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What is this technique called:

enter image description here

http://dribbble.com/shots/260469-Squirrel-Construct

See how the image is the result of overlapping many circles to create the final drawing. Parts of the circles overlap with each other to form the desired figures.

Here is another example:

enter image description here

http://dribbble.com/shots/904051-Puffin

Do you know any good tutorial for learning this technique. I've been searching, but since I don't know what the technique is called, I've had no luck at all.

Thanks.

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I do not think it has a name as such, other than circular construction, and the ability to see potential shapes via circles. –  Random O'Reilly Nov 29 '13 at 13:30
    
Hmmm... I was hopping there was a certain name for it. Do you know if they draw a sketch first and then "fix" it with circles, or they start with the circles right away? –  Buzu Nov 29 '13 at 19:05
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No, but here is my guess: what you see above is not necessarily the process of designing something, it is a stylised demonstration of creating a final shape. To start with a bunch of circles is not really going to help you; it is about being able to "see" circular, interlocking shapes. –  Random O'Reilly Nov 29 '13 at 19:10
    
I see. That actually makes a lot of sense. I'm not a designer, and have no formal training on anything design related, but I'm always interested on things like this. –  Buzu Nov 29 '13 at 23:53
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2 Answers

In all kinds of drawing, a formalised methodology has been attempted for centuries (ref. The Vitruvian man). Rules and guidelines for proportions of the human body etc. have been drawn out for the use in architecture and art (and in some cases to hunt for the magic golden section). This, in a way, is an engineering approach to imagery: laying down basic guidelines. The examples you show kind of refers to that tradition.

enter image description here

My guess is that the drawings you show are partly "reversed engineered" - someone doodled a lot, and then afterwards reconstructed the (seemingly sequential) process. I am not saying they did not work with circles in mind, they clearly did, but just pushing circles around in photoshop is probably not the way to go.

In this case, the resulting images are stylised animals; note that they are animals that are roundish by nature. I doubt you would find a similar image of - say - a horse or a snake :-)

If you want to make stuff like this, my suggestion would be as much "mindless" doodling as you have time for. I cannot stress the importance of doodling enough. There should be more doodling in the world :-)

   

enter image description here

Edit: Albrecht Dürer (bow to the master! ) reconstructed latin letters. Note that circles are prominent:

enter image description here

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I'm not sure both techniques are the same, but I could be wrong. However, I think you make a good point when you say that "just pushing circles around in photoshop is probably not the way to go." I spent quite some time yesterday trying to make an "s" shape just pushing circles around in inkscape, and it definitely didn't take me anywhere. I will take your advice and doodle all the things!!!. Thanks a lot for your detailed response. Those images really add a lot of value to it, and they make me wonder even more about geometrically based drawing. –  Buzu Nov 30 '13 at 10:05
    
Glad to be of help. Doodling is the thing! :-) If you want to take it a little further (not related to your original question, but relevant to geometrically based art), take a look at math craft mathcraft.wonderhowto.com –  Random O'Reilly Nov 30 '13 at 10:26
    
oh, and by the way, my personal opinion is that it is not so much design as such, as it is the result of seeing. –  Random O'Reilly Nov 30 '13 at 10:28
    
Oh, and you touch on an interesting point; letters. Forgive me if my answers becomes more and more derivative, but see edit in my answer above. –  Random O'Reilly Nov 30 '13 at 10:41
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Thanks, I'm going to look into the subject of math craft. It sounds interesting. Thanks for adding that image of the letters. I like typography, and type design. –  Buzu Nov 30 '13 at 20:31
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It's called 'sketching'. At least, the concept of using basic geometric shapes to create a 'wireframe' to fill in with detail is.

If it leans more towards hard geometry, one could perhaps call it reminiscent of CAD or engineering drawings.

Either way, what you see on Dribbble is often done after the fact. You'll see lots of logos and icons with these guide lines shown that were actually added after the fact merely for aesthetic presentation purposes.

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I see, I don't really see the point of that. It makes sense if you use the geometric figures to guide your lines or to even make them, but if you just add the circles after you are done, it makes little sense to me. I guess people like to show off that way. I liked the idea of using the circles as an aid, rather than just some sugar on top of the design. My guess was that they sketched something and then they perfected the curves using circles. –  Buzu Dec 2 '13 at 19:16
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It made more sense historically when we tended to use more mechanical means for illustrating...pen, ink board, drafting tables, etc. I suppose it's a bit like the 'print grunge texture' you see on a lot of Dribbble work. It's, of course, purely faux, as it is all done via computers, but some people like to bring in the analog past as part of the aesthetic style. –  DA01 Dec 2 '13 at 20:06
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I've followed the suggestion made by @boblet and I've found that it actually helps a lot to use circles while doodling, so I think that in fact those circles we see there were used in the process of designing the illustrations rather than being added after the fact just to show off, but I could be wrong. However, it does make sense that in the past this techniques were more used by designers since most of design was made by hand. I've found that starting with pen and paper is still a good thing to do though. It helps out a lot, rather than just starting in inkscape right away. Thanks! –  Buzu Dec 3 '13 at 19:24
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