D30: Exercises for Designers

Most of us who work as designers grew up making art, and it was our love of drawing, painting, crafting and/or taking pictures that got us here. Unfortunately, the deeper we get into the design business, the further we seem to find ourselves from the fun and skill-generating activities that produced both our talent and our enthusiasm. Jim Krause has been in the design biz for thirty years and this course is built around the hands-on extra-curricular art, design and photography activities Krause regularly enjoys in order to keep his creative world fun, his design skills sharp and his creative instincts relevant and usable. Click here to see some cool examples of his students finished projects, and what they’re saying about the course.

Jim KrauseJim Krause lives in northwest Washington state and, since the 1980s, has been working as a designer, a photographer, an illustrator and a writer. Krause has worked for a wide range of clients, including Microsoft, Kodak, Cingular Wireless, Seattle Public Schools, Levi Strauss, Washington Apples and more.

What People Are Saying About This Course
“This course is exactly what I needed. I have been a professional graphic designer for the past 15 years, but have been suffering from burn out! I work in Academia and everything lately has been so templatized and dumbed down that I find myself just going through the motions to get a project done. I love to create things, and once I watched the first intro video from Jim, I knew this course was for me.” — Steve Burns, Penn State University

See what all students are saying about this course…


Workshop Length:

4 weeks


$199   $59.99 (70% off)

Required Materials:

  • D30: Exercises for Designers by Jim Krause. The digital version of this book is included with your tuition fee!
  • Basic art supplies (many or all of which you probably have already – click here.)

Start Date:

View Workshop Schedule

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  • To sharpen our eyes’ ability to evaluate composition and aesthetics
  • To awaken and enhance hands-on skills involving pens, pencils, inks and paper
  • To reconnect with real-world dimensional media through both planned and improvised creative projects
  • To add new skills to what we are able to bring to our professional work
  • To help us establish creative goals and come up with ways of reaching those goals
  • To become more open-minded and resourceful when creating
  • To remind ourselves of the fun that can be had while making art
Who Should Take This Course:
  • Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Crafters
  • Professionals, students and anyone with an interest in the above professions
Basic Art Supplies:

  • You’ll need basic art supplies including:
    • WEEK ONE: Rollerball pen (I really like the Pilot Precise v5 Extra Fine for this one, but any fine or extra fine rollerball pen will do), regular paper, a few paper napkins, a friend (optional), any digital camera, photo software (optional)
    • WEEK TWO: A writing pen and notebook paper, regular or drawing paper, at least two or three kinds of macaroni noodles (any kind will do), Elmers glue, tweezers (optional), newspaper, white flour, plastic drinking cup and a bowl that you won’t mind mixing paper mache in, a few balloons, paint (acrylic, tempera, watercolor, whatever), small paintbrush, any digital camera and software such as Photoshop or Elements.
    • WEEK THREE: Various junk-drawer kinds of items from around the home or office, any digital camera and basic image software, tripod (optional), pencil, paper (tracing paper would be ideal, but regular typing paper is okay), computer and Adobe Illustrator (optional), chair, dark piece of matboard or fabric.
    • WEEK FOUR: Pencil, drawing or regular paper, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign or Elements (optional), any digital camera, photo software, stop-motion software (Powerpoint, Keynote, iMovie, Final Cut and more, plus I’ll add links to free and super cheap stop-motion software in the discussion board)

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WEEK ONE: Rolling up our sleeves and making art.
  • Projects include: Swirling Swirls (intriguing and fun ink-on-paper creativity), Going For The Goldsworthy (improvised 3D creations—feel free to bring a friend along for this enjoyable outdoor activity) and Wrongs Making Right (using your digital camera without caring one bit about perfection).
WEEK TWO: Building momentum.
  • Projects include: Conversation With Self (brainstorming creative possibilities for now and later), Noodle Doodles (a timeless creative classic involving macaroni), Balloon Bowls (bring out the paper mache and paints!) and Mirror Images (digital exploration that’s as easy as it is eye catching).
WEEK THREE: Digging deeper.
  • Projects include: Make A Face (typeface creation of a different sort), Playing With Fire (not as dangerous as it sounds, and also a lot of fun), Instant Photo Studio (amazing photographic studies from the comfort of your living room)
WEEK FOUR: Exploring further.
  • Projects include: Positively Negative (a new way of seeing art), Personal Monogram (why not?), Going In Circles (quality filmmaking on an extreme budget).

What students are saying about this course:

“The daily grind can cause creative muscles to atrophy. Build them back up with Jim Krause’s D30: Exercises for Designers” — The Creative Group (TCG). Click here to read more about what TCG has to say.

Click here to see even more student testimonials and project samples.