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Artist Interview with Paul Hill

Paul Hill is a fantastic architectural illustrator based in South Africa. Read on to learn more about Paul and his work with Copics!

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic MarkersTell us about yourself!
I was born in Birmingham, England in 1971. Before immigrating to South Africa in 1983 I had travelled extensively across Europe with my family. In 1989 I completed a commercial matric at Joubert Park Tech with distinctions in fine art and then completed a diploma in interior design. In 1991 I started working for a commercial interior design company as a part of a young team of designers. I was responsible for my own projects, from conceptual design through to completion. Here I gained experience through working on diverse projects consisting of franchised restaurants, cinema complexes, theatres, car showrooms, commercial offices and boutiques in South Africa.

Towards the end of 1994 I moved to hotel design which consisted of larger hotel projects completed in groups as apposed to individuals being responsible solely for a project. I was mainly given the responsibility for conceptual and presentation work, and occasionally for the technical drawings and details when it came for my own areas within a project. However, on smaller projects such as commercial offices and hotel renovations my responsibilities would extend to the completion of the project. In 1996 I moved to Austria after being approached by a shoplifting company to set up a interior design department within their existing structure of 100 employees. During this time I developed and trained employees in aesthetically designed presentation layouts, elevations and perspectives. We specialized in hotel, resort, restaurant, health & spa design, casino and nightclubs. In 1998 we won our first European Design Competition, which was to design a 5 star luxury hotel in Bayern Germany.

After my contract was completed in 1999, I set up my own design agency in Austria, namely Paul Hill Designers. Besides having my own clients and projects in Germany, Italy, Poland and Austria, I assisted other interior design companies, architects and shopfitting companies with their concept designs.  Since relocating to South Africa in 2004 I have been working as a conceptual architectural illustrator on a contractual basis.

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers
When did you first become interested in architectural design?
Funny enough, it was never my intention to get involved with architecture. I was one of those restless kids at high school, getting up to nonsense and not paying any attention to my education. I had to change schools on a regular basis until my parents had no other choice but to take me out of the normal academic structure and enroll me at art college. Art College was awesome. instead of maths, english, geography, biology etc, our subjects were drawing, charcoal, pastels, water colours, oil painting, silk screening, sculpture, fabric and jewelry design.  Even though I excelled in art, I had absolutely no idea how to earn money as an artist. I quite fancied woking in an advertising agency doing graphic design, but that was already becoming more and more computer-based, which didn’t appeal to me. I kind of stumbled upon interior design which gave me the opportunity to draw perspectives, build models, choose materials and work out details. Not many people wanted to do the perspectives and I soon found my niche. Becoming more involved in architectural design happened  out of necessity due to vague design briefs and ridiculous deadlines. It’s not like you can ask your client every 5 minutes “what’s supposed to happen there?”

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers

What’s the best thing about your job?
To be honest, work is one of those things that most of us have to do. I can’t imagine what it must feel like having to do something day in and day out and not be passionate about it. Having a talent and being able to develop it every day is awesome. When I first got involved in architectural design, getting started with a new project seemed somewhat daunting, whereas nowadays the ideas start as soon as I put pen to paper. I thoroughly enjoy being involved in the conceptual phase of architectural design as my illustrations are used for the initial discussion phase with the client and to get the ball rolling. I also have the freedom to experiment with different rendering techniques, and get to experience a very fun part of architecture before budgets, materials and completion dates are put into place.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
The most challenging part of my job is letting go once I have handed over my idea and philosophy to the client. I have had to accept that my illustrations are used to sell an idea or concept which is not influenced by reality. However I am a firm believer that even though both good and bad design costs money, it is still possible to interpret a good idea and process it without exhausting the client’s resources.

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers
Why did you choose Copic products for your illustrations?
My first experience with Copic markers was at art college. During our first year, one of the students in our class had somehow managed to get a freelance job rendering an interior perspective for a supermarket. With this, our lecturer decided that while helping our classmate it would be a good opportunity to show us various rendering techniques. Needless to say we were all fascinated. It was, however, only once I started my first job as a junior interior designer that I really got into using them. At the time most of the other employees showed more interest in designing as apposed to presentation, and this is where I found my niche. Over the years I became more and more involved in rendering plans, elevations, ceiling layouts and perspectives, until finally being responsible for design.

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers
Do you prefer traditional media over digital?
It seems crazy that at the age of 40 I have started to appreciate what computers are capable of. I mean, it was only 6 months ago that I finally started creating an online portfolio and blog. Over 18 years of my illustrations are in other companies’ archives. I have to admit that even though I do my fair share of colour renderings, my favorite style of illustration is in black and white with Multiliners. It’s a strange phenomenon, but only once I have constructed the initial illustration do I know whether to render in colour or continue illustrating with lines. Funny as it may be, but the drawing lets me know how it wants to be completed. I have tried to ignore this, but never successfully.

