MasterClass – Es Devlin Teaches Turning Ideas Into Art

MasterClass – Es Devlin Teaches Turning Ideas Into Art

Designer and artist Es Devlin teaches you her approach to creating powerful visual stories and cultivating creativity in any form.

Lesson Plan

  1. Meet Your Instructor
    Es welcomes students, explains the intent of her class, and gives an overview of the lessons students will learn.
  2. Research, Then Sketch
    Es sheds light on one of the most important elements of creating art: the audience and the power of the audience’s physiological responses as a collective body. Es walks you through the audience’s experience at the Adele World Tour.
  3. Scale Models
    Es breaks down the genesis of her ideas and explains that for her every project begins with research. She also demonstrates the power of sketching and making a connection between the mind and the hand to see what worlds begin to emerge.
  4. Scale and Architecture
    Es explains how three-dimensional modeling has inspired her since she was a child, and how models can help a worldbuilder play with the idea of scale and perspective. She also demonstrates how she takes sketches and shapes them into 3D models.
  5. Storytelling With Light
    Es delves deeper into the conversation around scale, one of her key components. She shows how she practices with scale in her studio and reveals how you can play with the scale of objects to elicit a sense of surprise, overwhelm, and delight.
  6. Mazes and Patterns
    Es demonstrates how students can tell a story and evoke emotion through a simple line of light. She explains that ideas have an architecture to them and how both the presence of light and the absence of it can create a narrative arc.
  7. The Audience
    Es invites you to look for systems in nature and architecture as sources of inspiration for your art. Gain an understanding of the symbiotic relationship between art and science and expand your ability to build worlds using patterns in nature.
  8. Aperture and the Cube
    Es explores her love of the cube and explains how and why she uses it so frequently. She shows students how the cube can become a toy box of apertures, creating entries into unexpected worlds and tapping into the rush of discovery.
  9. Creative Leadership and Collaboration
    Es reveals her approach to creative collaboration, both with her team and the artists who have commissioned her work. She teaches you the kind of leadership that takes place at all phases of a project, from early meetings to building a successful team.
  10. The Weeknd
    Es selects one of her favorite live concert performances with The Weeknd—from his Legend of the Fall Tour—and breaks down how she and her collaborators translated a flight path literally into an origami folding aircraft above the audience’s heads.
  11. Memory Palace
    Es breaks down the inspiration, execution, and notable details of Memory Palace: a vast chronological landscape and 18-meter-wide sculpture mapping some of history’s most transformational moments over the past 73,000 years.
  12. The Lehman Trilogy
    Es discusses one of her most beloved theater sets—for The Lehman Trilogy—a rotating glass box masquerading as the archetypal modern office. Learn how this skeletal structure became a dynamic force that drives the characters, action, and plot.
  13. Passion Projects
    Es breaks down some of her creations and explains that the works she makes normally emerge out of a worldbuilding process. Sometimes these worlds exist already, as the words in a script. At other times, they need to be constructed from scratch.
  14. Sustainable Art
    In this lesson, Es underscores the need for sustainable art and the importance of using art to communicate imperative truths. She talks about some of the many ways she is starting to incorporate sustainability into her work.
  15. Your Career Is Your Story
    Es reflects on lessons she has learned from her career and advises you to realize that each job you have is only an iteration. She shares practical takeaways for making a career out of set design and her process for overcoming self-doubt.

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