The story of the Carlos Diniz studio would be incomplete if certain members of the staff were not recognized. Diniz was very adept at recognizing and developing raw talent who he then led with his boundless enthusiasm and determined intention to produce work of high quality.

To accommodate the volume of commissions and deadlines that were often quite demanding, there may have been 2 to 4 artists working elbow to elbow on a single rendering. Many of the artwork panels were large in scale, which aided the ability to work in tandem.

It was vital that the artists be able to match Diniz’s hand with accuracy so that the execution was seamless. As a result, the alumni of Carlos Diniz Associates Visual Communication produced some of the finest draftsman on the west coast.

Carlos Diniz

From inception to the end, Carlos remained a primary artist on the work of his studio.  While nurturing the talent of upcoming artists and allowing them to take the lead on many projects, Carlos’ own hand was never far off and his influence on the style of rendering popular in his era is unmistakable.

Jay Vance

Although little recognized outside of the studio, Jay Vance was a major contributor to the work of CDA. An alumnus of the Chouinard School and Art Center College of Design, Vance was working as a freelance illustrator in the commercial art field prior to forming a close partnership with CDA in 1964.

Vance was a reliable source of brilliant drawing and it is doubtful that the studio output would have been as rich in human context without his contribution. Virtually all of the figures that animated these drawings were Vance’s. He also excelled at drawing and painting architectural interiors and the natural landscape.

Ian Espinoza

As he described in his memorial speech about his step-father, Ian began drawing with Carlos from childhood, sharing their love of drawing across sheets of paper on the floor of their home.  Ian started work in in the CDA studio as a young teen and worked his way up from apprentice to journeyman to master artist under Carlos tutelage.  When Carlos retired, Ian took over and continued the CDA tradition of fine art architectural rendering, image and graphic design at his own company, Ian Espinoza Associates.

Other Lead Artists:

Louis Gadal
Hank Hockenberger
Dick Johnson
Jon Messer
Tom Tomanaga



Sketch Concepts

Once he had concluded his discussion of the project with the client and study of the plan and elevation material, Diniz would embark on a series of rough sketches that offered the client a selection of possible views. The final selected sketch views would then serve as a template for the mechanical drawings.

Perspective Layout

The Canary Wharf project in 1984 was the first project where Carlos Diniz Associates utilized computer aided design (CAD). Prior to that time, the block out was prepared using traditional plan projection perspective methods. Typically, an extraordinary amount of complex and accurate detail was required to be drawn by these artists and the man hours were considerable. These mechanical drawings were subject to much alteration by Diniz, often arranging and rearranging the pieces until a successful composition was achieved.

Artist Layout

Once the perspective drawings were completed, Diniz and Vance would prepare entourage layouts on tracing paper for the landscape, furniture, graphics and people elements. These would serve as under-lays for the final ink line artwork.

Ink-line Artwork

Many of the early commissions Diniz procured were presented as black and white or sepia toned drawings. For this he developed a sophisticated crosshatching technique that created half tone textures to add contrast and density to volumes and surfaces. The ink line artwork consisted primarily of Rapidograph pens on vellum and Mylar, and later Pigma Micron pens on the same media.

Perspective Layout Artists

Michael Abbott
Andrew Clawson
Jeffery Crussell
Paolo Diniz
Tom Fo
Robert Frank
Dennis Hughley
Dick Johnson
Sam Koay
John McKiernan
Ken Rome
Mark Tasse
Vince Toyama
John Wong
Don Woodruff
Art Zendarski


In the early 1960’s, with technical guidance of photographer George Stimson, Diniz developed a process of producing photo-mural panels that was ideally suited to the fast paced and revision prone nature of the architectural rendering business.

Stimson built a camera specifically for shooting ink line artwork and reproducing it with minute accuracy in a large format. This, in itself, was a rather extraordinary achievement, as Diniz’s drawings were often comprised of extremely dense crosshatching that was typically lost by other reproductive methods. Stimson’s photographic reproductions were printed on a special German photo-mural paper that had a fine tooth somewhat like watercolor paper.


