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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

Posts in Architectural Design
Have Pen Will Travel: Benefits To Architects of In-House 3rd Party Sketching and Rendering

In-house sketching and rendering techniques showing simultaneous design development and rendering of real-world projects. All projects are collaborations between NYC architect, illustrator and architectural rendering consultant James Akers and his NYC and Boston architect clients

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Use Digital Architectural Sketching To Streamline Client Approvals

It's one week before your next big design meeting. You have multiple ideas to present, but your goal is to secure your client's approval of a single direction so you can complete this phase, bill for it and move your team on to the next.

Your image boards suggest the character you want the project to have without being overly specific, but you're confused as to what kind of 3-d images to present. You want them to be provocative enough to generate a conversation, but not so photo-realistic that your client seizes upon them as proof of "what the project will look like," leaving you no wiggle room to develop your ideas later.

Back in the day, architects solved this problem by presenting loose architectural sketches (with maybe a little color thrown on them), blown up several feet wide so as to wow the client with vagueness...but times have changed and clients have changed with them.

Modern clients have grown up in a world of photo-realistic digital images.Their parents understood that hand drawn sketches and diagrams were a part of the design development process, but this generation has
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Fast, Low-Cost Architectural Sketches Help Realtors and Prospective Buyers Study Design Options Before Buying

As an architect who specializes in early-stage concept design, architectural sketching and rapid visualization, I get to serve as one-stop shop for realtors, developers and prospective homeowners wanting to study their options before committing to buying an important property, or before engaging a "high profile" architect who, given the pressures of running a large practice, might just assign the exercise to a couple of talented in-house designers anyway.

In the collaboration posted here, I worked with a Boston developer to sketch (in a fraction of the time required by a larger firm) the look and feel of a 120-unit, future-looking condo project in a prosperous Boston suburb. 

 

Early study based on SketchUp massing study: the Idea of pre-fab, stackable units enters inWe used a combination of traditional and digital architectural rendering techniques to explore her options, culminating in the simple black-and-white digital renderings at the end. Unfortunately, the banking meltdown of 2008 nipped the project in the bud, but...

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A Great Book To Read For People Who Love Understanding The Underlying Structure of Things, Including Designers, Architects and Architectural Renderers
If you like learning about the underlying structures that shape the physical, economic and political landscape of our country since day one, then I have a book for you: Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845 by John Stilgoe. As alluded to in an earlier post, the book provides timeless insight into the collisions of culture that continue to shape the contemporary American experience, right up to yesterday's 2013 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, and, I dare say, the most recent TV or newspaper story you watched or read today.

John Stilgoe's Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845, is a classic book and required reading of all first year students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

John Stilgoe's Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845, is a classic book and required reading of all first year students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I've got an architectural watercolor rendering to do today (Yay!) so I'll keep my part of this post short, but check out the excerpt below from the chapter on the history of schoolhouses on the subject of a book written by Jedidiah Morse in 1789 called The American Geography.The book was an off-the-charts bestseller which coincided with the growing movement, eventually mandated by the "tyrannical" federal government, to educate all American children in communal schoolhouses, almost always one-room affairs which have a fascinating history relative to where they were built (usually the most central place, or on a piece of waste land donated by a farmer, but almost invariably in the most difficult-to-get-to and foreboding locations within each school district). Due to its fortuitous timing, the book had perhaps a disproportionate influence on the opinions of generations of young Americans, and is even given credit for much of the misinformation which started the California Gold Rush of 1849. As Stilgoe sets it up: "Topographical knowledge no longer only derived from topographical experience: Morse filled his books with maps, charts and lengthy prose descriptions of states, regions, rivers, territories, forests, soils and agricultural and mineral riches...Morse emphasized that his information was scientific and reliable, and schoolmasters commanded students to memorize it. Scholars learned that New Hampshire was filled with mountains and cascades, that North Carolina "abounds with medicinal plants and roots"...and that the Spanish Dominions truly needed American improvement." Now here's where it gets crazy (and racist)...

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