When the BBC filmed the show “AutumnWatch” from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center* here in New Hampshire in 2018, one of the segments was an interview with renowned wild bird illustrator, David Shibley. He made the remark, “A drawing is a picture of our understanding. If you don’t understand something, you can’t draw it.” That is exactly how I feel about drawing—and prototyping for that matter: the act of building helps you understand and flesh out the product better. Drawing and prototyping, you are getting to truly know the subject.
When going off on my own to pin down a subject, I often start in pencil. It is in essence a plan. Pencil is forgiving and you can correct your “misunderstandings.” Only once I have the idea in place, will I then start adding the commitment of marker, as you can see started on this drawing of a car engine part come to life:
And here our pal, Golem, fully committed to marker over the original pencil:
Even when working on the tee-shirt design for the Stanford Code in Place project, I started with a more complicated composition idea. But there was limit on number of colors and the deadline was short, so massive simplification kicked in:
*I happen to be a docent at the Center as well!
Here I am holding a broad-winged hawk.