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T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

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Artistic Inspiration

Illustrative Architecture With a fine arts degree from the Royal College of Art in London and over 30 years of experience, illustrator and principal Chris Edwards is known for his engaging and detailed architectural illustrations.


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Artistic Inspiration Chris Edwards gives vision to projects with architectural illustrations that have an artistic touch by Rachel Goldberg

During the first stages of an architectural rendering, Chris Edwards becomes actively involved in the design process by creating detailed illustrations that bring the visions of architects to life. As Principal and Illustrator at Edwards Associates, he has garnered more than thirty years of experience in serving the needs of building professionals. Producing drawings that flush out the conceptual idea of an architectural endeavor, Edwards utilizes the latest in design technology. Yet unlike other illustrators in the industry, each of his sketches incorporate a human touch and are the end products of a dedicated artist. “What’s happened over the years is that more illustrators have moved away from handwork, such as water color and pencil drawings, to computer generation,” Edwards said. “I develop my work by integrating these two things, so that my drawings are not actually generated from a computer in a traditional sense. I bring character— the drawings are not sterile. They are works of art, and they have a human touch to them.” After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts during college, Edwards moved on to the corporate world and undertook numerous roles in business development and graphic design. Yet 4 Architecture Leaders Today

six years ago, he returned to his artistic roots by moving to California, where he founded Edwards Associates in Santa Barbara. With his new business, Edwards began to draw fulltime, collaborating closely with architectures and other building professionals to give vision to projects during the earliest stages of design. Today, he remains committed to the constant improvement of his creative skills. In addition to producing illustrations for Edwards Associates, he regularly frequents the National Gallery, draws inspiration from the architecture of his surroundings, and travels internationally to further develop the artist within. When creating illustrations for architectural design, Edwards begins each composition with a hand-drawn sketch. “The original starting point for my drawings is a hand pencil drawing, which can be scanned into the computer. Therefore the bone of the drawing has got that hand quality. I’m always observing and sketching, looking all the time for a sense of realism,” he said. Edwards then utilizes computer programs to develop images quickly. While these computer-generated images are generally simple block

out models, they ensure an accurate and realistic view of the designs. The process is completed as Edwards’ fills out each illustration by hand, bringing into play an assortment of materials to produce pencil, ink line, and colored drawings. “I use a lot of water color for sky, grass, and landscapes. It adds a wonderful softness, and I can bring that into these computerized images,” he said. Edwards Associates maintains a strong reputation for architectural illustrations, built on quality work delivered on time, as well as close consultation with architects on every project. “We have a tremendously strong service link with the architect, and it’s really much more of a dialogue,” Edwards said. “This is an important characteristic that allows us to get involved with an architect at a very young state. I can develop something 1. Concept study of the Village Green project for Barry Berkus. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc. 2. Full color rendering of condominiums for Architects West. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc. 3.Full color rendering of an office building for Investec Developers. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc.


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very quickly after discussion, and they will be happy to show it.” After an initial meeting with architects on a project, Edwards Associates follows up with the submission of preliminary sketches and layouts within two to three days. Once these preliminaries are approved, the finished work is initiated. Demonstrating great respect for tight and reliable deadlines, illustrators

at the company combine computer generation and handwork to produce black and white drawings within six days and color work within seven to ten days. Black and white illustrations, in pencil or ink, are offered for ease of economy and production, and can all be upgraded to color at a later point. Color drawings are produced by two methods: either inputting ink with

digital color, or adding tint by hand with airbrush or colored pencil. “I make the architecture look good,” Edwards said. “I’m not happy with the drawing unless the architect is happy. It has to work for them, and it has to be able to tell a story and explain everything to the client. That’s the ultimate objective; the drawing has to do its job.” Edwards has provided top-quality illustrations for a broad assortment of architectural projects. His compositions have depicted wineries, hotels, colleges, malls, banks, condominiums, churches, homes, and cottages. In one major project, Edwards conducted a series of meetings with architects and investors during the design phase of a large multi-use complex in Arizona. The imaginative project consisted of a shopping mall and a sports complex, featuring a diving well, soccer field, and tennis courts under a stretched fabric tent. After consultation and viewing the architect’s hand sketches, Edwards produced five illustrations to demonstrate the design concept. The company will take on other significant projects in the future, such as a series of illustrations for a corporation employed by the Department of Defense. Edwards will also continue to place great importance on the artistic value of the compositions that flush out architectural concepts 4.Full color rendering of a church courtyard for Rassmusen Associates. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc.

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LAUTERBACH AND ASSOCIATES Lauterbach and Associates, Architects, are 2009 recipients of the I. Donald Terner Prize for Innovation and Leadership in Affordable Housing for the St. Vincent’s Gardens project in Santa Barbara, Ca. The firm is proud to have designed past and current affordable housing projects with distinguished clients such as Mercy Housing, Many Mansions, the Area Housing Authority of Ventura County, and many more. For their most recent housing projects, Charles Street Apartments in Moorpark, Ca. and Hillcrest Drive Housing in Thousand Oaks, Ca., Lauterbach and Associates utilized Chris Edwards’s eye– popping renderings to boost their clients’ fundraising efforts.

5.Concept study of a sports complex for Bary Berkus. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc.


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visually. Yet the design firm turns in a new direction as well as Edwards anticipates incorporating new technology, particularly animation. With animation, the company will be able to produce realistic and richly colored drawings that offer a walkthrough view of building projects. While technology plays an integral role at Edwards Associates, Edwards remains invigorated by artistic motivation at the core. “This work is for a specific purpose: it is a commercial endeavor. But I am an illustrator, and I really have to be pleased with the image as an artistic endeavor to be happy myself,” he said. “This keeps me going and keeps me on my edge. I’m an artist, and the work is artistically inspired.” ALT 6. Concept study of a gym exemplifying adaptive reuse for LSC Design. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc.

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7. Full color rendering of the interior court of a condominium for Cearnal Andrulaitis. Image courtesy of Edwards Associates, Inc.


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