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Rob Dunlavey
Integrated Building Systems
posted:
"Integrated Building Systems" for NFPA Journal | digital | AD: Dave Yount
pen, charcoal, Photoshop
The process of making an illustration is often like the subject of this spread I recently completed for NFPA Journal. NFPA is an excellent editorial client and I always look forward to working with the talented and sympathetic art director Dave Yount.

The article was about the evolving state of building design that anticipates the integration of various mechanical, climate control and fire safety systems. My immediate thought was to show cranes assembling mismatched modules that represent different systems.
Like the real-world issues described in the article, this illustration for me, resulted in a hard-to-reconcile combination of abstract concepts and realistic rendering that ultimately undermined my original artistic concept. The illustration is pretty and was fun to paint but I think that once I went down the 3-d road and incorporated the letterforms (I, B and S), we lost the streamlined communicative and graphic power that was in the sketches. I'm not going to lose any sleep over this but I'll be more attentive as I sketch in the future. Also, mind your step as you exit the concept phase of an assignment and enter the rendering phase. In the best jobs, they are somehow magically integrated.
sketches: watercolor, collage, pen, digital color
Dave's reaction to the first round of sketches was lukewarm and I decided to suggest an intricate puzzle rather than an abstract solution that clearly couldn't fit together. I created a 3-d wooden puzzle and started to disassemble it and create an interesting composition.
Flashbacks anyone? This is Adobe Dimensions 3.0 running in Classic. I render the shapes in postscript and copy them into Freehand where I do the bulk of my work.
left: hybrid sketch with abstract shapes and 3-d puzzle. right: Hmmm… second thoughts: maybe the article is really about miscommunication between different engineering disciplines.
The job started out as a single page illustration. Below are some details:
echoes of Doug Fraser!


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