Peter Goes lives in Belgium, where he works as a freelance illustrator. He has also worked as a stage manager and studied animation at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent, Belgium.
Timeline Science and Technology is his latest book . It is a visual introduction to our planet and society told through the history of our greatest inventions and the technology that has changed the world.
Where did the idea for the Timeline books come from? What was the spark?
I wanted to make an up-to-date version of a timeline because at school, timelines helped me a great deal to understand history. Those simple lines with dates and pictures gave me a better overview and understanding of history than text. It is a way to create order in a sometimes-chaotic string of events. It helps you see similarities, influences and coincidences.
How important is history to you?
My grandfather gave me big heavy history books when I was little filled with wonderful stories and adventures. History is very important, we are all a product of our past either by choice or coincidence.
Do you have a particular reader of these books in your mind?
Not really, I start with an open, zero-knowledge state of mind and then I get excited to share what I have “discovered”. I hope that my ah-ha moments are interesting to my readers, regardless of their age.
How did you draw the illustrations for the book—what is your process?
I try to visualise the page in my head, and then I make a rough sketch on paper. When I work it out on the computer I see that with every stroke it becomes something different from what I first thought it would be. The result is something of a well-planned surprise.
Are there any particular sources you used and loved during the research?
A lot of history books, some boring and some thrilling, podcasts, and the internet. I like the internet because you can delve deeper and deeper into the information and research. Most of the time I’ll end up with material I can’t use because it’s too detailed or niche information, and I have to rewind to more general and useable facts. I hope that my books still contain those triggers to search for more information and pieces of the history puzzle.
What are some of your favourite people or discoveries in Timeline Science and Technology?
The way internet has transformed everyday life is amazing. The internet is now embedded in every aspect of our day-to-day lives. The internet is about 50 years old and I often wonder what the next 50 years will bring. An increasingly virtual world interwoven with the real world will be a big factor. Maybe a new discovery will change everything? We’ll see.
Has anything in your world view changed in the process of publishing these books?
That a 1000 years is not that long; it’s about 30 generations. The huge difference in the way we live now compared with the past shows we can’t fathom what life will be 30 generations in the future.
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