Christopher Gros

Observation & Conclusion – Technical Encyclopedic Drawings

This short project is about observing your surroundings
and drawing your own conclusions.

Therefore, I went outside to a nearby park to gather as many natural things I could find that I did not know anything or at least not a lot about. The idea is to observe, examine and deconstruct these things by drawing them in detail. Following this, I describe them.

from Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini


What is important here is that this is not about scientific accuracy, but quite the contrary. It should be fun and delightful to make yourself familiar with these objects and to describe them. I do not care if the descriptions are logical, rational, feasible or even possible, as long as they are unexpected and inspiring.

In a nutshell, it is my goal to look at things as an amateur, as someone who just loves doing a certain thing. Since botany is such a differentiated field already, it seemed impossible to become an actual expert, which encouraged my to embrace naïveté.

Now the first object I encountered was this tree bud which kind of looks like a maggot as well.

Which I started exploring by deconstructing and drawing it. Doing this, I got to understand its structure fairly well and stumbled upon a lot of exciting details. It almost felt like a little creature at some point.

Eventually I wanted to arrange some of my drawings into an overview. I wanted it to be abstract and naturalistic at the same time and incorporate my thoughts and associations, too.
I decided to make it look like a technical drawing because it feels natural to me to work in this manner. Besides, the juxtaposition of these naturalistic sketches and the technical observations helped to create a look & feel I really enjoy.


Update 04.04.17

Upon reflecting with the group I decided to incorporate some more technical drawing elements in order to make it feel even more realistic. Hence, I came up with a name for this kind of illustration: Technical Encyclopedic Drawing

My next task will be to build on this process with a whole series of Technical Encyclopedic Drawings portraying lots of very different objects.


Update 07.04.17

The next object I studied was a chestnut I found. I kind of already knew this one but never really took a closer look. So I decided to give it a try anyway.

Even a seemingly boring thing like a chest nut provided many details to explore. I drew it from a lot of different angles and even cut it in half and observed the how it looked like on the inside. It actually felt like a little device I reverse engineered.


  1. I like this approach of “naive” exploration for various reasons which we might want to discuss in more detail in class. What makes your project description so easy to understand and engaging is that you state clearly what your design objective is and combine images with text forming a clear narrative structure. And of course using the technical drawing – stemming from an engineering tradition – to depict something organic is both funny and an inspiring way to juxtapose natural form with human technological thinking. Well done!

    1. Thank you for your critique, Ralph! This juxtaposition is exactly what I was going for in this project. I even tried to enhance it by adding more technical elements such as dimensions and scales. I’m looking forward to seeing how other objects might turn out using this process.

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