I did both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in architecture in the UK with an exchange semester in Kyoto, Japan. The breakthrough, both in academia and presentation technique, happened in Japan. One of the first things I bought in Japan was the illustration book Tokyo Storefronts by Urbanowicz which lay on my university desk and reminding me to develop the illustration style since I was finally in Japan!
I spent my days cycling through alleys and over the hills of Kyoto, walking and absorbing the vibe of the city. I had a little sketchbook that I carried around but barely touched it. I just roamed around the city, sat somewhere, and inhaled the atmosphere. That’s when the magical “aha” moment happened. I finally stopped concentrating on the results and the work – the worries of the graduating student. I read, explored, photographed, and observed every detail of the city. The detail is what became a crucial focal point of mine.
I started putting together those impressions of the city on the paper, slowly adding colour to them. For the first time, I didn’t like how the axonometric drawing looked. I made it look too sketchy and it really didn’t resonate with the image I had in my mind. I erased everything and started again. (This happened a couple of days before the final critique, of course.) So I had another iced coffee – I had so many that I almost lost consciousness from the amount of caffeine I consumed. As you can imagine, the transition from me chilling somewhere on the river banks of Kyoto and me in the studio just before the final crit was dramatic.
So I opened Photoshop again, looked through some of my favorite photographs taken in Kyoto, inserted the color palette reference, probably gave an aggressive gaze to the Tokyo
Storefronts book, and started again. As you can see from the video tutorial, I used a very simple technique of coloring a line drawing. However, I used the same approach in my third and fourth years of architecture, but the results were still very different and I wasn’t fully satisfied with previous versions. I think attention to detail makes all the difference and you can develop that through years of testing and experimenting.
I would like to end by saying that I don’t believe in “talent.” I only believe in hard and consistent work. If there is something that attracts you, but you are not able to create such work at the moment – please don’t get upset. It takes time to practice, practice, practice, test, and experiment before you finally become happy with your work. The main thing is to enjoy the process. And if you have any questions about my work please feel free to drop me a message on Instagram @karinaarmanda. Good luck with your studies! ☺