Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics and Highland Park, New Jersey

House Illustrations and Illustrator Notes

December 26th, 2013 by

house on N 5th avenue illustration
I am continuing my work on house illustrations. Last week I showed you a sketch I had done of a Highland Park house. Above is my Illustrator version of an illustration of this home. I originally made all the windows black, and then I decided to switch the windows above to a blue gradient, so it looks like a sky reflection. The illustration is made of a collection of shapes placed in many layers in Illustrator.

One of the features of a good flat design illustration is eliminating details and only depicting what is most important to view. This process of what to include and what to leave out is not an easy one.

tall house North 7th
My long term plan is to depict at least three homes in this manner. Here is another house illustration – I sketched the above drawing by hand using pencil and then a ink pen (then I scanned it into the computer). If you know Highland Park, I welcome you to walk around and look at the homes to see if you can find these. But I won’t identify them directly.

I also plan to do some flat design bushes and trees as elements in between the homes. The lamppost in the top illustration makes a fine detail for this purpose as well. I’ve been collecting various illustrations in Pinterest so I can refer to those illustrations for ideas.

line art of house tall north 7th
This morning I was playing around with the Live Trace tool in Illustrator, and I created the above line art drawing from the original sketch.

This process of creating a suburban street scene with houses and trees is taking longer than I anticipated.

21 Responses to House Illustrations and Illustrator Notes

  1. Lorri M. says:

    I really like the illustration, its tones and contrasts, and the geometrical aspects you depicted. Nicely done! I love the lamp.

    The illustrations/line art are wonderful. You are so very talented.

  2. batya says:

    Interesting. I can’t draw at all, never could. That’s one of the reasons I like photography as an art medium.

    • Leora says:

      Batya, I bet if you were willing, I could teach you the basics. Once you get over the fear (or the “I can’t do it”), I’m sure you can draw. After learning the basics (which is really learning to see), you can improve your skills on your own.

  3. I agree… You are very talented. I wish I could come and see if I could find the houses… Michelle

  4. Catarina says:

    Good idea, Leora. You make me feel lazy for not creating illustrations online. Maybe one day I will find a reason for starting to use Illustrator.

  5. Susan Cooper says:

    I love your sketches of the house. I have been working on getting my drawing tools out and this encourages me to do so. The illustration of the house is cool. I really enjoy watching you and your art. More please. :-)

    • Leora says:

      Well, we encourage each other! Let me know if you find other artists/sketchers/need encouragement type visual artists to follow. I certainly need the outlet(s).

  6. Nicely done! I love the gradient blue in the upper windows. Even with illustrating software, I’m a lousy artist…I admire your talent very much.

    • Leora says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline. I’m thinking of a deep blue gradient for the windows below. However, all this may be too much detail for my final project. So I’ll wait and see.

      You are right – tools are just tools, be the tools software or paint brushes. One can do all sorts of things with a tool – or not.

  7. Greg says:

    Looks like a lovely place. Always wanted an attic room.

    • Leora says:

      One of the fun parts of illustrating is you don’t have to be honest. When I do my own house, I can add back in the circular window in the attic the previous owners took out years ago.

      Thanks for commenting, Greg.

  8. Donna Janke says:

    I like your comment “One of the features of a good flat design illustration is eliminating details and only depicting what is most important to view.” This summer I traveled with my sister, who sketches. It was something we noticed when she sketched Buckingham Palace and we later looked at other sketches online. I am a writer and the same principle applies to a story. The challenge is finding the most important details and appropriately depicting them. Good work.

    • Leora says:

      Donna, I so appreciate your pulling that line from the post. Yes, it seems that illustrating a scene and writing a scene are about making choices. The nice part about blogging is showing the creative journey.

  9. Very cool, Leora. I admire you and Susan Cooper for having such talent in the illustrating department. I’m good with words and photos, but drawing … no way. All the best to you in 2014.

    • Leora says:

      Thank you so much, Doreen. I will aim to do more illustrating and sketching in 2014. Where it takes me, I don’t know. I actually had the opportunity to do some illustrating for two clients this year (and some interesting Photoshopping for two others). I learned that I need the skills fast when it’s for a client, so I’m honing my skills by sharing on this blog.

  10. I love your sketches, they are excellent. I think using your own own art work to illustrate posts is a wonderful idea. It helps that you have talent, but I also think that with a little help (and some imagination) anyone can learn to do simple illustrations.

    • Leora says:

      Debra, thank you. I don’t know about anyone – some people have their strengths elsewhere. But a lot of people just need some basic training in art and drawing, and then they could really do well. There is so much online that one can use for self-tutoring, although I think the in-person teacher is still the best.

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