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Technical Illustration

Technical illustrations for industry: perspectives, cutaways, exploded drawings; illustrations for manuals and didactics; advertising illustrations; presentation illustrations for projects and architecture.

airbrushing in 1988
The airbrush and I, 1988
It's necessary to wear a protective mask while airbrushing
photo: Andrea Obinu's archive

Technical Illustration is a wide field, ranging from freehand pencil sketches up to photorealistic airbrush renderings, through India ink cutaway perspective drawings.

The technical illustrator needs a complete knowledge of technical drawing language, of perspective, of many art media and techniques; a wide technical education, the sensibility of a painter, the lighting mastering of a photographer.

free hand pencil illustration
The piston, pencil on paper,
10" x 12" (25 x 30 cm), 1988.

Drawn from life. For this illustration, entirely free hand drawn copying the real piston, which had been cutaway in my father's workshop, I used lead pencils ranging from 2H to 7B, a stump and an eraser.

Besides, the illustrator shall be able to fancy the game lights and shades are likely to play on a nonexistent object which has just been designed but which hasn't been realized yet, as illustrations are often used to describe an object weeks before it can be photographed.

I started loving technical illustration very early, since, as a child, I was fascinated by the drawings I saw in technical manuals in my father's workshop. Later, I became fond of perspective, which I could study in depth, of color usage and of several pictorial techniques, from pastels, which I conceive a real passion for, to airbrush.

pastels illustration
Fountain pen, pastels on paper, detail, 1997
Size: the pen is 34 cm (13.4")
This illustration, performed as a personal research, is just reaching the very limits of pastels possibilities.

Perspective urged me later to go deep inside photography: conical projections used in perspective representations are actually the same that take place inside a camera; lens interchange is equivalent to variations in the field of view, and a view camera (the only tool for first-rate architectural photography) can achieve a perfect perspective with two vanishing points, without apparent deformations.

Through photography (which remained an hobby, indeed) I improved my knowledge about correct light usage, which gave me a better consciousness in choosing lighting patterns for my illustrations subjects.

vector graphics, 79 KB
Chronograph, vector graphics.
Original file size: 79 KB. The "Race Committee" wrist chronograph, which I conceived to be used by colleagues Sail Racing Judges.
In early 1988 lights and shades are still playing the same game.
Computers changed the way of realizing an illustration, and a perspective view usually comes as a byproduct of any advanced 3D CAD application; the airbrush is rather complicated a tool, but a professional illustration still requires hours of skilled work

A technical drawing is a communication in a conventional language, codified by standards and with a strong symbolic content, intended to transmit ideas from a technician to another one to make possible the realization of an object.
As soon as the drawing ceases to express its content in a symbolic form only, and it begins to include elements of a realistic representation, it turns into an illustration, and what it is representing becomes visually intelligible by every observer

Andrea "Dria" Obinu

International Web Association - Alessandro Marcelli - Member

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