Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago, Illinois

Architectural Illustration, Watercolor Painting

I have a friend named Linda VanderWeele, who did a lot of graphic design in the 1980s for various Chicago area firms. One of her clients was the Chicago Board of Trade. They commissioned her to design a coffee table piece on the architectural history and interest of their building, a well-known Chicago landmark.

Linda asked me to illustrate the center spread with an aerial perspective view of the building, and an illustrated floor plan, showing the two main sections. This I did using historical blueprints and architectural drawings from the CBOT archives. The original building is a great example of Art Deco style architecture, designed by Holabird & Root, and completed in 1930. The addition, designed by Chicago architect, Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn, was completed in 1980 and is an example of the Postmodern style.

I used a 3D modeling program on my Mac computer, called MacPerspective. Once the wireframe was completed, I transferred it by hand to watercolor paper/board, and inked in the line work with sepia ink. I added the watercolor washes last.

In the construction of the illustration 3D model and then the illustration, I intentionally left out details from surrounding buildings to create the visual focus on the CBOT, but yet give the building a sense of scale in its setting.

Chicago Board of Trade