Sasha Prood, an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design (BA '07), recently released her latest book Pencil Workshop, which promises to "develop your drawing skills with 50 experiments." Prood, an illustrator and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY, is also the author of several books and her work has been featured in books, magazines, and blogs, including ELLE Interiör, Apartment Therapy, and Oh Joy!
Pencil Workshop is the final edition of a medium-focused art workshop book series written by Prood and produced with Abrams. The first book in this series was Watercolor Workshop: Learn to Paint in 100 Experiments (2018), developed along with three corresponding ancillary products, a Watercolor Journal, a Watercolor Notebook, and Watercolor Notecards. The following year Marker Workshop: Learn to Ink in 50 Experiments (2019) was released.
Pencil Workshop starts off with the very basics of sketching, and works its way up to more complex skills, making it accessible to every level of creative from beginner to professional.
"This book is made up of 50 small experiments, starting with the fundamental drawing marks, including hatching and stippling," said Prood. "Then expanding upon those marks, texture building technique, like shading and lifting, are developed. Finally, moving on to the details of controlling textures more precisely, Pencil Workshop introduces a range of gradient techniques, followed by contrast techniques.
"With all of these new skills a creative can move forward, finding their own personal style, and drawing whatever they dream up."
After graduating from CMU, Prood moved to New York City and started working in-house with a few different retail brands, developing their marketing design materials.
"At this point, I also started to explore hand-lettering and illustration, and built up my freelance career, eventually going full-time," said Prood. "While working as a freelancer I completed the Type@Cooper font design program at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. I then went for my Master's degree in design entrepreneurship at the School of Visual Arts' MFA Design program. After graduating from SVA I've been authoring my book series with Abrams, teaching a variety of classes, and collaborating on a range of freelance projects."
When reflecting on her time at the School of Design, it was her interactions with the faculty that Prood treasures the most.
"I truly enjoyed my time at CMU," continued Prood. "My first introduction to the programs was meeting the wonderful Mark Mentzer at a portfolio day on Tyler School of Art and Architecture's campus in Philadelphia, PA. His welcoming and supportive approach with students was certainly one of the reasons I applied to the program. Working with Dan Boyarski was always a treat—I fondly remember doing freelance work for the School of Design under his guidance. Charlee Brodsky was a wonderful advisor, helping me improve my photography skills, as I completed a self-initiated course. It was always fun hanging out with Dylan Vitone in the printer lab, and gaining his tips and tricks on photo retouching, printing colors properly, and bookmaking. And of course, getting design and career guidance from Stacie Rohbach was always welcomed!"
More than just memories, Prood's education at the School of Design is still a vital part of her day-to-day work.
"I use the foundations of graphic design and photography that I learned at CMU on a regular basis in my everyday work," added Prood. "My understanding of the design grid, type do's and don'ts, color approaches, lighting for photography, etc. all stems from my time at the School of Design.
The School of Design's Communication Design program was a wonderful way to be introduced to the world of graphic design and with the diversity of the student body, programs, and majors at CMU, it was also an excellent place to discover that design is not meant to live in a vacuum. Design touches every other field, and having a broad range of opportunities opens your mind, allowing you to develop an interest in learning about the world, which will only serve you well in the pursuit of design excellence."