Invention Illustrations Before Prototypes
If you are trying to get financial help in producing prototypes, it is often worthwhile to do an invention illustration so people can understand your idea,
We are visual people with a better understanding of what we see rather than what we read or hear about. If you have a brilliant invention idea, you may need to convey its usefulness before the prototype is developed. That means you’ll need some kind of imagery of what it may look like and what it does. Product illustration is the visualization of your idea, a conceptual representation. It is used to show and tell before you have the actual product to demonstrate. Eventually product photography will take its place, but for now illustration will do a great job simplifying the subject, making it easily understood.
The best time for product illustration is right away when you need a visual. You couldn’t send a product developer a flyer full of only letters and words. That would do no justice to the idea. An illustration will generate almost as much interest as a photo, so put it on a brochure to send out if you want to create some buzz early on or if you want to test the waters to see what kind of attention your idea generates. It could even be the drawing that you show to an engineer to help him or her decide on how to produce the prototype. They have to base their calculations off of something.
If you don’t have a graphic artist contact consider contacting:
Different Options for Illustrations
There are multiple ways to illustrate a product: either with a computer or traditionally by hand. Any of the was listed here will work.
Computer illustration is the most common and can sometimes be quicker with a more realistic look. There are a few different illustration software programs that are the standard in use. Some work strictly in 3 dimensions while others act as more precise drawing tools. They can provide all sorts of textures and effects to make the product look alive.
Rendering By Hand
Rendering by hand can be done with pencils, paints, pen and ink or any art materials. The choice really depends on the product, like a soft and fuzzy stuffed animal, which could get that look through colored chalks. Charcoal will give an aged, hard look while watercolors would create more delicate artwork. Before anything, you’ll need to decide on your product’s branding, or its personality, that you want to convey to your audience. That will help determine the illustration style.
Multiple Viewing Angles
Most likely you’ll need at least a couple views of the product to show its dynamics. The basics are front, back, side, top and bottom. There should also be an angled view to show the product more 3 dimensionally, which could also look up or down at the product. The views used just need to make sense with the most important details of the subject at the forefront. If your product moves during use, you might want to show your product
A few more variations to reveal more detail are the cutaway view and the exploded view. If used, a couple basic views should also accompany them.
The cutaway view takes away external areas of the product or makes them transparent in order to see the inner parts. This allows someone to understand the internal workings of the invention in relation to its outward appearance.
The exploded view is literal in the sense that the parts of an object have exploded in an orderly manner. They are floating and separated slightly to show their relationship and how they fit together. This type of drawing shouldn’t ever be the main image to represent the product. It may do a good job explaining how the product works or how it’s constructed, but it doesn’t do an adequate job showing what exactly the subject is.
Going beyond product illustration, there is a style that is more complex and technically accurate, hence its name: technical illustration. The two styles are similar and can cross over categories, but they are used differently. Technical illustration includes all of the details, workings and parts drawn in perfect proportion and perspective for precise interpretation. Think more like careful drafting. If needed, it would usually be developed more toward or after engineering. If your brochure is introducing the product, you may not need an overly detailed image, so something more straightforward would do. However, if your brochure is intended to include assembly instructions or all of the product’s working parts, etc., then technical illustration (or an exploded view) could be the way to go. And when the product starts manufacturing and selling, technical illustration may be needed for its instruction manual.
Another step further is animating the product in use. It is an expensive process, but 3D animation does wonders for a demonstration. A good animator can program physics into the moving image creating an accurate representation of how your product would work and move.
Producing your invention’s illustration shouldn’t be difficult. You’ve spent time thinking about what this product looks like and how it works, so you’ll have a strong mental image and probably plenty of rough sketches to work from. You may not be a great artist or you may have no idea what software to work with, but there are professionals to help. They have the listening skills needed to translate your ideas into pictures and ultimately this drawing will translate the product’s ingenuity to your audience with smooth efficiency.