Balancing Mobility and Immobility
As workers, our desires to increase our work production in the work space tend to bring tools and materials closer to us to the point where everything is within reach. The resulting space capsule effect is fun to design, fun to build and ultimately even fun to look at. Space saving is also essential toward solving square footage restrictions, and who doesn’t have that? We certainly did when we set up to do Christmas ornaments in our small two car garage back in Phoenix. (More Soon)
Illustration or drawing is a part of everything I do as a working artist, but it goes beyond that into all parts of life – everything from brainstorming, problem solving, communicating ideas, or preparing for any project… things like organizing a workspace, a remodeling project, or of course designing a glass etching. I’m always grabbing paper and pencil, as a way to organize thoughts – anything from a simple idea for the yard, to capturing a difficult to describe item from the imagination, or even something remembered from a dream, and that’s the best thing really – bringing into view something that cannot otherwise be seen.
It does go into three basic overlapping directions – illustration as a tool for thinking, as a tool for communication, and also as a finished form of art. The latter is the one I rarely get to enjoy, and have explored the least. Illustrating Meet Ron Paul was a major leap forward in that direction. It taught me exactly what I needed to know – that illustrating books is something worth looking into. I’m looking forward to pursuing it more when I get the chance.
Re: Meet Ron Paul by Matt Blankenship, Published 2013. Illustrations by Ron Branch
The style of the illustrations for Meet Ron Paul was mostly straightforward pencil drawing with some intentional use of line-work to bend it subtly toward a somewhat cartoonish look. Also there was some exploration of affecting a blurred depth of field in some of them. Although it is obviously not a quick looking style, ironically it was the fastest way for me to go about getting the job done.
Initially, in wanting to come up with a speedy more minimalistic approach due to the situation that the end of the campaign season was fast approaching, several weeks were basically wasted, by failing to come up with a look that I liked. Micky suggested I quit worrying about minimalism and just draw them as I would anything else. At that point the whole project went into steady motion.
Another huge thing I learned came directly from the circumstantial experience of working with the author Matt Blankenship. It was just by chance I believe that I got to see the exact best situation for me personally to be in for creativity to flow freely. There were distinct factors in this. First of all he was almost saintly in his demeanor while the project moved along more slowly than we wanted. All the while he tactfully applied a steady pressure, but never once sounded frustrated in any way. I was highly impressed and very appreciative of that. Secondly, it was the full freedom I had in the project. Lastly, and most importantly, I was given a list of the illustrations he needed, 27 of them, all of which were named and briefly described in very brief and general terms. Probably unknowingly, Matt had put me in the exact best situation for allowing the perfect flow of creative energy for getting the job done, and it helped me to identify this as a universally best approach in all areas of art that I work in. The key to it all was the list, that the illustrations were “titled”. Like a mechanism, I can apply this to everything from general writing, to music production. For example, if I am going to write a song, and I happen to have the title for the song first, it’s like I have the whole song also. It just comes with it somehow. So looking at the title “Ron Paul as a paper boy” – that is not a problem. Whereas, if the task had been to “make an illustration for these pages that talk about Ron Paul’s work experience as a kid”… well, that could open up so many more possibilities. The title approach leads to much more specific and immediate imagery.