Illustrator: Robert Proch

QV: Ian Francis

Proch’s work includes large scale works, such as murals 3 or 4 stories high, and wall-art. The illustrations are extremely dynamic even when the subject is not moving (eg: “Different Vibes” Contributing to his style are:

  • Many broken areas of colour, these might be seen as reflections, highlights, light and shade, motion, texture,… but they serve both to build and to fragment the image.
  • Pallet: Carefully constructed and restricted pallets are used for each image. From the basic colours many tints, shades and mixtures are used with blacks and whites.
  • The pictures create their own geometry – the internal logic of each defines 3 dimensional axis that may defy photo-real logic – curving away into the distance (eg: The dynamic of the images are not a slave to the 3d interpretation, rather they are heeded enough to make sense of the image. After that the dynamic takes over and goes where a strict 3d interpretation could not.
  • Emotion: these illustrations contain emotion in their gestalt. Emotions on faces are a major contribution but also the dynamic of the picture as a whole supports the energy of those emotions. ‘Conversation’ takes a detail – the chequered tablecloth – and uses it to create a whole environment that resonates with the perceived pleasure of the conversation.

A number of interviews with Proch reveal fragments of ow he works

  • Video of mural painting reveals major structure mapped out – in this case two concentric circles that will define the head space.
  • laying down a paler ‘tone’ – rollers to make blocks of colour – from the start these blocks are not uniform tones – they fade across their span – red to orange, orange to yellow-orange etc.
  • Addition of highlights a lowlights to make the image
  • Uses spray cans for the latter – perhaps using different nozzels to achieve wide/fast/fine/slow spray rates. Hold spraycan close to the surface of the wall – 2inches maybe.



  • Influnces: “Francis Bacon, Claude Monet, Miles Davis, Sat One, William Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Edward Hopper, Józef Brandt, Boards of Canada, Jerzy Duda- Gracz”

Approaching the style I have generated some initial sketches that determine some raw material – the subject – to be used in the illustration.

002_Page_3Speedboats – full of energy, shape and lines.

002_Page_4These boats have lines – the paintwork, an illustration in itself – that is supposed to make them go faster… because they are ‘go-faster’ stripes, obviously.

002_Page_5Speedboats have drivers – they wear sunglasses and are sometimes undercover VICE cops with cool hair and good all-American square jaws.

So far these are just natural representations – to approach Proch’s style these need to be taken beyond literal visual representation – shapes and lines to evoke the senses present in the activity/scene in the picture.

The speed boat is…

  • Speed
  • Excitement
  • Bounce
  • Exhilaration
  • Waves
  • Spray
  • Sexy
  • Stylish

002_Page_6Using the boat shape I tried to imagine the motives from the above list and make marks that represents them – the series of squares that recede behind the boat like a trail. Curved shapes based on waves curl off the drawings.

002_Page_6In this view the bow waves are expressed using the 3-sided shapes off the bows. Eddies in the water in the wake of the boat are expressed using fat shaded lines curving into spirals.

Other lines that are nearly straight project the path of the boat and are like it’s rigidity – we often see speedboats bouncing on the water in action sequences. While the water moves as water does, reshaping, the boat remains absolutely rigid as it moves and turns, never flexing in itself.

The water and the boat are in a dialogue, or a conflict.


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