Cushing Academy is a private coeducational secondary school founded in 1865, and located in Ashburnham, MA. They have partnered with a design firm called Corey, McPherson, Nash to redesign their viewbook. Through a web based search, CMN contacted Randal Birkey Illustration and contracted for a new Campus Map to be produced both for the school viewbook and their website.
Randal worked from maps, photos and other references provided by CMN and Cushing Academy. The first stage in the illustration process was to produce a line art “pencil” of the aerial perspective view that best displayed the campus. This line art was done in sepia tones using Corel Painter at a size of 6450 x 3750 pixels.
Cushing Campus Aerial Perspective Campus Map - Pencil
Once this “pencil” was reviewed and approved by the design firm and the client, Randal then added digital watercolor to a layer below the line art using Corel Painter. The final file was converted to Adobe Photoshop and delivered as a layered Photoshop file with line art on one layer, and color washes and texture on the background layer.
Cushing Academy Aerial Perspective Campus Map - Color
In this stylized version, the forested areas around the school campus were left white or blank in order to allow the buildings, streets and other fields to have visual prominence. The design firm will add all the labels and key to the site during the print production process.
Randal Birkey was commissioned to produce a series of architectural illustrations of the renovation project of “Symphony Center,” the home of the world renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Orchestra Hall, as it is also known, was undergoing an extensive renovation, as well as being connected to another building around the corner from Michigan Avenue. Together, this new combined complex was to be called “Symphony Center,” and would house not only the auditorium, but also all the practice rooms, backstage production and staging areas, and the headquarter offices for the organization.
This illustration was produced by Randal working from the architectural blueprints, in a Mac based 3D perspective wireframe application. Once the view and level of line detail was reached, the line work was transferred to a 2D drawing program called Fractal Painter.
In the Painter software, all the watercolor and color pencil texturing was added. A Wacom tablet was required for the kind of control needed for the digital “brushes.” The application and tablet ran on an Apple Macintosh computer.
Additional illustrations were completed including: a cutaway elevation, lobby view, floor plan, and auditorium views. These illustrations were all used in a high-end printed piece that went to CSO supporters to communicate the renovation project details, and also as a fund-raising tool.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall - Symphony Center
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I love Greek food, culture, architecture and language! Why? Perhaps because I spent a summer there in 1980 doing a short-term mission project for Greater Europe Mission. I made some great friendships, some of which have lasted to this day. I’d love to go back for a visit with my wife someday!
During the 1980’s when I was doing a lot of freelance architectural rendering and illustration work, I was asked to do a rendering of a proposed redesign of an entire city block in the Greektown area of Chicago. Working from the architect’s sketches and ideas, I created this aerial perspective for presentation purposes.
The idea here was to recreate the “Greek village” aesthetic that one sees often when traveling in Greece. There are usually hillsides, mountains and/or beaches involved, with the village stepped up in layers behind. That was the idea behind this design. I think it worked pretty well, even though it was never built. The site is along the East side of Halsted Street, with the Kennedy Expressway behind it.
Greektown Aerial Perspective - Chicago
This illustration was done for Roula Architects, Chicago, Illinois.
Randal did his first map for Wheaton College through Rich Nickel Design in the early 1980′s. Also contributing to the project as a writer was Amy Wolgemuth. This original art was done by hand at 20 x 30 inches in size on hot press illustration board. The line art was done with very thin Rapidograph ink pens using sepia ink. The shading and toning was added with color pencil. The aerial perspective was then drum scanned and printed in 4 color offset process in an interior spread for the Wheaton College Viewbook.
Wheaton College Campus - Aerial Perspective View
For this familiar with the campus, on the middle left side is Edmund Chapel (with the steeple), and on the right foreground is the large Billy Graham Center. Notice the whimsical “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane in the upper foreground to give the view some sense of depth and perspective. This was a really fun project – and the viewbook won some design and writing awards!
The Atlanta Gift Fair - Map Illustration
The Gift Fair is a yearly trade event at the AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia featuring specialty gifts and wares from around the world.
The convention promoters required a map for show attenders to help orient them to the area, in a user-friendly aerial perspective view.
Randal Birkey was commissioned to produce this digital watercolor aerial forced-perspective map. The final file was delivered to the design agency and imported into standard digital page layout software for final print reproduction.
Aerial Map Illustration
Based upon a web search and other aerial map samples posted online, Belhaven College contacted Randal Birkey to create a custom map featuring their various campus locations in: Memphis, Tennessee, Orlando, Florida, Houston, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi. To help give the map a sense of orientation and scale, stylized skylines of Seattle, Washington, Chicago, Illinois and New York City were placed in the background.
This illustration was done on a Mac using Painter and Adobe Photoshop software, and a Wacom Tablet. The final digital file was delivered via email to the customer.
Belhaven College - Aerial Perspective Map
Randal created the first aerial perspective campus map for Emmanuel College, located in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2006. The first version is posted here as it appeared in the 1996 Viewbook on pages 58-59:
Emmanuel College Campus Map - Viewbook 2006
One nice thing about digital line and watercolor illustration produced this way, is that later changes and updates can be much more easily and seamlessly made. Emmanuel College contacted Randal again in 2009 to ask about updating the map to reflect changes in the campus due to the addition of new building facilities and changes in the master plan. The next image shows how the changes were incorporated.
Emmanuel College Campus Map - Viewbook 2009
Randal has created aerial perspective college campus maps, site plans and master plans for colleges including:
- Wheaton College – Wheaton, Illinois
- Belhaven College – Jackson, Mississippi
- Emmanuel College – Boston, Massachusetts
Emmanuel Campus Map - Early Sketch