Caleb Laughlin is an Associate Designer and Architectural Illustrator at Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architects in Eugene, Oregon, as well as a freelance illustrator. Last year Cameron’s rendering of the Willamette River Bridge (below) won an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI). The image can be found ASAI’s annual publication, Architecture in Perspective 26. Read on to learn more about Caleb and learn how he uses Copics in his amazing illustrations.
When did you first become interested in architectural illustration?
I’ve always been interested in Industrial design, concept art and illustration. As a kid I was fascinated by the design work of Ralph Mcquarrie and Joe Johnston who, among other things, were the lead designers behind the original Star Wars movies. While in the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Oregon I found that I really enjoyed producing the Landscape and Architectural renderings that would accompany our design group’s final presentations.
Do you have any formal training?
I graduated from the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture as well attended a couple of different design workshops over the years. But other than that I have had no formal training, just a lifelong love of drawing.
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
My typical day is split into two parts, the first I spend at the Landscape Architecture Firm of Cameron McCarthy here in Eugene Oregon, where I focus primarily on Landscape and Architectural illustrations for design concepts, proposals and promotional purposes. I also work from home as a Freelance Illustrator, where I focus on illustrations for books, graphic design and logo and character development.
Why did you choose Copic products for your illustrations?
I’ve used Copic products for years, they are fast and easy to use and the wide variety of colors allows for a fair amount of flexibility with regards to illustration. I use the Mulitiliners for the initial line and texture work and then follow up with sketch markers for color. I use a standard set of go-to sketch colors in virtually every rendering and then mix it up with different hues to help establish the overall drawing mood. When I am done working with the Copics I usually follow up with colored pencil to add an additional depth of color and texture.
Do you prefer traditional media over digital?
I feel both types of media have very important places within the design profession. Digital media is great for products that may require future revisions, I think for this reason it is a fantastic move that Sketchbook Pro came out with a Copic Color edition, I am now able to utilize my traditional Copic color palette while having the streamlined flexibility of a digital tablet for quick edits. I still prefer the unpredictability that a hand rendered sketch produces where many times unintended mistakes create wonderful surprises that would not have happened in a controlled digital environment.
What’s the most challenging thing about architectural illustration?
One of the most challenging things about architectural illustration or illustration for that matter is allowing yourself to work outside of your comfort zone and push the boundaries of what you know especially within a time sensitive project deadline environment. It is really easy to rely on already proven illustration techniques in order to meet deadlines therefore missing potentially rewarding opportunities for growth.
What are you working on right now? Any personal projects?
At Cameron McCarthy I am working on a couple of concept illustrations for some local clients. I am personally working on illustrations for a children’s book by a local Author in Eugene as well as some animations and illustrations that will be self-published in the future.
What’s your favorite Copic color?
B60 – It’s a fantastic base color for sky and light shadows, it has essences of pinks and purples that become apparent when it is allowed to bleed out on a nice photocopy paper.
Any words of advice for new artists interested in pursuing architectural illustration?
Find illustrators whose renderings intrigue and inspire you and try to emulate their techniques as much as possible, it’s amazing what you will learn about them as well as yourself it will help you to find your own illustration style and technique.