I recently created this hybrid drawing for a lecture I presented on “repurposing” urban alleys. We’re all familiar with downtown alleys throughout the country and are now seeing some very successful efforts by cities to clean up their alleys and add small shops and outdoor dining spaces to them. By activating these overlooked downtown corridors, cities are now discovering exciting new uses and popular destinations in their city cores.
For this visualization project, I selected an alley right around the corner from my downtown Omaha office (my Denver based firm has a satellite office located in historic downtown Omaha). The following steps outline the process in which I built a SketchUp model from a photograph and created an overlay and trace drawing from the SketchUp view.
Step One - Base Photograph. I took a digital photograph at eye level of the alley making sure to capture faces of the buildings lining both sides of the alley as well as the building facade facing onto the street.
Step Two - SketchUp Match Photo. If you are familiar with the SketchUp Match Photo tool, it allows you to capture an accurate perspective, match the image to a real dimensional scale and then populate the model with components such as people, furniture, signage, cars and landscaping.
Step Three - Adding SketchUp Components. Models created using Match Photo can only be viewed from the original perspective captured in the digital photograph. As you can see in the two SketchUp model views above, the model consists of a strange series of shapes, distorted photographic images and false storefronts. The model is useless until you view it from the original photographic perspective. I populated the model with signage, people, furniture, railings, cars, trees and lighting to create an active scene with outdoor dining spaces and new storefronts.
Step Four - Export Final Scene. I carefully positioned people, sun shading and foreground trees to compose an exciting scene for the repurposed alley. I added an overhead sign “Harney Lane” to reinforce the sense of place. I exported a 2D image in SketchUp of the scene and printed the image on 11”x17” paper. The actual size of the image was 7”x14”.
Step Five - Overlay and Trace Drawing. I then placed a sheet of tracing paper directly on top of the print and traced all of the elements using a water based fine point felt tip pen. I then colored the scene using Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils. The image above shows me coloring the red umbrellas with a marker. Notice the print of theSketchUp model showing beneath the tracing paper and how the white colored pencil highlights the top of the building and reflections on the glass windows.
Step Six - Composite Scan. Using my 11”x17” flat bed scanner, I saved a 300dpi JPG of the image and adjusted the contrast and color in Adobe Photoshop. Note that I scanned both the original hand drawing and the SketchUp model print together. I call this hybrid technique a “Composite Scan Drawing”.
Drawing Detail. This enlarged section of the drawing gives you a better understanding of my loose drawing technique and informal use of color. I love this method of drawing that merges a SketchUp model with traditional hand drawing. Very quick, very effective and fun to create!
Workshop Announcement! I am offering a two-day Drawing Workshop August 5-6, 2016 in Denver. If you are interested in having an action packed two days fine tuning your drawing skills and learning new hybrid drawing techniques please visit my web page describing the workshop. This will be the only workshop I am offering in 2016. Click here for information.