I have a huge respect for digital illustrations, and have started to explore various rendering techniques in Photoshop over my hand drawn line work. The possibilities are endless and the end result quite unique. Recently I discovered Autodesk Sketchbook Copic Edition for Mac and was blown away with how realistic it renders, and will be trying this out in the near future.

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers

What are you working on right now? Any personal projects?
This year has proven to be somewhat different from the previous years, in that I have become more and more involved in the urban development of projects instead of the artist’s impressions. So far this year I have been involved in various hotel and resort designs, nature reserves and mall designs throughout Southern and Central Africa. I have also assisted on the interior design concepts for hotels in Austria, Germany and Italy, as well as working on local landscaping projects.

Favorite band or musician at the moment?
I live for progressive trance and preferably not the commercial stuff. My favorite producers at the moment would have to be Markus Schulz, Lange, John OO Fleming, Above and Beyond, Kyau and Albert as well as Alex Smoke. On occasion I also enjoy Depeche Mode, U2, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters. The list goes on.

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers
Any words of advice for new artists?
Start your composition by breaking down each component into the primary shapes. As soon as you are happy that everything is where you want it to be, start adding detail into the individual components.

Always build your drawing up evenly and don’t be in a rush to overdevelop a particular part. Be patient. A lot of your ideas will come as you are weaving your way around the composition for the entire illustration.

Towards the end of the illustration it is easy to get a little restless, but this is where the difference between an awesome illustration and a normal drawing is most visible. Just remember to dot your I’s and cross your T’s… 

Paul Hill - Architectural Illustrator with Copic Markers

Find Paul on the web:
Portfolio: paulhillillustration.co.za
Facebook:  facebook.com/pages/Conceptual-Architectural-Illustrations
Twitter: twitter.com/PNHIllustration

3/27/2012 12:00:43 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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New Product: Line Art!

Love coloring more than drawing? Great news! Our new collection of line art is now available in our online store. These images, printed on high-quality paper, are ready for markers – so color your heart out!

Check out how our product specialist, Marianne Walker, colored this adorable puppy:

Puppy Line Art
Puppy Line Art from Imagination International Inc. colored by Marianne Walker
Visit our online store to see our full collection of line art, just waiting for you to add your creative touch!

3/22/2012 3:56:54 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Guest Post: Goblin Illustration by Brandi York

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi YorkThis week, artist Brandi York walks us through a fantasy illustration with Copics. Enjoy!

For today’s demonstration, I thought I’d let my geek flag fly a bit and do a rendering of my World of Warcraft goblin, pushing myself to try a realistic approach to a truly fantasy subject.

As usual, I’m using Copic Sketch markers with the bleed-resistant Copic Sketchbook paper.

I start by picking out my colors and trying them out on a scratch piece of paper. This may take a bit of time, going through and trying out all these different greens, yellows, purples and reds together, but you don’t want to jump in and just start throwing color down without making sure everything will be harmonious, especially where the opposing colors are concerned (yellow and purple, green and red).

After I’m reasonably satisfied with the colors I’ve chosen, I start by laying in a base of YG21 over my lightened pencil lines. I go back over it a few times in spots, defining out some of the shadows for later. I also use R30 to lay in a little pink on the nose, lips, and the tips of the ears:

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi York
Next I break out the YG23. Despite being the same family of colors, it’s quite a bit darker. I use the YG21 to help smooth the transition, but I’m not happy with how warm the shadows are at this point. I take some time to lay all the base shadows in before breaking out the trusty BV23:

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi York
With the BV23, I start to knock back the deeper shadows, again using YG21 to soften the transition. It’s pretty drastic when you first bring that BV in. The first response might be, “Oh no, too dark!!” Give it time and finish it out. Once you get all the shadows laid in with the BV23, you’ll see how much the piece begins to pop. Using your two skin tones (in this case, YG21 and YG23) helps to soften and tie in the BV23. Use them in conjunction, softening the hard transition between the tones:

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi York
I drop in the eyes, a little E42 for the not-so-white whites of her eyes with BV17 and BV11 for the irises with a bit of 0 Colorless Blender to soften the transition (these colors will also be mirrored in her hair and gown, to help tie the colors together.) I also dropped some of the E42 onto her lips along with a little more R30 and YG93 to darken them up a bit:

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi York
Time to darken the shadows further! Now that the colors are all starting to come together, the earlier panic of the BV23 being too dark is a long-gone memory. Now in some places, the shadows aren’t dark enough or well defined enough. Out comes the BV25 to deepen the darkest spots – under the chin, in the ear and nostrils and the edge and corners of the lips. At this point, I’m also going back and checking other areas – the stomach, the arms, places that might not be melding as well with the rest of the piece, shifting the lights and darks a bit, trying to help make the piece more cohesive:

Copic Goblin Illustration by Brandi York
As always, achieving realistic renderings, even with a fantasy subject like a Warcraft goblin, takes a lot of back and forth and patience. If you’re afraid to try something right on the piece, try it on a scratch paper first.

