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Airship Notebooks

Here’s an interesting architecture pencil drawing by Andy Estrada (@andy_estra) of a taco restaurant that appears to be a bit down on its luck.

Known much more for his expressive and unique character designs and sketches, Andy’s IG posts typically include anthropomorphic animals with facial expressions, gestures and poses that remind us of classic cartoon masterpiece magic… the characters are obviously animals, but you can see the human emotions painted (or sketched) on their face and the way they stand, slouch, or pose triumphantly is so utterly human you imagine yourself in the character’s shoes (or paws, as the case may be).

Andy uses his character design skills (perhaps unbeknownst to himself) to create this taco restaurant. Granted, you don’t see eyes or hands or anything like that, but the textures he uses, details he includes, and position, shape and posture he applies to everything in this sketch depicts a building that has seen better days. The result makes the structure almost like another character in a story, which gives new meaning to the term, “character building.”

Maybe at one time the building stood tall, straight and proud, happy to accept and welcome new customers with its bright plastered brick facade, shiny metal roof and inviting outdoor dining. But this restaurant has been ridden as hard as veteran pony express horse. Tough economic times and perhaps a location that attracts the bare minimum of foot traffic have left the proprietors in dire straits. And much like the portrait in the “Picture of Dorian Gray”, which changes as its owner performs greater and greater dastardly deeds, the disheartening business sales and forlorn emotions of the building’s restaurateurs have literally and figuratively depressed this building, causing it to bend and slouch.

Sure, we could also explain this all as poor maintenance practices and overall neglect (not to mention shotty construction and perhaps a lack of proper engineering). But because those factors tend to follow and trudge hand-in-hand with economic and emotional depression, this building’s “emotions” are the perfect symbolism for how its owners (and perhaps the entire neighborhood) are feeling.

This makes just as much of a statement as an architectural edifice or towering skyscraper might evoke the feelings of strength, power, and economic viability. Character design is truly important, but showing how those characters interact with and change (or how they have changed) their surroundings adds depth to your creations and helps to tell a story.

Be sure to head over the Andy’s page to check out his characters… many of which were drawn in his own Airship sketchbook. Oh, and perhaps you’ll consider checking out Andy’s photo book, which contains some of his works from Instagram, printed in a cool square shaped book.