This very exciting master planning project really challenged my creative visualization skills by incorporating plan graphics, SketchUp modeling, traditional imagination drawing, hybrid composite drawing, overlay and trace, plus digital editing. You might say I “ threw the book at this one”!
The project was a competition in which my firm studioINSITE was trying to win the commission for the master plan of a large multi-block neighborhood in Denver. Knowing it was a competition with a lot of pro bono time investment, I did my best to work efficiently and create drawings with just enough detail to understand our design intent, but not design detail. Here are three different drawing tasks I accomplished in one week’s worth of effort.
Master Plan Graphic. The site was framed by two large arterial streets and a major highway and light rail corridor. I subdivided the property into developable mixed use blocks and generated this hand drawn plan graphic with just enough detail to construct a SketchUp massing model.
SketchUp Massing Model. I scanned the plan graphic and imported it into SketchUp and built this basic block “massing model” showing the different building shapes. Notice all of the simple flat buildings and lack of architectural detail. I populated the model with 2D trees to give it an additional sense of scale. The model was dropped onto a site base imported from AutoCAD into SketchUp. This simple massing model probably took a full day to create and populate with trees. I used the model to select view options and to create the aerial perspective.
Aerial Perspective (composite scan drawing)
Preferred Aerial Perspective View. I exported several different perspective views of the SketchUp model and selected this scene to develop my hybrid rendering. I normally use a 55mm focal length for most of my SketchUp views to replicate natural viewing characteristic of the human eye. I then lightened the image in Photoshop and printed it on Epson matte finish coated bond paper. The final image size was approximately 17”x17”.
Hand Drawing Directly on the Print. Using a standard fine point black roller ball pen, I drew very sketchy outlines around all of buildings and trees - directly onto the print. I call this method of illustration “composite drawing” and by sketching right onto the SketchUp model print, I disguise the model and make it appear more like a hand drawing than a computer rendering! Once the linework was completed, I colored much of the drawing with very light Chartpak AD markers and finished highlighting the trees and grassy areas with a green colored pencil.
Completed Aerial Perspective.
Central Park Perspective (overlay and trace drawing)
SketchUp Model View. Without adding anymore detail to the original SketchUp massing model, I selected this low angle aerial perspective scene in order to create a quick sketch of the feature park in the heart of the development.
Overlay and Trace Drawing. I printed the SketchUp view 8 1/2” x11” and taped a sheet of tracing paper over the print. I then created a simple ink line hand drawing traced from the model. I added some colored marker but no colored pencil to the sketch. The image above shows the sketch as a “stand alone” image with no background.
Overlay and Trace Composite Scan. As an alternative approach to the simple overlay and trace drawing, I scanned BOTH the hand drawing and the SketchUp model view together. Notice how the gray shadows of the SketchUp model are ghosted through the tracing paper. Which of the two options do you like better? I personally am a fan of this composite scan alternative. I love experimenting with hybrid visuals and this is a great example of merging traditional hand drawing technique with computer modeling.
Photoshop Alteration. I was unhappy with my delineation of the large grassy area within the park so I simply brought the jpg into Photoshop and erased the linework. Don’t ever hesitate to make last minute modifications to drawings in Photoshop if you think there is room for improvement!
Imagination Character Sketches
These two sketches were added to the presentation at the last minute to represent some eye level close up views of the central commercial district and the more bohemian arts district. Both were sized 6”x9” and sketched with a Pilot Fineliner Pen and colored with Charpak AD markers.
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.