Randal was commissioned by a real estate development firm to develop this architectural rendering of a residential design being offered in a development in Chicago’s near South Loop area. This was to be new construction offered in the Prairie School style, popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright. Randal first worked from architectural drawings to develop a 3D perspective wireframe. Once a view was established and approved by the client, Randal transferred the line work to watercolor illustration board, then rendered the house in watercolor and ink line work. The original was done on D’Arches 22 x 32 watercolor illustration board.
This was a cover illustration for a Minneapolis business magazine, that ran a feature article on growing the downtown real estate business back in the 1980′s. The original was done in color pencil, but I seem to have lost that version, and only this black and white version survived.
Randal was retained by a real estate development company in Chicago called Walsh-Higgins, to render a proposed office building to be located next to the Walgreens headquarters in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The architectural design blueprint drawings were provided. Randal first created a 3D wirefame model of the building on his Mac using a 3D modeling software. The final perspective view was transferred to watercolor board and then inked by hand using sepia ink in Rapidograph pens. The final step was to add Windsor & Newton watercolor washes to the bring out color, forms, tone and texture. The finished art was 20 x 30 inches, and was drum scanned for 4-color offset printing plates and reproduction.
Randal did many illustrations using a “stipple” ink line style in the early 1980′s before the Macintosh computer came along and changed the way business and print communications were done… the so-called “desktop publishing” revolution. This is an example of a real estate development site plan done by hand in stipple style, primarily because the style lends itself very well for newsprint and magazine reproduction.
Randal Birkey was commissioned by Chicago commercial real estate development firm LaSalle Partners to prepare a site plan of a new development in the northern suburbs of Chicago. This color study was done on neutral gray illustration board using color pencils.
During the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s, Randal Birkey created hundreds of maps, site plans, master plans and architectural renderings of real estate development projects by The Alter Group. The Alter Group has been a real estate developer in the Chicago area for over 50 years, responsible for many of the most prestigious business developments in the area.
The illustration style we adopted was a loose, sepia pen & ink line style with watercolor added for texture and color. This look became part of The Alter Group brand look and design during those years.
Randal’s friend Rich Nickel and Rich Nickel Design became The Alter Group’s preferred design firm, keeping the standard of their visual design and brand standards very high.
This site plan was from the Lake Center commercial business development, and the one below was the Tektronix location development plan.
The ad agency for a Maryland based real estate developer contacted Randal Birkey as the result of a web search. The agency required a map of the downtown area of Bethesda, Maryland, on which to locate many area amenities for a print brochure on a proposed new high-rise condominium project.
Randal created this digital watercolor map using aerial photography as a reference point. He used an Apple Macintosh computer running a software program called Painter (now a Corel product). Digital “Watercolor brushes” were controlled using a Wacom tablet connected to Randal’s computer. The final files were formatted and prepared in Adobe Photoshop, and delivered to the customer via email.