Cheltenham Art

Andy Lloyd's New York Illustrations

There is soon to be a brand new school opening in New York.  The River View Campus of the British International School of New York is based in Manhattan and enjoys commanding views across the East River. I was delighted to be asked to produce illustrations for their website and brochures, although the deadline for producing the artwork was quite tight.


Because there is currently on-going building work at the grounds of the school-to-be, photographs of the site were a bit patchy.  The illustrative work I was commissioned to produce involved working from those photos, and then recreating a school atmosphere by adding in children and authentic classroom settings.  Additionally, the uniform required sometimes differed from the pictures I had been given to work with.   Thus, amalgamations of different subject matter were required, producing creations which might look quite simple when finished, but were tricky to plan out and paint accurately.  For instance, the children in the swimming pool scene were added in from other photos at a completely different pool.

Similarly, the uniforms of these children all had to change.  I'm particularly proud of these pictures because they seem very natural.  The background of the classroom shows the New York scene across the river, creating a suitable backdrop for these originally British schoolchildren.  And in the second picture I managed to achieve the effect of the children actually sitting on the low walls of the garden in the school grounds, rather than the steps they were originally sat upon.

This image shows the source material used to create the illustrations.  In the classroom scene I used the foreground of the children around the table, but had to change the uniforms to red.  That meant changing the table to blue, otherwise the illustration would have overdosed on red.  You can also see a photo of the real interior above, in a state of refurbishment.  That obviously needed quite a bit of brightening up!  Likewise with the outdoor scene on the patio; a winter scene needed to become brighter with some spring flowers and light.

In the left-hand illustration I tried to capture the idea of a colourful playground set within the incredible views that the school enjoys.  This version of the picture shows more of the building than the one on the school's website.  The right-hand illustration of the library was a particularly difficult challenge, being based only upon a pencil-drawn sketch.  To create the interior and exterior I used 6 different photographs for source material and carefully amalgamated the various parts, hoping to end up with realistic perspective and the effect of light streaming through the windows.  Not easy!  Again, I've tried to balance the feel of a living school with the dominating architecture of the Manhattan skyline.

I've painted the background in a mature watercolour style, quite at odds with the more primary, acrylic look of the playground itself.  In the gym illustration, I've again mentally set the climbing frame up to look like it naturally works within the room, and I'm particularly pleased with the result.  The children look like they're really in the gym.  Which, when the school opens shortly, they will be for real!


You can see the illustrations on the British International School of New York website.



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Since 10th February 2006

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