Drawn to Houses

Ferndale resident sketches clever digital home portraits
Courtesy photo

By Megan Swoyer

Courtesy photo

Scott Iulianelli of Ferndale became a computer-aided house-portrait illustrator by accident.

He first designed some T-shirts that featured recording gear that the company he works for, Ferndale-based Vintage King Audio, sells. Working in the sales arena, Iuliannelli thought the T-shirts would be great gifts for clients. The next thing he knew, the resourceful sales pro was creating not only T-shirts, but prints of microphone imagery. “It just cascaded,” says the father of two, who also plays in a rock band called Bars of Gold.

Iulianelli says that one day his wife, Ashley, suggested he try creating an image of their home.

“I’ve had a knack for geometry and shapes, but I also like the freehand thing and the chaos. I don’t like the grid; I like things to be sloppy.” He’s referring to his drawing method, which begins when he sketches on his iPad. Ashley often helps with color suggestions.

Scott Iulianelli (Courtesy photo)

“I sketched up a pic of our house, and with a limited bag of tools, curvy lines, and not a ton of details, I created the look and feel of my home.”

His wife posted the image on social media and, ever since, Iulianelli’s been flooded with house commissions (see examples). Even real estate professionals have contacted him to create images for their clients.

Iulianelli uses reference photos that clients send him.

“I don’t do every blade of grass,” he says. “If you do that, you’ve reached the ‘uncanny valley,’ which is like when a video game is too rand your mind can’t tell the difference between reality and art.”

Iulianelli says he’s had an appreciation for houses since he was a child growing up in Highland.

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“My dad was a freelance carpenter and also worked for General Motors’ creative services department and built our home when I was a kid. My wife’s father is also a carpenter and home designer (Crazy Mountain Custom Homes by Terry Worden),” he says. “We’ve been in a million houses — it’s embedded in our DNA to appreciate home design. When you’re little, there are things you don’t want to do with your parents, but we both liked going with our fathers into homes that were under construction.”

His home portraits, which run about $50-$65 and are emailed digitally to clients, often feature a cat or a dog on the porch or in the yard.

“So far, everyone’s been happy, which makes me happy,” Iulianelli says.

Request more information at scott.iulianelli@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared in the February-March 2019 issue of Detroit Home magazine.