Recently I got asked this question: “Do you feel your architectural degree has helped your illustrations?”
Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer that question adequately. I agree that personal and educational experiences definitely shape a writer or illustrator’s work but I’ve actually never really thought about the correlation between my architectural background and my illustration work. Well, except for the obvious and direct one – I do often include cityscapes and buildings in my artwork. But besides that, everything else seems so different.
With that question in mind and all the excitement over back to school week, I started reminiscing about my college days. And that inspired me to rummage through my closet and dig up some old projects that I haven’t looked at for years. I found an old portfolio that included every single assignment from my first studio course at UC Berkeley. The class focused on freehand drawing which is a basic skill needed to convey an idea in architecture, even though most drafting is done on the computer nowadays. Using pencil, ink, and charcoal and without the aid of a ruler, we had to draw buildings on campus, still life, collages, and much, much more. The experience not only refined my drawing skills but also taught me about compositions, thumbnails, perspectives, scale, tone, design, line weights, how to handle constructive criticism, and deadlines. Sometimes a drawing was due in 3 days and it literally took all 36 hours! But even with the intense schedule, it was by far my favorite class in college. So the answer is yes, this class along with other studio classes in my architectural training definitely influenced me as an illustrator. One can even say that it gave me a great “foundation” for my current illustration work. Haha, I knew I could work in a cheesy architecture pun!
So here are some drawings from the time in my life when I thought I was going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. I wish I had these scanned in...the image quality would be much better!
One of our final projects was to draw a desk, lamp, and coat. But for some reason I decided to be a rebel and draw a piano instead.