The process of visualizing master planning and architectural projects involves many steps between an early idea and the completed presentation rendering. As concepts are developed, quick character sketches are an effective tool for communicating visual information about the place, landscaping, scale, color and overall design.
My good friend Frank Gratton, AIA has been communicating design ideas for many years with quickly generated hand drawn sketches. Frank often begins visualizing with extremely rough thumbnail sketches, then developing them as more refined drawings. Many of his images are used as the basis for presentation renderings that are created by professional illustrators.
Frank’s drawings below are from a master planning/architectural concept for an entertainment and golf resort in Asia. The development was based on a “Southern California” theme with all amenities connected by waterways and pedestrian paths. All of his drawings were eventually developed as formal presentation renderings and combined with precedent photographs to communicate the overall theme.
Frank Gratton, AIA in his office with drawings from different "in-progress"projects.
California Boardwalk. This 8”x12” ink drawing on trace reinforced the pedestrian connections to the waterway and to the hotel complex in the background via shuttle boat. Antique sea planes added character to the setting. Notice how Frank populated the drawing with over 30 people to give it scale and an “active” look.
Hotel Amenities. These two images represented different relationships to water. One featured a wedding gazebo overlooking the lake and guest shuttle boat. The other created a nostalgic hotel lobby overlooking the swimming pool. Classic arches, colors and details reinforced the Southern California hospitality design.
Golf Course Villas. Frank developed this 2-point perspective showing residential villas overlooking the golf course. He elevated the buildings on stone bases and made the trees more transparent to promote views of the course from the units.
Evening Restaurant View. This dramatic 7”x12” concept drawing was developed as a night view with dark background colors and bright colors to represent lighting. Again, Frank reinforced the water theme with reflections and placed the restaurant in front of the hotel to establish the location and relationship with the overall architectural theme. Note that Frank highlighted the lighting with a florescent orange colored pencil!
Golf Course Views. These two drawings were developed to emphasize the connection between the golf course and waterways. All of the drawings that Frank produced for this project were composed with a consistent proportion and created on standard tracing paper with a Staedtler Lumocolor pen and colored with Chartpak AD markers. Frank used a limited color marker selection.
Resort Hotel. This important view of the hotel was composed to establish the foreground waterway, pedestrian connections, exterior swimming pool amenity and the overall massing of the hotel architecture. Frank used pink building colors to reinforce a Southern California classic hotel theme.
Process Drawing. As Frank developed his sketches, some were modified after he had generated the drawing. With this drawing of the amusement park gateway, he added “drawing patches” to include more foreground people and an antique sea plane. Once scanned, the patches disappeared. (see below)
Amusement Park Gateway. In the heart of the development was an amusement park. Frank composed this drawing to show multiple stories - the waterside cafe, entrance feature to the park, graphic signage, ferris wheel, sea plane and observation deck. He illustrated over 15 people to give the scene scale and activity.
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