Albert Einstein once said if you can’t explain something to your grandmother then you don’t truly understand it yourself. Fortunately I spared my grandmother from any half baked interpretations of the theory of relativity. (I did, however, show her my drawings and she was impressed).
It’s always been important to me to understand how something works or is put together when I’m drawing it. As a technical illustrator I think it is essential to be familiar with the mechanics of a bicycle lock or the geometry behind calculating the number of parsecs between two stars or maybe the physics behind the buoyant force of water. Just as writers should write about what they know, I think it is fundamental for an artist to grasp the technical aspects of what they are illustrating.
If I am creating a series of instructional images for a product
or system I strive to put myself in the users shoes through videos and developmental sketches shared with the client. If an understanding of more esoteric matters like astronomy, chemistry or medicine becomes important then I can distill that information from books or the endless resources found on the internet.
I have illustrated countless technical articles in magazines, designed and illustrated many instructional and technical manuals and I have even illustrated entire scientific textbooks.
These samples of my work demonstrate how certain fairly dry subjects can be the catalysts for some very visually exciting images which in turn can make the educational process that much more successful and enjoyable.