Mastering Design, Is there a Shortcut?



Yes, but it’s not what you might think. Design, like almost any other creative act involves some fundamentals. My wife Barb loves to paint. She’d humbly say she’s still paying her dues, but she’s put the time and effort into understanding color. I’m always amazed that she uses just four tubes of paint – red, yellow, blue, and white to create any color. And she does it almost without a thought.

So is there a shortcut to good design? No, if you are looking for it in some new touch screen whizzbobble. Yes, if you think there has got to be a better way than endlessly stumbling around in the fog trying to latch onto something that might resonate. Truth is, the shortcut is putting in the time and effort to understand the fundamentals. Once learned those basic skills become enough of who you are that they spark the intuition.



If you would like to awaken that intuition within, I have two workshops lined up in coming weeks you won’t want to miss. July 11th & 12th at Richard Grell’s in Hudson Ohio,  and Aug 8 & 9 at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren Maine.

George R. Walker

About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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7 Responses to Mastering Design, Is there a Shortcut?

  1. Tom Walker says:

    George, good morning. I am new to woodworking and want to excel with hand tools. I have your book, By Hand and Eye. The instruction course mentioned below I would attend if it were not so far away. I live in West Texas. Is there a chance this course will be recorded and made for sale on a DVD?


    Tom Walker

    Lubbock, TX


    • walkerg says:

      No plans right now for a DVD. The ideal way to learn this is in a workshop setting where you can be part of a group dynamic. That really speeds the learning curve. Jim Tolpin and I do understand not everyone can attend a workshop so we have been busy writing a design workbook to fill in that gap. It’s due for release later this Fall from Lost Art Press.


  2. Speaking of DVD’s…should we take a look at your Lie-Nielsen DVDs before attending? I’m looking forward to November!

    • walkerg says:

      Your call on the DVD’s. Helpful but not necessary. Would be good if between now and then you pulled together a folder with some pictures of furniture you are drawn to. During the workshop you will see those pieces with a new set of eyes.


  3. Bill B. says:

    June 25-2015
    Good Day George,
    That is a very nice looking pair of dividers in the above.
    Have you ever thought of making your own?
    If you have, check out Erica Moody’s article on how to make your own, in the current issue of “Wooden Boat Magazine”.
    I think that you will enjoy seeing her work.
    Next, Many thanx for sharing your knowledge, it is appreciated.
    Warmest regards,
    Bill B.

    • walkerg says:

      The dividers above are indeed splendid. Typical example of 19th century instrument making at it’s finest. I have thought a good deal about making dividers. I’ve never been interested in collecting things but I do have a soft spot for quality vintage dividers and drafting tools. Thanks for the reference, I’ll check it out.


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