Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Viewpoint School Project.


Viewpoint School is a long, thin campus, situated on a valley floor.  A football field wouldn't fit across it.  This Google Earth shot including the suggestion of topography, has been carefully selected to show the best view of the campus.  Three of the four main buildings in the center area are presently under construction, and will have to be added.  But the important promenades and other features both existing and future, have all been accounted for in this point of view.  The elevation is perfect--everything will show up just fine.  

The only problem will be the oversized foreground due to perspective.  The football program is overshadowing the academic program--not that the kids would complain, but maybe the parents would care a little.  So this natural, correct perspective will have to be altered in such a way that the campus still looks like the campus, and the academic program gets a fair share of the space.   

Time to break all the rules.    

Add caption




This shows these major compositional adjustments.  I've also applied all this to the layout being used for the primary usage--a brochure.  This shows where the gutter (center fold) will lie, and the rough shape of the illustration perimeter.   The vignetting is typical of my aerials, and the colors have been quickly saturated to feel like my work.  This image is a combination of an existing campus map and the Google Earth shot.  Things have been pushed, prodded and lovingly caressed into this state rapidly, with absolutely no attention to detail.   In this way the success of the composition is assured, but it wouldn't be any great loss if the whole thing was rejected.  In this case the graphic designer, the school development office, the headmaster--everyone involved concurred and approved this quick but crucial step.  I think of it as a thumbnail where all the major stuff comes together.      




The next step is to establish the "footprints" of the buildings.  Most of them are represented, but the new buildings will have to be added using architectural plans and diagrams.  Here is the basic "footprint" plan.  Again, a little more labor intensive, but still quick and very crucial, this step establishes a solid foundation for the illustration.  







Out of these "footprints" I will "grow" each of the buildings using the many ground shots I gathered during my visit, and renderings of the future buildings.  Some tweaking is going on with the football field still, the art director thinks it doesn't have enough perspective--picky, picky, picky.  On the other hand this is where all this stuff needs to be addressed, and as it turns out he was dead on correct.  By this time the tweaks are very minor.  






The preliminary rough is the first glimpse of how the illustration will hang together.  In addition to the actual buildings in position, the hills around the campus are being suggested.  This is what makes this campus unique, and was on the wish list of things to show in this piece.  These hills are most famous in that all the old westerns were filmed here.  Hollywood is not that far away.  I thought that was very cool indeed.  






The bulk of the work on the illustration takes place here.  This is the detail rough where all the details are shown correctly.  More tweaks to the football and softball fields.  We'll get there.  I'm also beginning to think about the pen and ink work, and how to "render" it all down so that everything is there or implied without coloring the whole thing black (this original meaning of "rendering" as applied to art--a simplification process).  There is so much detail to be dealt with, but all must be believable and pleasing to the eye.  Also some of the trees are moving and getting shorter or disappearing altogether for the sake of clarity.   






This is the final illustration underway.  The pen and ink work is all in place, featuring a duotone pen and ink effort in black, and then brown ink, a sort of grasailles translation into the ink media.  I feel it is the perfect underwork for coloring, in that all the primaries are already represented.  A colored black ink drawing seems inadequate, and does not feel right to me.  Sometimes I increase the effect by rubbing burnt umber pastel onto the surface and then using an eraser to knock out highlights.  This step increases the drama, and does all sorts of neat things to the color, as one might expect.  I elected not to do that here; too much going on to keep it all under control.  Went right to the coloring--very sharp Prismacolor pencil points.  




The Viewpoint School, Santa Monica Hills, California (click to enlarge)


And finally, the illustration complete.  Six weeks, a really cool trip, lots of friendly banter, instinct, art and lovin life.   Had a blast start to finish, I hope that shows.  

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18 comments:

hw (hallie) farber said...

Beautiful work--and I think I could find my way around this campus.

I'm sure that, when you were in first grade, you didn't have an inkling that you'd spend your life "coloring." It's wonderful that you're paid to do things you love--what could be better?

William Cook said...

