Making Of Boathouse illustration

Kirk Fromm, internationally recognized architectural illustrator and a leading provider of NPR (non photo-realistic) renderings, uses a combination of both traditional and digital techniques in his workflow. In this “Making of”, Kirk creates a hybrid that takes advantage of both methods, thus fast and flexible as well as loose and engaging. The Boathouse illustration is a traditional/digital hybrid rendering for a development in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The final rendering shows an entry bridge/main road into a proposed “new-town” development in Sihanoukville. This project was completed in collaboration with Yong-Woo Lee at WRT Architects in Philadelphia.

I started with this mock-up, supplied by the client, created using photos and SketchUp models.  Since this rendering consisted of mostly foreground “soft” items and the structures were smaller and in the distance, I thought it would be faster to “wing-it” and draw what I needed by hand instead of spending extra time to model and re-create the view in SketchUp.

Mock Up

One initial request was to move the bridge over, “opening” up the water in front of the Boathouse and reinforcing the sense of “entrance” into the area as opposed to the road cutting across the path of the viewer. Traditional boats were researched and sketched into the scene.

Boats Researched & Sketched into Scene

Here the buildings are sketched in, as well as some cars which were rendered out from SketchUp to match the angle of the scene.  The various sketches that begin to fill out the scene were layered up in Photoshop, moved and sized accordingly – making changes and adjustments easy as the view takes shape.

Buildings are Sketched in as Well as Cars

Once the building sketch was approved, I painted under the linework to fill out the buildings.  This was done fairly loosely, relying on the linework to define the detail.

Painted Under Linework to Fill Out Buildings

Next the trees, water, and landscape were roughed in, and a sky developed based on photos from the site.

Landscape Roughed In

Here’s a “behind the scenes” look at the base photos used to create the water and landscape.

Base Photos used to Create Water & Landscape

Revisions to trees and cars. Mid-level cars were replaced with luxury brands to acknowledge the aspirations of the developers.

Revisions to Trees & Cars

Fine tuning to the road and cars, people painted in on the boats, landscape elements added.

Fine Tuning

Nearly done! – Refinements made throughout the rendering. People added, birds added, color adjustments and textures.

Refinements Made Throughout Rendering

A few more color and detail refinements and it’s a wrap. Below are a couple of close-up shots of the final image.

More Color & Detail Refinements

Textures are made with a combination of scanned watercolor paintings (added in Overlay mode) and custom Photoshop brushes giving light sprays of dots for color bounce. Additional watercolor effects are added by using the “find edges” filter on key elements.

Additional Watercolor Effects Added

Boats closeup.

Boats Closeup

Final Image.

Final Image

Thanks for reading.


Kirk’s other making of  here at SketchUpArtists can be found at this link.

To find out more about Kirk and his work please visit his website here.

2 Responses to “Making Of Boathouse illustration”

  1. Mek on April 4th, 2014 9:18 pm

    Amazing, you make it look simple but that looks like it still took a lot of time and care. I might feel adventurous and try this out sometime.

  2. Sherry on May 29th, 2014 1:26 pm

    How long did this take you?

Got something to say?