To get a proposal: 413-250-8800 or jakers3(at)

Painting Tutorials

How-to watercolor and sketching tutorials demonstrating tips, tricks and techniques used in the Procreate app, using Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Also, thoughts about life and architecture in NYC and the Berkshires, MA

New Trends In Traditional and Digital Architectural Rendering

If you are an architect, landscape architect, interior designer or traditional or digital architectural renderer, the world changed in 2008: work dried up, firms cut their payrolls, and up to 50% of us lost our jobs and had to reinvent ourselves.

A hybrid architectural rendering combining digital and traditional techniques to project the accessibility of a proposed children's museum.

Hybrid architectural rendering of seasonal decoration scheme for world's most famous fish marketThose who survived were sobered by the central lesson of the new economic order: the need to diversify.

Diversification means adding the digital skills required by today's market. If you didn't learn Rhino in school, learn Google Sketchup.

Although sometimes derisively referred to as "old man's 3-D software," I defy you whippersnappers to show us old-schoolers a free software package that combines ease of use, speed and expressive possibilities better than Google Sketchup. I mean, I'm sure Rhino is great, but Sketchup is going to be around for millenia to come and Google will integrate it with more services every year. If you previously used Photoshop only to scan your work, head over to YouTube, spend a week watching tutorials then start using Photoshop to create hybrid architectural renderings combining the warmth and individuality of traditional rendering techniques with the endless possibilities of the digital world.

Traditional architectural rendering in watercolor using 3-D software to generate the view...for my favorite architects in the world (if you're reading this, John, Bill, Tony, Nancy and Steve)With the help of hybrid techniques, hybrid architectural rendering can tell stories that pure traditional or digital forms can't, helping clients differentiate their work in a marketplace that is increasingly making everyone's ideas look the same.

Is there anything more fun than fooling people that a cool idea already exists in the world? This hybrid architectural renderiing uses a Photoshop technique applied in minutes (and therefore inexpensive!) to posit the existence of interactive kiosks promoting the goods and services available to buy at independent neighborhood businesses, as a promotion for the Shop Boston Local. campaign 2013-2014This hybrid architectural rendering of a proposed nightclub terrace was prepared for a competition to redesign an existing Las Vegas club. The designers (who shall remain nameless until otherwise directed) have created one of the fastest growing and most successful NY-based entertainment and hospitality design firms that I am aware of. Hint: their name rhymes with "The quantro is fine." (collaboration with Charles Rush)Pen-and-ink sketch of the Berkshirean second home of the two smartest and funniest people I knowTraditional architectural rendering still has its place, and nothing can hold a candle to the predictive power of advanced digital rendering, but hybrid rendering occupies a cozy and inventive place between the two, full of the promise of innovation.

A hybrid architectural rendering of one of several venues proposed for an extreme theme park for the world's most famous soccer team (collaboration with Charles Rush)

(Author James Akers is a registered architect and freelance digital and traditional architectural renderer who collaborates with some of the world's most admired architects and business entrepreneurs to create inspired architectural designs, house portraits and architectural renderings in all media, including watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, photoshop and computer. He may be reached directly at 413-250-8800)

James Akers