Sunday, May 12, 2013

Urban landscape: some reference material

As I said in the last post, many stucco homes from the '60s were little more than stucco boxes on grass.  They often weren't terribly photogenic or a lot of fun to look at, but they were by and large functional and comfortable.

So let's pretend... we're background artists for H-B back in the 60s and our assignment is to create some home exteriors, front and back, to a very typical So Cal home.  To get some ideas you might flip through Sunset magazine, or the local paper, or maybe take photos of homes in the neighborhood.

But if you were really pressed for time - or really resourceful - why not grab one of the free real estate mags that littered every newsstand, business foyer, grocery store entrance and elevator lobby?  Lots of reference photos and the price was right!

 If you flipped through the listings you would probably come up with a few pics like these:

You'll notice my eye is attracted to the homes where the garage forms an L to the home proper.  A little more interesting angle-wise.
For backyard shots how true do these photos ring?
If I knew one guy I knew a thousand who lived in homes in which the backyard looked exactly like this!
These are some pretty typical shots of So Cal homes from the 60s.  If we keep it very simple... and these are very simple homes... we should be able to churn out a couple of backgrounds.

Refer back to the H-B examples in the last post.  See how they kept details to a minimum; they emphasized only those things that added to the ambiance?  That is to say, no need to include the dying back lawn or the crappy cinder-block side fence. Grass is green; fences are wood.  Angles are straight, walls are clean, windows are whatever you want them to be.  And wherever you want them to be.

When you draw you are drawing representationsHow do you want to represent the house, the lawn, the fence, the windows, a tree?

Now, let's say concurrently you were given the assignment to make a pool scene featuring an ultra-modern house.  Contrasted against the house should be nighttime cityscape.  Flipping through your glossy magazines you might have found these:
Here are some good examples of how one artist - I believe it is Scott Wills - handled the ultra-modern house:
Ultra coolness?  You can watch this background work in "action" here: Buy One Get One Free.

Edit [6/06/13] Check out Mac George's take on the futuristic house:

Feelin' the urge to draw some backgrounds?  Let's get started!

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