Hi Hallie--Thanks. When I was six, coloring was for the enemy--girls. My big sister was the artist of course and I couldn't keep the colors inside the lines to save my soul. Besides, I had a ranch to manage. Turned in my work to my big sister and strapped on my sixguns, and rode on into town (which was down the cellar). I think she just tolerated my art attempts, but wouldn't leave the sloppy coloring thing alone. You're right, I laugh about all this constantly. Who'd of thought. Now when people ask what I do for a living I tell em, "why I jess draw pitchers and colors em in", in my best cowboy draw. OMG, I've got issues!

AutumnLeaves said...

I've always loved these types of renderings, Bill. What an exquisite job you did! I wondered where you'd gotten off to!

RH Carpenter said...

This is beautiful! And thanks for sharing the process - I didn't have a clue all this planning and work went into the lovely illustrations I find in brochures, etc. Mighty fine, pardner!

William Cook said...

Hi Sherry-- Oh I'm still here lovin you all, and chompin at the bit to get back to some art. I just had to attend to all this other art. That and this DSL connection that has been giving me such a fit. Thanks so much for checking in. As Always, all the best.

Hi Rhonda--I guess that's one of the reasons I wanted to post this--to show all the background work that you don't see, and to share the process, which is quite orderly and logical. It's all so ornate and formal as a process, but fluid. Sure puts the client at ease. Anyway, thanks for your lovely comment, and as always, all the best.

L.W.Roth, said...

I suspected you were boggled down with a challenging project. You really conquered the demands. Great idea to show all the drawings that go down before aha! is achieved. Few folks realize the extent of analysis that goes on with design projects.
Beautiful.

John Brisson said...

I think I enjoy your posts so much because you have a wonderful memory
of things in your life. It's really fun to picture!!

William Cook said...

Thanks so much Linda, means a lot coming from you, another designer in a similar discipline. I suppose all art must undergo this process only not nearly as formally to include all the other input and the politic that goes with it. I loved this project and everyone involved throughout--a wonderful social experience--but I am anxious to get back to my solitary explorations in presentational goofiness through art. All the best.

PS--You're going to love our bathroom renewal idea featuring an outer banks theme. It's a smallish downstairs bathroom with a white tile shower stall. The shower curtain is in your face as you enter the room, so I suggested black and white diagonal 12" stripes alternating. She loves the idea. Couple of driftwood frames with the lighthouses, some sandpipers and shells. Viola (as they say in Baltimore)--Voila (everywhere else). No, its not something we thought up drunk. And if it doesn't work we'll laugh about it for years.

William Cook said...

Thanks John--Nice of you to say! thanks. All the best.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

You have made it look simple and logical and almost easy, like any great professional. Thank you for sharing the process, including the philosophical challenge of an oversized stadium and sports complex. Booster and alum dollars usually pour in through that opening, not Rah! Rah! Go Chemistry Club! Wouldn't it me strangely wonderful if it did?

I would enjoy seeing an example where you did use the pastel before going to colored pencils.

Viewpoint School -- your enjoyment of the project shows!

William Cook said...

Hi Katherine--Wow! I was just now looking at your new grandson! Congratulations! Good point re the Chemistry Club. The Headmaster was mighty emphatic about the importance of the sports program (and the prominence of the field in the illustration). Sheesh! He loved the final. (I was a tad nervous about it). I'll have to look for a sample of that pre colored pencil state for you. Thanks for your interest--and thanks for checking in--always a pleasure.

Jane said...

Very interesting Bill ..love the process to get there. When taking my master in garden design I made a plan for a city park that was very similar to the shape of your area, instead of builings of course there were dog areas, playing areas., springwaters, bars etc etc.

William Cook said...

Hi Jane--Thanks for checking in! I really have been missing you--not that I posted much myself this summer. Between a terrible connection problem, our vacation and this project, well, I'm just getting back myself.

If I had to start all over, Garden Design would be my pick. Very cool thing to major in!

Hugs.

jane minter said...

beautiful final presentation william ..glad you had a good summer

William Cook said...

Thanks Jane--I'm so happy to hear from you!

illustration poetry said...

this is really inspiring...

William Cook said...

Hi Mita--What a nice surprise hearing from you! Thanks for checking in. I'm liking the new icon!

Susan Roux said...

This is absolutely crazy! No wonder you unleash with really loose experiments sometimes. It must be your sanity! Amazing job. They must have been very pleased with your work.