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Terence McFadden

The Ritz-Carlton
Terence McFadden
Country Flag US
I specialize in hand-drawn + digital renderings and concept illustrations. With a background in architecture and 20 years' experience, I combine spatial understanding and aesthetic expertise with imagination created fun, exciting illustrations.
Concept sketch of a fireplace

You have worked on a wide range of projects for a variety of Clients—concept art and storyboards for movie and television production companies, sketches for event planners, renderings for architects and interior designers, agency boards and storyboards for directors and advertising agencies. What would you say is the most important element you bring to this variety of work?

I bring a true sense of physicality and perspective. My background is in architecture and interior design. Whether I draw interior or exterior spaces, my drawings always feel real, as if the backgrounds and the objects had weight and dimension.

Additionally, I bring a warm, traditional vibe to my drawings. Even though I use a computer, the final product looks as if it had been done by hand using pencils, watercolor paints, or color markers.

Design of a bar
Concept sketch of an outdoor restaurant

What does your creative process look like?

Once the team has defined the project goals, I’ll start my preliminary sketches, either on my iPad or with pencil and paper. Many of the samples I present here show these sketches. Then I review these early conceptual drawings with the project team either in person, by email or through Slack.

Concept sketch of a living room

Before starting a new project, what information are you looking for from the Customer? What do you ask them?

I usually start all designs or illustrations with certain “big picture” questions for the Client, Project Manager or Art Director:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with this design or these illustrations?
  • What are the project goals?
  • What is the scope of my involvement?
  • Will I be working with you to develop the concept, preparing a series of illustrations that present various design options?
  • Or have you developed the concept and you simply need final illustrations?

Then I’ll ask for details, for any scripts or treatments, sketches, preliminary drawings, or mood boards that the collaborators may have already created.

Also, I need to know what the project milestones and deadlines are. (With proper planning, I can work with any schedule!)

Concept sketch of a garage
Concept sketch of an interior

How do you work with clients to ensure their vision is accurately represented in your work?

I make sure I understand what the project goals are then I keep asking questions. Sometimes my questions help the team define their objectives and vision. Then I prioritize the most important issues to get to the desired outcome.

Concept sketch of a lobby
Concept sketch of a home bar

You have worked as a Concept Artist at multiple studios and on multiple projects. With each project demanding a different aesthetic, how did you shift gears to excel in that position?

Every project has its own personality, and that personality guides my aesthetic direction. The mood boards or even verbal descriptions provided by a Client or a Design Director may guide my aesthetic direction. Additional inspiration can come from many sources—the other talented Creatives at Laetro can inspire new aesthetic directions! Also, I have a large library of art and design books I can draw from.

During the review process, I will check to make sure the team agrees on the aesthetic direction.

Concept sketch of a TV chandelier

How do you walk the line between being unique, giving a good user experience, and having commercial appeal?

I try to bring a unique perspective to a project, while grounding the design in the project requirements. My illustrations have a winning, friendly hand-drawn quality, which tends to have a universal appeal.

Concept sketch of a bookstore

How do you manage your time/effort as a Creative while making time for your family & life?

I’m fortunate to work in a field I love and in a time where technology allows me to work from anywhere. Because I have fun as a designer and illustrator, my career has never felt like a burden pulling me away from “life.”

Then, I stay organized and on top of the project’s priorities and milestones and work towards them with focus, so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

That said, we all need take breaks during the day, whether it’s a quick stretch break or walk to the supermarket, to stay healthy and return to the project revitalized and with new perspectives. Having “fresh eyes” allows me to add vitality and refinement to a project.

Moreover, as an illustrator I can take trips that combine family togetherness with creative development. When you travel you get to experience new places, ideas, and perspectives, and those experiences feed your creativity.

Concept sketch of a kitchen
Concept sketch of an installation

What are some valuable lessons you’ve learned professionally so far?

Being successful at work comes from working and developing as a team. I will always have my own ideas about a project, but the work succeeds due to multiple perspectives.

Concept sketch of an ice skating rink
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