See more of Brandi’s fantastic illustrations on Copic Color, and add your own work while you’re there!

3/20/2012 2:21:10 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Copic at WonderCon 2012

WonderCon 2012
Visit Copic Marker at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, March 16-18! Find us at booth #875 near Artist’s Alley.

Check out some of the amazing Copic-loving comic artists that will be at the show!

Cat Staggs

J. Scott Campbell

Humberto Ramos

Todd Nauck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cat Staggs
: Artist Alley #146
J. Scott Campbell: Booth #805
Humberto Ramos: Artist Alley #071
Todd Nauck: Artist Alley #026

To stay current on everything Copic during WonderCon, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

See you there!

3/13/2012 5:50:29 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Artist Interview with Caleb Laughlin

Caleb Laughlin is an Associate Designer and Architectural Illustrator at Cameron  McCarthy Landscape Architects in Eugene, Oregon, as well as a freelance illustrator. Last year Cameron’s rendering of the Willamette River Bridge (below) won an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI). The image can be found ASAI’s annual publication, Architecture in Perspective 26. Read on to learn more about Caleb and learn how he uses Copics in his amazing illustrations.
Willamette River Bridge - Caleb Laughlin

When did you first become interested in architectural illustration?
I’ve always been interested in Industrial design, concept art and illustration. As a kid I was fascinated by the design work of Ralph Mcquarrie and Joe Johnston who, among other things, were the lead designers behind the original Star Wars movies. While in the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Oregon I found that I really enjoyed producing the Landscape and Architectural renderings that would accompany our design group’s final presentations.

Do you have any formal training?
I graduated from the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture as well attended a couple of different design workshops over the years. But other than that I have had no formal training, just a lifelong love of drawing.
Hayward Field - Caleb Laughlin
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
My typical day is split into two parts, the first I spend at the Landscape Architecture Firm of Cameron McCarthy here in Eugene Oregon, where I focus primarily on Landscape and Architectural illustrations for design concepts, proposals and promotional purposes. I also work from home as a Freelance Illustrator, where I focus on illustrations for books, graphic design and logo and character development.

Why did you choose Copic products for your illustrations?
I’ve used Copic products for years, they are fast and easy to use and the wide variety of colors allows for a fair amount of flexibility with regards to illustration. I use the Mulitiliners for the initial line and texture work and then follow up with sketch markers for color. I use a standard set of go-to sketch colors in virtually every rendering and then mix it up with different hues to help establish the overall drawing mood. When I am done working with the Copics I usually follow up with colored pencil to add an additional depth of color and texture.
Caleb Laughlin
Do you prefer traditional media over digital?
I feel both types of media have very important places within the design profession. Digital media is great for products that may require future revisions, I think for this reason it is a fantastic move that Sketchbook Pro came out with a Copic Color edition, I am now able to  utilize my traditional Copic color palette while having the streamlined flexibility of a digital tablet for quick edits. I still prefer the unpredictability that a hand rendered sketch produces where many times unintended mistakes create wonderful surprises that would not have happened in a controlled digital environment.

What’s the most challenging thing about architectural illustration?
One of the most challenging things about architectural illustration or illustration for that matter is allowing yourself to work outside of your comfort zone and push the boundaries of what you know especially within a time sensitive project deadline environment. It is really easy to rely on already proven illustration techniques in order to meet deadlines therefore missing potentially rewarding opportunities for growth.
Caleb Laughlin
What are you working on right now? Any personal projects?
At Cameron McCarthy I am working on a couple of concept illustrations for some local clients. I am personally working on illustrations for a children’s book by a local Author in Eugene as well as some animations and illustrations that will be self-published in the future.

What’s your favorite Copic color?
B60 – It’s a fantastic base color for sky and light shadows, it has essences of pinks and purples that become apparent when it is allowed to bleed out on a nice photocopy paper.
Caleb Laughlin

Any words of advice for new artists interested in pursuing architectural illustration?
Find illustrators whose renderings intrigue and inspire you and try to emulate their techniques as much as possible, it’s amazing what you will learn about them as well as yourself it will help you to find your own illustration style and technique.

Find Caleb on the web:
www.cameronmccarthy.com – architectural illustration
www.caleblaughlin.com – general illustrationLane Community College - Caleb Laughlin

3/13/2012 11:15:59 AM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Guest Tutorial: Architectural and Technical Sketching by Jackson Root

This week’s guest tutorial is by Jackson Root, a talented illustrator in Southern California. Enjoy!

