A Suite of Tropical Sketches (sadly, done while it was 30 degrees and Rainy Outside)

One of nine concept sketches from a week's effort at the end of March. ©jeff stikeman architectural art

I’d set aside a month to do 10 of these images, figuring it would make for a relaxing pace and allow time to work with a new client.  I don’t like to go into a project with a new client on a very short term schedule, because I’d prefer that they get a chance to review these more closely as we go, and so they can get a feel for where things are headed and how the images are developed.  As it turns out, none of the design information was ready for me for about three weeks, but since the due date didn’t move to accommodate the delay, I was still gunning for all ten in a week.  Mind you, at that point, my getting them done is a favor, not a contractual obligation.

But they got done.  Well, nine of them, anyway.  The tenth will need a little more design information and consideration before I can begin on that.

…a couple details from one of the images.

Detail of the same image, showing a proposed concept for the project's drawbridge. ©jeff stikeman architectural art

When I drew these, it was 30 degrees and wet and rainy outside.  Thankfully, the day after I finished these I took a quick flight to warmth and palm trees.  Mini-vacation…  I needed it.

Detail of a portion of a marina, from the left-hand side of the same image. ©jeff stikeman architectural art

Although the drawbridge was the center of interest, this is my favorite part of the image.

I hope to post all 9 some day.  It may be sooner rather than later… We’ll see.

The images are a combination of collage, photoshop, and pencil, and are all 11×17 and 300dpi.


© Jeff Stikeman and jeff stikeman architectural art, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeff Stikeman and jeff stikeman architectural art with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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6 responses to “A Suite of Tropical Sketches (sadly, done while it was 30 degrees and Rainy Outside)

  1. There’s nothing harder than imagining warmth when you’re wet and cold, you’ve definitely achieved the lightness of the tropics. Cheers Sue

  2. George

    Wonderful work….a truly inspiring technique. I love your ability to “sensitize” a computer-based illustration which is something a few of us at university have been trying to accomplish with the renderings used in our presentations.
    I’m very curious, how much of your time is devoted to marketing your work or should I say, how do you find your clients? I’ll be graduating from architecture this fall, but would love to do illustrations full time-although it seems this type of position doesn’t exist in typical architecture firms these days but rather the role of independent contractors. Any words of advice would be welcome.

    Bookmarking your blog,


    • Hi George. Thanks for the kind words.
      I don’t do too much marketing, honestly. I have a portfolio website, and this blog. I must admit, too, that my portfolio site is flash, so google doesn’t see anything but the first page. Which means it’s pretty much invisible, unless you are looking for me specifically.

      To be frank, I would much prefer to get my work by word of mouth than from google. I did run google “Ad Words” for about a year, it cost a couple grand, and I never once got anyone from it. Same for postcards. I’ve sent them out, nice large-format double-sided cards, in the hopes that someone would pin one to their cubical and that some day when they needed an image, they would call me. Same thing, never really got anything from them, and they cost a couple grand as well.

      Referrals and introductions are the way to go, in my opinion. I Don’t really WANT to be the number one hit when you google “architectural renderings”. Any architect that has to google for a renderer either isn’t having them done with any frequency to be familiar with the process, hasn’t noticed anyone over the years whose work they like, or doesn’t know anyone to ask.

      My strategy is to do the best I can for each client, and to hope that they will return with more work, as well as refer me to their colleagues.

      I also put my name clearly on the image. A fancy signature is great for the ego, but about the worst thing that could happen is a future client looks at your image, loves it, and then can’t decipher your signature. I sign it, sure, but drop “www.jeffstikeman.com” under it in small print.

      As for starting out full time, if you can do it, there’s no time like the present. No where to go but up. In truth, I would say 99% of us start in architecture, and develop as pre-viz people (renderers) as a part of the gig. Later, we find we are being sought out for it, do a lot of rendering work nights and weekends, and then eventually have enough clients that we can go full time.

      Good luck. Keep in touch.
      Jeff Stikeman

      • George

        Thank you very much, Jeff, for your thoughts and advice. Just the kind of motivation I could use as my career begins to progress. Keep up the good work and I look forward to more postings on your blog.


  3. Lyle

    Absolutely beautiful work Jeff!!! I love the detail in the rendering of the water. It appears realistic, yet blends in perfectly with your style of illustration. Congrats!


    • Thanks, Lyle.
      Integrating all the assets (reference photos, site plan information, architects’ sketches, etc.) so that they are unified and work together in one ‘hand’ is much of the effort. The pace for this job was greater than one of these renderings per day, so I had to keep things suggestive and use whatever I could to get it done. Architectural Illustrators have reams of reference photos for people, cars, even trees. I couldn’t draw a boat if I had to in order to save my life, but tracing a boat? I’m your man!


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