Looking to add more range and vibrancy to his artwork, Diniz began applying paint to these photo-mural panels in the Mid-Sixties. The medium consisted of watered down Liquitex acrylic washes, similar in look to watercolor painting, but due to its elastic qualities, the paint could be erased and repainted if necessary.

Marshall’s photographic oils (used for retouching photographs) were also used and were applied with cotton to create skies or any area that might require a smooth, even finish.

The coloration methods developed by Diniz at this time were not employed by any other renderers, who at that time typically used traditional gouache, acrylic, watercolor and airbrush techniques on standard art surfaces, so the work of the Diniz studio had a completely unique look.

Typically, the finished art panel would be shipped to the client for final presentation.

Serigraph Prints

Art Krebs was an old-school master of silkscreen printing operating out of a studio on Sunset Blvd in the Silver Lake area. He produced work for Saul Bass, Ed Ruscha and many other notable Los Angeles designers, artists and architects from the late fifties until his retirement in the late 1980s.

Diniz was introduced to Art Krebs’ studio in the early 1960’s when he came to Krebs for reproductions of his renderings of the Danziger House for Frank Gehry. This meeting led to many future collaborations.

The advantage of the serigraph process was that it allowed Diniz the freedom to to define forms without relying on a black outline. He could use up to eight colors for the palette and using various colored art papers, incorporate the paper color into the composition.

Diniz often printed the same image on a variety of these colored art papers, which could dramatically alter the overall effect.

Multi-Media Presentation

Diniz became aware of the colorful and informative slide show presentations being produced for Sussman/Prezja and others by Annette Del Zoppo and Jim Simmons. He began utilizing their expertise to assemble multi-projector extravaganzas with music, sound effects and narration that were lauded by his clients. Diniz’s appreciation and understanding of the importance of putting on a dazzling show coupled with his persuasive enthusiasm for his commissions led to the formation of a brand new marketing tool for his clients. By incorporating sequences of images, sometimes cropped from a single rendering, these presentations gave the feeling of being in a project long before the advent of PowerPoint or computer fly-throughs.

Independent Contractors

Art Krebs, Serigraph Studio
George Stimson, Photographer
Annette Del Zoppo & Jim Simmons, A/V Production

Graphic Arts

From the beginning of his practice Diniz recognized the importance his work played in the marketing of a project and utilized the skills of a talented pool of designers that he met through his time at Gruen and around the design world in Los Angeles. In later years, Diniz would employ two to three graphic artists full time in his studio to aid in the production of posters, brochures, logos, maps or whatever presentation idea that captured his fancy. The studio was capable of delivering full marketing packages to be used by his developer clientele.

Graphic Designers

Tom Collins
Steve Madden (Alvin Lustig)
Patricia Moritz
Dick Petrie (John Follis)
Frederick Usher (Alvin Lustig, Victor Gruen, Charles Eames, Usher-Follis)

(If you worked at the Carlos Diniz Studio and we have omitted you, please contact us!)


Overdrive: LA Constructs the Future
Getty Center Museum

California Design: Living in a Modern Way
Los Angeles County Museum

Drawings and Objects by Architects
Edward Cella Art & Architecture

Visualizing a New Los Angeles,
Architectural Rendering of Carlos Diniz 1962-1992
Edward Cella Art & Architecture

Carlos Diniz Memorial Exhibition
USC School of Architecture

Made in California, Art, Images and Identity
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Building Illusion, The Art of Carlos Diniz
London Exhibition

Building Illusion, The Art of Carlos Diniz
USC School of Architecture





Bob Freedman & Grant Monck
City of Westlake Village, California
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum
Drawing Matters
George C. Page Museum
Jo and Barry Berkus
Jo and John Fujii
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Maura and Mark Resnick
Palm Springs Museum of Art
Thomas K. Figge