Every once in a while, a book comes along that reminds us how very powerful the act of honoring one’s story by making a book can be. To Draw is to See is such a book.
In the interview below, Fridolin shines light on the story behind the story. He also shares some great insights on creativity and the power of getting your story out there – advice and inspiration we can all use.
Blurb: Can you tell us a little about Norman and why you made this particular book?
Fridolin: Norm was a well-respected teacher at the world-renowned Art Center College of Design where he taught industrial design and drawing classes across many disciplines. In many ways he was – and is – a legend there, with over 20 years of experience and thousands of students that he influenced.
Norm had an exceptional passion for animals and was fueled by curiosity. Everywhere we went, he would always get out his pen and start drawing on napkins and would soon be the center of attention. He was really a natural talent and we often talked about how he should write a book on learning how to draw since he was so good at it. Well, he never had a chance to do that, so after we cleaned out his studio and found all of his original drawings we knew we had to share them with the world.
Norm leaves behind a wife and two young sons and together we decided that it might be best to have some of his master drawings published via Blurb. That way we could promote the book quickly and also have all of the proceeds directly go towards the college fund for his boys, Milo and Kian. The content of this book features the drawings he did during his field trips with students to LA-Area zoos and museums.
Blurb: Most people use Blurb to make photo books. Your book features illustrations. Can you speak to why preserving sketches, paintings, and/or illustrations in book form is important?
Fridolin: Norm used to make photocopies of his drawings and give them to students and it was a bit of a chaotic process. To have them all organized in one place makes his work accessible and it becomes an inspiring testament to his talent.
There is something magical about a book. Even though I have all of his work in digital format it is just not the same as seeing it printed and bound together nicely.
Blurb: How has making a book helped keep Norm’s love of creativity alive?
Fridolin: Norm was all about being creative and helping others and we very much hope that this book will help inspire the artists and designers of the future to start creating. I often tell my students that the difference between a creative and a non-creative person is that the creative one creates. It is that simple. By doing we expose ourselves to learning and by learning we improve automatically.
I have often observed how students who “just start” are often much more successful later on in life. That was also the philosophy for this book when we were looking for options on how to best get Norm’s work in the hands of others: Blurb was the fastest option coupled with the best quality. Instead of a potentially long process of finding a publisher we were able to do everything ourselves and share his drawings with everyone he influenced – and there were a lot of people as we found out.
Blurb: What bookmaking tool did you use to make the book and what is your top bookmaking tip?
Fridolin: I used Adobe® InDesign® together with the supplied Blurb templates in Blurb’s PDF to Book workflow. It was really easy to lay the entire book out and to make sure the flow was correct.
My main tip in making books: Keep it simple and let the content speak for itself.
Blurb: Is there anything that you’d like to add that we didn’t ask?
Fridolin: We hope that at some point in the future we can make Norm’s entire body of work into a large-format book. He has hundreds of pages of drawings from animals to products and from the practical to the non-sensical. For the time being,we are very thankful that we were able to showcase a curated selection of some of his most inspiring drawings from the classroom via Blurb. I know he would have been very proud to see his work in a book.
One minor piece of information: The last page that features a fish was drawn on a single piece of paper the night before he was shot. It was his last drawing. The quote below that says “You made ripples that changed our lives…” was from one of his students, and we felt it was very much true for all of us.
Blurb: Thanks, Fridolin, and thank you so much for creating this beautiful tribute to your friend.