Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jim Leggitt

Design Visualization- Merging hand drawing with digital tools

Primary visualist of studioINSITE in Denver, Jim Leggitt is an urban planner, architect, illustrator, and author in touch with both classical and digital drawing methods. In his presentation to CSU students, Jim highlighted clever tips and tricks for representing designed landscapes to clients.

Computers, on their own, cannot replicate the beauty of hand drawing, which is why Jim recommends that students combine SketchUp modeling framework with hand-drawing techniques. People best relate to images which are realistically represented but have the characteristic look of hand drawing. Using layers of trace paper along with photographs and printed SketchUp perspectives helps to build these accurate and authentic illustrations.

The illustration process that Jim follows is roughly like this: using photographs or printed Google Earth images, he traces the footings of the buildings, imports the image into SketchUp, builds up the height and basic structure of each building digitally, pans around the SketchUp model to find the best perspectives, prints those perspectives, hand sketches on trace over the SketchUp perspective with a hard pencil (ink is too strong), colors first with markers then colored pencils, then scans the drawn and colored image back into the computer for Photoshop editing.

Simple, right? Although the process may seem grueling, it can be buffered down to any personalized combination of back-and-forth hand drawing and digital drawing. SketchUp can be learned individually through online video tutorials and webinars. This website offers advice and webinars on getting started with SketchUp.

Additional tips and tricks given by Jim were to add a gray filter and erase lights to create night scenes, using trace paper over photographs to "ghost" the background image, placing images of people and cars in SketchUp then tracing over them by hand rather than inventing people or cars, inserting landscape images into the background of SketchUp scenes, and always trying to limit the size of hand drawings for speed.

Jim left students with this statement:
"magic happens when you combine hand drawing, cool digital tools, and a big dose of creative experimentation"

Monday, September 28, 2015

David Troast

David Troast, City Manager of Hackensack, New Jersey, spoke with students last week as part of SCASLA's Fall into Landscape Architecture series. David is a graduate of Colorado State University's Landscape Architecture program and was eager to share the details of his work experience with current students.

New to the job market, married, and struggling to establish a career, David found himself in between jobs after serving as a small town manager and studying planning under Johnathan Barnett, current University of Pennsylvania professor, in New York City. While laid off, David opted to further his education by completing a masters degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University in New Jersey. From there, he was hired as the City Manager of Hackensack.

As City Manager, Mr. Troast is responsible for preparing the annual budget, engaging with city council members, recommending municipal improvement proposals and locations, and implementing public policy. His ultimate goal is to assure proper financing and push projects through levels of city government. This involves contacting, organizing, and overseeing everyone involved with a given project-- city planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and attorneys.

David made a point to emphasize the role of landscape architects in city planning. Planners must consider which attributes are woven into successful downtown districts, like high population density, mixed-use retail, entertainment, culture, plazas, parks, public transit, adequate parking, etc. The aforementioned threads are what define the character of a lively downtown. Within his slides, David mentioned a quote from Jane Jacobs' book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, stating that "you can't rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there". Simply stated, people must be able to live and thrive downtown, not commute for special occasions.

Currently, David and his colleagues are working to revitalize Main St. in Hackensack. Their goal is to create a vibrant downtown through construction of high-rise residential buildings, vertically-stacked parking, and urban green space in place of inactive hardscapes.

David left students with a quote of his own, saying "the best planners are, first, landscape architects".

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jason Himick

Jason Himick of Boulder-based landscape architecture firm Confluent Design will be joining students and staff for a lecture this Wednesday, February 11th.

Jason's work focuses on outdoor recreation, bringing "a design perspective for open space and parks not commonly found among designers", as quoted from http://www.confluentdesign.net/ where you can go to find more information about his work.

Please join us this Wednesday at 12pm in room B101 of the Natural and Environmental Sciences Building.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fall into Landscape Architecture Lecture Videos

If you missed the Fall lecture series, don't worry, you can watch the recordings of the lectures.

Chip Sullivan

Dan Euser

Saturday, December 6, 2014

ASLA Conference

Landscape Architecture students had the unique opportunity to trade their time as volunteers for attendance of the ASLA Conference in Denver from November 21st until the 24th. In total, students volunteered over 700 hours of time! Which was the said to be the greatest turn out for student volunteers in the conference's history.

 Students volunteered as expo attendants, room monitors, and greeters, having the opportunity to listen to the lectures of some of the biggest names in the field.  A few students were introduced to Peter Walker!

The Expo was held on Saturday and Sunday the 22nd & 23rd of November. The expo provided students with the opportunity to test and visualize materials, play equipment and be introduced to new computer rendering programs. There were also book signing events, illustrations up for viewing, and unlimited opportunities to connect with professionals in the field.

 Overall, the 2014 ASLA Conference and Expo was a novel experience for everyone involved. If you would like to see more photos from the conference, please visit our website:

Or follow us on Instagram: SCASLA On Instagram

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Original Landscape Cartoonist

Chip Sullivan spoke to students at Colorado State of his career as the first "landscape cartoonist" through the lens of comic books. He shared photos from his earlier days as a devotee of Madmen comics, which began his art education and set the framework for the rest of his career. As discussed in his lecture, story boards with individual frames are an effective tool for coaxing images out of a blank page and to record the creative process as ideas flow. Emphasis on the superiority of hand drawing is apparent in Chip's fascination with Disney & Pixar animators who still draw individual frames to capture each moment of cinematography before digital animation is utilized.

Chip encourages tuning of the biological clock in order to work efficiently when the creative mind is most active, as well as daydreaming and dream journaling to find inspiration. In his new publication, The Lanscape Imagineer, Chip explores the route of landscape architecture as a career and how some professionals have come to choose it. For Chip and many others, the manipulation of toy train sets and imagination of these small worlds played a key role.

Chip briefly discussed some of his new publications, including The Illustrated History of Landscape Architecture, Garden & Climate, The Seven Lamps of Landscape Architecture, and Cartooning the Landscape.

After the lecture, Chip signed & doodled in students' copies of his drawing textbook, Drawing the Landscape, then took a group of students on a drawing walk from the north end of Old Town.

The students and staff of Colorado State University thank Chip Sullivan for his time and enthusiasm.