Traditional Architectural Rendering Techniques

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Meisolus
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Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:47 pm
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Traditional Architectural Rendering Techniques

Post by Meisolus »

Back when I was studying architecture at Kent State (1997-2003) a friend of mine got an ad in the mail for a summer class in New York City that would teach traditional architectural rendering techniques. It was mostly ink and watercolor on paper. They had images of what some students had done and it was all Beaux Arts and quite stunning.

Recently I've become pretty enamored with the idea of making my own but I would need some guidance. I'm a decent delineator, and am not too worried about the actual drawing part, but painting and I have, regrettably, never been on the best of terms.

There are tons of books on ink rendering techniques, but I'm finding precious few on watercolor. The exception is a book from 1922 called Architectural Rendering in Wash by H. Van Buren Magonigle. I rather suspect it's excellent despite (or rather because of) its date.

So - does anyone know the class I missed out on 20 years ago (if it's still around) and can anyone recommend some resources for learning to render in the Beaux Arts style, or in the magical manner of Marion Mahoney?

Much obliged.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I believe I chose another path, after design school (I was in "Interior Architectural Design"), largely if not entirely because I learned virtually nothing
about presentation technique---we were left entirely on our own in that matter. I taught myself to draw only later . . .

The prospect of watercolor rendering makes me feel like a friend of mine, long ago, who reported that he had to have a drink before he would attack a
job of painting walls and trim; he was fussy about detail. I can't imagine the nerve it must take to willfully risk ruining a carefully-constructed drawing,
by approaching it with a wet brush.

Yes, I imagine the book by Magonigle will tell you much if not everything you will want to know.

A couple of years ago I came across an architectural practice whose principal does some of their presentation drawings, in watercolor. Nice stuff. I can't
find it now; lost some photos when I installed a new hard drive this year.

S

Meisolus
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:47 pm
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Post by Meisolus »

SDR,

I completely understand what you're saying about nerve. It's what's stopped me up until this point. There were two factors that have made me want to at least give this a try (I make no promises on following through though, just trying). The first was I purchased a book called Americans in Paris: Foundations of America's Gilded Age. It's filled with renderings and they are dazzling. Unfortunately, the price of the book has skyrocketed, but you can see it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Americans-Paris ... 178&sr=8-4

The other factor was stumbling across an artist on Instagram named Boris Zatko. He's Swiss and does some really wonderful watercolors, primarily of architecture. On his page, he has many short videos showing him paint and he makes it look pretty easy. Then again, I've seen Mitsuko Uchida perform Mozart and she makes that look easy too...

I got into architecture to design beautiful things. In my professional career I've really never done so. It would be satisfying to start charting my own course, at least on paper.

SDR
Posts: 19603
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Heh. Yup. That's the other reason I went elsewhere: architecture is about so much more than design . . . so it was clear that one wouldn't be spending all that much time designing. Mr Wright beat that one, too, it seems !

Like any craft, watercolor wouldn't come in the first week---or month---or year. But clearly it's doable . . .

If it's possible to photocopy on one's chosen watercolor paper, that would enable lots of practice on an identical drawing---without spoiling the original ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Jeff Chusid said he spends more time with lawyers and bureaucrats than at the drafting table. That's simply the way things are these days. If FLW were a "young man in architecture" today, he wouldn't have a chance of making it without an entire overhaul of his nature and sensibilities.

"Early on in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and see no reason the change."

Gouache, which is opaque water color, is a sort of "back door" to managing translucent water color. It is a more forgiving and correctible medium. I never got the hang of water color. Only once did I bother, when I was suddenly inspired to paint "Half A Lion Is Better Than No Lion at All." (Don't ask!)

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