Rendering Architectural Elevations

I have created thousands of architectural illustrations, but in each and every one, I try to develop a new technique, explore new ways of using color, or learn something new. This not only keeps the work fresh and interesting, it allows me to grow as an artist and designer.

Creating a ragged edge around the rendered elevation is a technique I use frequently. At first glance it seems simple, but I spend more time on this than you might think. In effect, it creates a negative space in the artwork. Applied carefully, it will create balance, develop focal points, and enhance the motion in the piece.

Blobs of people shaped objects create life and activity while suggesting the scale of the architecture. The lack of detail keeps the focus on the architecture and not on specific characteristics of the people.

Framing a focal point with foreground landscaping will define the artwork’s motion and draw the visitors eye to the main architectural feature. The splash of color in the flowers create a sense of elegance while developing a contrast with the rustic stone.

Depth can be created with lighter colors in the background trees, this is a well known technique. It can also add depth in the foreground, visible in the walkway as it extends towards the viewer. Keep painting and enjoy the experience of trying something new each and every time!

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Concept Design Level of Detail

Concept artwork can serve a variety of purposes, and it is important to provide the level of detail that will accomplish the overall goals. In some cases an elevation with just enough detail to illustrate the design is all that is needed.

This type of illustration can be created in a shorter time frame, and with some color and texture, it can establish the mood or feeling of the intended design. If the final objective is to delineate exact features of the project, a more detailed concept may better accomplish your goal.

This final result can create quite an impact. The artwork, however, takes longer to develop, and because of the level of detail, the design must be much more complete. Either one is very valuable when developing a concept, and selling the design to the parties involved.

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Using Artwork to Achieve Goals

I just had to create a post today, February 29, Leap Day. This opportunity will not come along for another four years! Opportunities are important, and creating specific artwork to accomplish particular goals is always a great opportunity. If you have worked in architecture, you know change is a big part of the vocabulary. I recently had the opportunity to create some project artwork for the second time, the first being created over a year ago. The scope of the project had completely changed since the first renderings. The architect had all new designs. But more importantly, the client had very specific needs.

The review committees as well as people in the community, were very interested in the overall design of the project and how it would impact the streetscape and also the local foot traffic. The landscape architect had spent quite a bit of time designing pedestrian spaces and landscaping to screen the building masses from the roadway. The goal of the artwork was to represent the landscape buffer and show the pedestrian friendly design, while still showing the architectural style of the project. This was a challenge because the landscaping would literally hide the building behind.

My strategy for the artwork revealed itself in several steps. The first was to select a view from the road which was the most relevant to the end viewers and decision makers. The second was to feature one of the major pedestrian spaces in the foreground, creating a warm pedestrian friendly feeling. The most difficult aspect was the landscaping. I showed the most prominent trees and hedges to maintain accuracy with the landscape design. Then I carefully filled in just enough plant material to create the impression of the final landscaping while still allowing the most detailed building features to show through.

The end result was met with very positive reaction. The designers were pleased with the representations of their designs, and the community was quite satisfied with the proposed appearance, and how the design would impact their neighborhood. A creative use of artwork: goals achieved!

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Concept Design Presentation

When presenting concept designs, a little context goes a long way. When working on several candle concepts for an international candle company, I created some virtual sets so the decision makers could see the designs in the way their customers would see them.

One of the categories, seasonal candles, included some Halloween candles. A cozy front porch is the perfect place to display them. I quickly created a 3d front porch and rendered it with the jack-o-lantern candle concepts glowing on the front steps.

Another quick 3d model provided a warm place to display some tabletop candle holders. The background painting was a quick, colorful sketch painted freehand in Photoshop.

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Suggesting Geometry with Shadow

When illustrating architecture, important elements may sometimes not be as visible as desired. This vignette of a larger work shows the trellis that occurs above the entrance drive. The posts are obviously visible as well as the ends of the trellis, but those features do not create the ambiance of the space.

The answer is to illustrate the trellis and the space it defines by introducing the shadows cast by the geometry. Even though the trellis members are not visible, the shadows create their existence in the viewer’s mind. Using a little creativity with the shadows you can also enhance the perspective by defining the locations of nearby surfaces.

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Motion in Artwork

Creating a path in which the viewers eye will move can be done with color, texture or lines. It is a great way to center their focus when they look at your work. Red is always an immediate attention grabber and so are elements that are much brighter than the surrounding elements. Using them as the initial landing point is usually successful.

Once you establish the viewers landing point, path lines move the viewer’s eye where you want it to go. The lines can be actual lines such a s a road or walk. The path can also be created with landscaping, movement in the ground terrain, bright and dark variations, or the overall perspective of the piece. Placing a movement from the opposite direction, such as a stand of trees or some other opposing force will stop the eye movement at the focal point. A simple way to test your artwork’s movement is to close your eyes, open them quickly and see exactly where your own eye starts and stops. If your eye moves repeatedly in a similar path, you have been successful in creating a predictable motion in the piece. I chose this building rendering as an example because it has a very simplistic motion structure. Some have simple paths and some are much more complex and subtle, but motion is an important element in all of my work.

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