“Aesthetics are pretty important when it comes to products,” O’Laughlin said, “because if something doesn’t look nice, no one’s going to want it, even if it does work pretty well.”
While the developing artist is a seasoned veteran when it comes to computer-aided designs, he’s also intent on developing more traditional skills. During the current school year, he’s studying drafting at Crawford County Career & Technical Center and next year will be entering the school’s two-year commercial art lab, where his father serves as instructor.
“Drafting is very important,” O’Laughlin said. “We started out with pencil, paper, ruler, protractor and all that stuff on the drafting board. Computer software can pretty much do the drawing for you, but it’s really good to know everything about setting up a drawing — line weight and everything like that, so you know what’s going on when it comes to the computer software. You know if you did anything wrong.”
Drafting, also known as mechanical drawing, helps with the perception of objects, he continued. For example, like when you take an isometric view from a worksheet and you have to make a 3-D drawing on the board, being able to draft it yourself “really helps you look at each part of it and where everything goes,” O’Laughlin said.
In addition, “starting off on the drafting board really helps a lot when it comes to CAD software like AutoCad,” he said, echoing a familiar theme. “It’s really good to have a solid learning of everything so you can basically do everything better.”
Between now and the end of his high school career, O’Laughlin is looking forward to competing in the annual RoboBOTS competition — his team’s entry finished fifth this year — and perhaps making a connection with a local tool shop.
“I really do like the physical manufacturing process of product design,” he said. “We have a few machines at the school like a mill and a lathe, and I really do enjoy using those. It’s a good time.”
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.