Digital class 8. Learning experience

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Learning experience


Hello! Welcome to our last session on Selected Design Themes II. In the same way that we have observed that a Marie-Louise helps to improve the presentation of a two-dimensional work, in this class we will examine how to show a model professionally. We will learn how to build a model base that will allow us to enhance the model that we made in the last session, while developing our skills to build a model.

We will review the materials and tools that are necessary to draw, cut and assemble a model (not forgetting spray painting), which are like those necessary to make a model base. We will look at some suggestions on the size of a base and study the procedure to build it, highlighting the structure that is required for the base to keep its shape. We will learn how this structure is made up of different types of supports evenly distributed on the bottom surface of the base. The features of the supports will be explained in detail in different ways so that the procedure is clear.

We will learn that the base of a model must be accompanied by other elements, such as the base and the information box, which improve the presentation of a model. We will see its characteristics and some recommendations to get the best results.

On the other hand, throughout this course we have studied color theory; color psychology; two-dimensional techniques such as colored pencils, markers, and collage; how to assemble and present our two-dimensional works. To close our course, we will practice all these acquired knowledge, carrying out a series of activities.

We wish you every success in this last session, which will undoubtedly be useful to review all that we have learned and to develop the required skills to convey visual messages in an efficient way. Let us get started.

Content developement

Learning experience

In the fifth session of this course, we pointed out that doing a good two-dimensional job is not enough. We must take care of how it is presented so that our message is well received by the observer. We learned to mount our drawings, paintings, or photographs in a Marie-Louise, which enhances our work. Similarly, a well-crafted model should have a presentation that «frames» our work. In three dimensions, this can be achieved with a base.

Making the model base involves using the same technique that we have previously studied to build a model. The material and tools that you will need to draw the base is like what we have used before: illustration paper, 2B pencil, gum eraser, steel ruler, as well as a graduated and beveled set square. This time we do not require an architect’s scale because the base is not a representation of the real world, but only a support for our work. We will not need a compass nor a protractor because we will make a rectangular base.

The tools needed to cut the base are like the ones we used before, such as an X-Acto knife, a cutting mat, and a nail file. Again, since we will not be dividing the paper along a circumference, a circle cutter is not required.

The fundamental material and tools to assemble the base are: newspaper to protect the work area, light gray spray, dark gray spray, white glue, a wooden toothpick and a set square (the same that we used during the drawing of the base ).

The base must raise the model from the surface on which it is placed (table or desk), so we suggest making a 2 cm high base. In addition, the base must not be too large or too fair compared to the size of the model, but it must have dimensions that allow the model to be appreciated. We recommend, in the case of our model (which has a maximum of 12cm in any of its dimensions), to create a 20 x 25 cm width base.

Image 1. Diagram of the base.

The procedure to build the base is:

  • Draw on illustration paper a 20 x 25 cm piece; two 25 x 1.85cms pieces (which correspond to 2cms minus the thickness of the medium illustration paper, that is around 1.5mm); five 19.7 x 1.85 cm pieces (the length comes from considering 20cms minus the thickness of the paper at each end)
  • Cut the drawn pieces following the recommendations seen in session 6.
  • Since the base will be one single color, it can be totally assembled from the beginning. First, the 20 x 25 cm surface base must be glued to the two 25 x 1.85 cm pieces on the two long sides of the base. Then, two 19.7 x 1.85 cm pieces should be glued on the two short sides of the base.

At this point it is very important to consider that the base must have a structure that prevents it from deforming. This structure will be integrated, in this case, by two main supports and several secondary supports. The main supports will consist of gluing transversely, on the underside of the base, two of the 19.7 x 1.85 cm pieces. These supports must be evenly distributed along the base. For the secondary supports, the last 19.7 x 1.85 cm piece is used, which will be cut into trapezoids split in half, as shown in figure 15. we must make sure that the secondary supports have two right angles, one of which must join the surface of the base with a secondary support. In addition, the secondary supports must be placed alternately, as shown in figure 16.

Image 2. Scheme to understand graphically how to create 2 secondary supports from a rectangle.
Image 3. Scheme of the main and secondary supports distribution on the bottom surface of the base.
  • Once the base has been assembled, it can be spray painted dark gray according to the procedure indicated in session 7. It is not necessary to paint the bottom of the base, as it will not be visible.

There are two elements that must be placed on the base: the overlay and the information box. In our case, the overlay will be 18 x 18 cm and the information box will be 4 x 18 cm. These elements will be arranged as shown in figure 17.

Image 4. Layout of the base and the information box at the top of the base.

The overlay and the information box must be separated from the base by a couple of millimeters, so they cannot be glued directly on the base, but they must adhere to some pieces of illustration paper and these pieces, in turn, stick together to the base. Cutouts of any shape and size can be used, taking care to distribute them evenly so that the entire surface has a support. Also, we should avoid placing them near the edge so that they are not visible. Finally, it is recommended to paint the overlay light gray. The information box can be printed on bond paper, including all the data of the object that is being represented, such as the scale (when it comes to the model of a building, the north point must also be included, a symbol that allows us to indicate the orientation); as well as the data of the person who made the model. The print must be pasted on illustration paper of the same size; the illustration paper on the cutouts; and cutouts on the base.

Review the procedure to make a model base in the next video (available with English subtitles): COMO HACER BASE PARA MAQUETAS Y PROYECTOS SIMPLE

Important: We suggest you avoid using scissors. We also recommend you use a wooden toothpick to apply the glue, this way you will get a clean work.

  • How Is a Marie-Louise and a model base similar to each other?
  • How Is model building alike to model base building?
  • What Is the difference between a main and a secondary support?
  • What Is the difference between a base and an overlay?
  • Why did we suggest to paint the base and the overlay with two different types of grey?

Remember the two-dimensional representation techniques and the procedure to make a model that we learned throughout the course, as well as the information related to assembly and presentation to carry out the following assignment.


Now that we have finished this session dedicated to conduct a learning experience, let us review the content of this class.

We learned that in the same way that a Marie-Louise improves the presentation of a drawing, painting or photograph, a model base can help us to enhance a model. We learned that the materials and tools to make a model are like those needed to build a model base. Among them are the illustration paper and a set square to draw the base; the X-Acto knife to cut it; and the glue and the set square to assemble it, in addition to the spray painting, considering that it is a technique that affects the assembly order. 

We mentioned some recommendations on the base size and examined the four-step procedure to build it: drawing, cut, assembly and paint. We highlighted the importance of considering the thickness of the paper in the first two steps; We emphasized the fundamental role of the structure in the assembly, which is made up of main and secondary supports. We also analyzed Its shape, dimensions and position in text and diagrams; and we suggested to paint the base dark gray.

We learned that the overlay and the information box are also elements that help improve the presentation of a model, and we examined a layout proposal. We pointed up the assembly of these two elements, suggesting the use of cutouts to separate them by a couple of millimeters from the top surface of the base. In addition, we observed some recommendations such as the use of light gray spray for the overlay; as well as printing the information box on bond paper.

What we learned about model base making Is Important because we are now able to understand that the presentation of a model should be as taken care of as the presentation of a 2D work. As spectators, we can recognize the effort of a model builder, and as creators, we should keep working beyond the model Itself.

You have finished our last session on Selected Design Themes II! At the University of Guanajuato, we are very proud of the effort you have made during this course. We are sure that what you have learned will be useful to convey visual messages efficiently. Congratulations!

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