I love the challenge of creating conceptual drawings within extremely short time periods. I also believe that every designer should develop the confidence to generate quick pen and ink sketches, add a splash of color and use those drawings when developing design concepts and communicating with clients.
This “overlay and trace” drawing was created in less than 15-minutes directly in front of a potential client during an interview for a new university project. Prior to the interview, I built the SketchUp model and printed the perspective model view. In front of a dozen people, I taped a piece of trace over the print and started drawing! The resulting image fifteen minutes later is shown below:
Step 1 - Thumbnail Sketch. The first idea for this drawing began as a 1”x2” thumbnail sketch in my notebook (highlighted in color). The detail was minimal and basically identified an eye level perspective with a building on the left, furniture and umbrellas, people in the center and trees on the right. This was the origin of the concept and starting point for building a 3D SketchUp model.
Step 2 - SketchUp “Stage set” Model. I quickly constructed a SketchUp model modifying components from other models. My goal was simply to develop the framework of a scene for an exterior terrace of an imaginary college building and draw over it during the interview. I composed the scene with furniture, 3D trees and people. I made a sign above the entry doors and adjusted the sun angle to cast shadows across the pavement. I then exported a high resolution view of the scene and printed it in color on 11”x17” paper.
Step 3 - Pen and Ink Rapid Trace. Using a Pentel Sign Pen on standard tracing paper, I quickly outlined the major elements of the scene, concentrating on the people, signage, furniture and building facade. I used a finer tipped pen (Pilot Fineliner Pen) to delineate the paving pattern and the rock facade of the building. This linework portion of the effort took only ten minutes!
Step 4 - Marker Color. I used only about eight Chartpak AD markers to quickly add color to the original line drawing. With such a short amount of time, I elected to skip coloring any of the people and concentrated on coloring the plants, building walls, windows and umbrellas. This composite scan shows portions of the SketchUp model revealed beneath the original artwork.
Step 5 - Completed Drawing. I scanned the original artwork at 300dpi and want to emphasize that within 15 minutes, no one can expect to generate a finished presentation rendering, but you CAN communicate a design idea about a space with enough detail, color and character to have a conversation about design with either your peers or your client. Use SketchUp models to establish scale and perspective. Use standard tracing paper, felt tipped pens and a few markers to block out your design ideas. And, don’t be afraid to use this simple overlay and trace technique on your next project!
The 2010 Blog Collection , a 116-page catalog of my best blog posts from 2010 is now available on Blurb! http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1963744