Too often we start the technical part of a rendering (building a 3D model) when, in fact, we should be developing a mood. It may seem like semantics, but it certainly isn’t. A rendering by itself is simply a static image. A mood is a strategy that tells your story through imagery and color.  

Computer Off

Every rendering or illustration needs to start with a pencil in your hand and your computer turned off. Don’t jump into your rendering software until you’ve done your homework and have pages of sketches. If you skip this step, you’re letting the computer design and you’ll end up with a rendering without heart.

Describe the Mood

Before we even sketch, take out that paper and pencil and begin to write down words that describes your rendering or illustration, the culture, the people in the community who will use the space, what people will find when they arrive, etc. This helps to find a foundation to build your rendering on. Just because your building is 30,000 ft.², and three stories, doesn't mean, you have to show everything in one view (sorry architects). Instead, your rendering should tell your story.

Sketching Time

Once you’ve written out this list of words that make up your story, now you can begin to isolate the main threads that run through your intent. Now, you can begin to sketch with the goal of putting into visual terms these key concepts. Sketch and sketch and sketch. Put the paper down, go take a walk downtown, play catch with your kids, pull yourself away and refresh. Now, go back and sketch some more. Now Use the Computer Now take a look at your sketches, highlight those that jump out at you… now you can turn the computer on.