I enjoy featuring talented architects who have great hand drawing skills. Australian architect, illustrator and educator Nigel Gough founded his company Nigel gough Illustrations in 1998 and has been working with the design industry visualizing architectural concepts. He recently offered to share with me a “lighter side” of his business with some great pen and ink drawings he produced to the amazement of his students at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Here is Nigel’s fascinating story told in his own words:
A Student Challenge
While producing images for real world architectural projects is the life blood of our profession often it’s the unusual and whimsical images that can hold our attention and challenge our skills.
Often commercial work is constrained by the need to get work through the office quickly and efficiently, and produce a product that shows the subject matter in the most favorable light, in a manner that’s in keeping with the clients expectations, and ultimately pays the bills. This can lead you down the same creative pathway time and time again, to stay within the “safe” zone.
In the university environment the game is played by different rules, so you can enjoy different results.
As a part-time tutor / lecturer for many years in the QUT Industrial Design undergraduate design visualization program, we have run styling workshops throughout the course of the semester. This required students to produce concept designs that had to reflect a particular design style or designer. The whole project had to completed in class during a three hour studio session.
This included analyzing a range of exemplars within a design style, developing a concept design in keeping with that style, then producing some presentation images to communicate the idea.
The typical response being one of incredulity. “It demanding too much from us.” “It can’t be done.” And finally; “I bet you can’t do what you’re asking in 3 hours.”
Well the gauntlet was thrown down. A challenge it was. Can I really produce a worthwhile concept design in 3 hours? In this case the designer was Ron Cobb. A great concept artist, from films such as the original “Alien” movie in the 1980’s.
The design concept was meant to be a terrestrial mining vehicle for a distant planet. Lots more fun than your typical Industrial design or Architectural project. The images show some of my design development sketches, and the two final presentation images in response to the students challenge at the time.
I really like the results, even a few years latter. It reinforces in my mind that traditional media, in this case Pen and Marker, is still an excellent presentation tool in communicating conceptual design ideas. It’s fast. It’s evocative.
It has an immediacy that really suits the process of design. When used in conjunction with current computer presentation software (eg. Photoshop) traditional media remains a strong option for both the design process and design visualization.
It’s satisfying to prove that student projects can be completed as planned, despite a slew plaintive cries to the contrary. It’s fun to press the creative envelope and produce something outside the box of standard design work.
Lastly in the words of the American Express ads “Its priceless”, to hear that massed “Ohhhhh my God” whisper (pardon my ego) when students actually see you at work in the studio. That makes the effort of teaching enthusiastic design students a real pleasure. - Nigel Gough
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