Quite a few years ago (in the days of airbrush, acrylic paints and real bristle brushes) I illustrated a poster for a bike company that offered bike tours from the top of Haleakala Mountain (10,000 ft) down to sea level.
It was one of those dream jobs every illustrator dreams about: part of the research included a helicopter ride from the top to the bottom of this big Hawaiian mountain.
Back to today: Chris Mentzel of Hina-Maui (http://www.hinamaui.com) remembered that poster and thought I could do something similar for him: this time illustrating a poster for a system that could potentially make Maui independent of all fossil-fuel based energy and thus create on the island the world’s largest 100% renewable energy grid.
Another dream job! Not because it involved a helicopter ride, but because the subject matter is so close to home and such an important one. With the amount of sun and wind the island gets, it makes no sense to rely on imported energy resources. Solar and wind power today still seem under utilized on the island. It’s only been a few years, that Maui started utilizing wind power and slowly people are installing solar panels on their roof tops.
With the system Hina-Maui proposes, sea water would get de-salted and pumped into large storage tanks. Solar power provides electricity to pump water up the mountain during the day, at night the water flows back through generators to create “Moon Power”. The desalination plant provides water to initially fill the system and later is able to supply water to the farms and forests situated on the south-eastern dry backside of Maui. This will eventually support reforestation and make land available for more farming.
Chris sent me google earth maps to illustrate the concept and asked me to create an illustration that is pleasing to the eye, shows the location at the south-eastern dry backside of Maui and Haleakala, called Kahikinui, make it obvious that we are looking at this location, as well as show the different elements that make up the hydro storage system.
In order to make it all fit, I had to crunch the Haleakala backside and also grant myself artistic license as the terrain looks different in real life and we wanted to show how it potentially could look someday.
Something else that came in handy while I was working on this was, that I am in the middle of teaching myself Maya 3d. Instead of drawing the little houses, the mountain, pipes etc in the right perspective, I created 3d models in Maya, moved them around the way I liked them and used these then as resources for the final illustration.