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You never know what an illustration client will ask you to draw. Usually, the requests center on the ordinary — flattering portraits of salespeople, for example, or caricatures of wedding couples and their pets. Once every decade or so, something truly odd turns up… such as the woman who ordered a detailed depiction of herself in a previous life, back when she was a fur-clad Celtic princess. She kept a throne in the living room of her suburban ranch house, too, but now I’m getting off the subject.

This week, I have been finishing up an architectural rendering done in colored pencil. Since I went to art school in the pre-digital dawn of civilization, I still visit my subject and make preliminary sketches. I take photos for color reference and to remember the surrounding landscape more accurately. Then I make a complete graphite sketch:

Then the colored pencils are applied in layers. I like to draw mature, lush landscaping based on the  plantings I see in my reference photos. Shadows get an overlayer of blue or green. I like to keep the sky simple, since the house is the star of this show. It’s tempting to draw piles of cumulus clouds above the roofline, but that would be too distracting. Finally, it’s all done: