your comfort zone.
Moreover, of course this workshop highlighted also the things I personally need to work on, for example my shyness around new people, asking more questions and having bravery to approach new acuquaintance as well as being more approachable myself to name a few :) .
Lastly, thank you so much Aki, my fellow students, teachers, Anne, Sirkka and Hamk staff for this wonderful workshop!