Architectural and Technical Sketching with Copic

Technical Sketching with Copics - Jackson RootOne of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning is to go out exploring in the neighborhood, to find something interesting to sketch, to challenge my hand and my mind and find the tried and true rules that govern technical drawing! The truth is, whether you notice it or not, your eyes pick up on a number of mechanics that happen naturally with forms in space, shortcuts our eyes make in order to understand the visual information before it is sent to our brains. It’s these mechanics that allow us to understand our environments, and it’s when these mechanics don’t exist that we suffer from symptoms of vertigo and motion-sickness.

Understanding these mechanics and knowing when and how to employ them in our drawings gives them the illusion that they depict real objects occupying real space. Failure to use these mechanics can often result in drawings of objects that seem to be floating in air, or just out-right wacky! If you take a moment to Google “German expressionism” and take a look at what those artists were doing in the 1920s, you can get a feel for how you can manipulate perspective to add drama and anxiety to your artwork simply by tweaking these mechanics.

In the sections that follow, I will briefly touch on some mechanics that are important to keep in mind while sketching anything from a house to a tape dispenser, those mechanics being Verticals and Vanishing Lines. For more information on perspective and conveying forms in space, I recommend Walter Foster’s book, Perspective, and also Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators, by Ernest T. Watson.

Verticals

Technical Sketching with Copics - Jackson RootThe first aspect of these mechanics that is important to discuss is understanding verticals. Typically, the walls of all buildings should stand vertical, and by definition, these verticals should always be parallel to one another.

Before I begin a sketch, I look for the verticals as a way of plotting out my drawing. Using these lines, I can establish a standard of measurement for the drawing which I can use for the placement of other elements in the drawing.

If you’ve had a chance to read my Sketching From Life Blog entry from a few months back, I talk about how I begin a sketch by using a very light color, such as an E11, or R02, to rough in the shapes and the placement of the objects in the drawing paying careful attention to how they relate to one another.

For example, near the center of the drawing is a small balcony with a banister that forms a small rectangle with two verticals on either side. Now I can look at this small rectangle and make a mental note of how large it is in relation to the rest of the elements in the drawing. Using this standard of measurement, I can say to myself, “…now the right-most edge of this garage-building on the left is just about one-and-a-half ‘balconyfences’ to the left of that building, etc”. I then draw a short vertical line that once I really begin to add tone later on, will nearly vanish away in contrast (If you look to the right of the telephone pole on the left, you’ll see a faint version of it, which was the original sketch prior to revising it with a darker tone later on).

“Vanishing Lines” or “Parallel Lines”

Technical Sketching with Copics - Jackson RootThe next mechanic that is critically important to keep in mind when sketching is understanding how vanishing lines, or what are in reality, parallel lines relate to one another in an image.

In any one object, or in this case, building, there exists any number of lines that if they are parallel in construction, i.e. window panes, rooflines, door hinges, etc. If the sides of two buildings are parallel to one another, these lines will relate to one another in the sense that they will all converge at one point in the distance, the Vanishing Point. If you were to trace the lines in red, they should all converge at one point, the same with the lines in purple, which relate to a different building which in this drawing has its own set of vanishing points and rules that govern it.

When I began this drawing, I took a moment to consider these lines and decide which lines would relate to one another, and I began this drawing by using a very light tone to rough them in before adding darker tones to really ‘cement’ them as part of the drawing!

I encourage you to employ these tactics, or at least keep them in the back of your mind when drawing anything you see- literally everything you see with your eyes obeys these rules! The next time you’re feeling adventurous, grab a couple of markers- you’ll need a very light one, like an E11, BG02, or R02; a middle tone such as E33, BG13 or R20; and a dark tone, E77, BG18 or R29; your favorite sketchbook, a pair of sunglasses and an inquisitive mind, and find these rules, they hardly ever lie! Better yet, get your hands on the Copic Sepia Ink Pro Kit; it has everything you need to make wonderful tonal drawings!

Technical Sketching with Copics - Jackson Root

Find Jackson on the web:
Web Site: http://www.jacksonroot.com
Copic Color: http://www.copiccolor.com/Jackson

Share your sketches with us on Facebook and Twitter!

3/6/2012 8:18:32 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

New Design Team Members!

It’s been a while since we added anyone new to the Copic team, so it is with great excitement that we announce two new designers to the Copic Papercrafting Team: Cindy Lawrence and Michele Boyer. Welcome to the Copic family!

We are so happy to have these talented ladies sharing their skills with those of you who crave more wonderful projects and ideas for using Copic Markers. Please visit Cindy & Michele’s blogs for a chance to WIN a new Copic Carrying Case

Cindy Lawrence’s Blog
Michele Boyer’s Blog


Check out the rest of the design team’s blogs for more chances to win! They are each giving away rolls of X-Press It foam tape and double-sided tape.  Here are the links:

Good luck!

3/1/2012 6:52:03 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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