Architect to illustrator/concept creator?

  • Hello everyone,

    So I’m 23 and a second-year graduate architecture student I have finally reached my breaking point, I don’t love the career anymore! I don’t think I ever did, to be honest.

    I always loved art as a child, I stole my brother's papers and pencils all the time and I was always a top student in my art classes in school but I never fully invested my time into it.

    When choosing a major for college, life and family guided my decision. I wanted to do something in the ART/Design profession but my family convinced me to find a balance where I could do both because they pictured me as a starving artist trying to make a living and they wanted better for me. So I listened and chose architecture because I got to design buildings and make interesting drawings.

    Fast forward a few years and now I have found that my passion for the career has faded away, I can’t do this anymore I keep telling myself. Architecture in academia and architecture in the workplace are two different beasts and I have started my first internship this summer, one year before I graduate and I absolutely hate it! The creativity is gone.

    In school I was always at the top of my class, I was even awarded top 1st-year graduate architecture student in my program this past spring semester because my work always stands out from the others and it has meaning and a story behind every drawing.

    This summer I really tried to distance myself from school and architecture, besides my internship that pays the bills and I have finally begun to awaken and find who I really am in more ways than one. Dude, you’re an Artist and your media is digital!

    This will be my final year before I’m cast off into the world and the timing couldn’t be better, it’s my MRP year(masters research project) and I really want to push my renderings and drawings to the next level. I just bought a digital drawing tablet today( I actually had one in middle school, a Wacom Bamboo, but again, it sat in my closet collecting dust for almost a decade) and I can’t wait to dive back in and untangle the chains of the architecture profession and really explore my capabilities.

    I don’t plan to leave behind my soon to be six years of education either, I think I have a great set of skills to make my future work even more compelling and powerful.

    But long rant over, I just wanted to know if anyone here had any advice for someone in my position? I can share my architecture portfolio as well so you can see what I have been up to!

    Please and thank you for reading

  • There was an architect that wanted to become an illustrator in my residency. She had an emergency and couldn’t finish the residency but still wants to be an illustrator. The feedback she kept getting was she would be a great concept artist. Especially with such a good understanding of perspective and scale. Her line work was amazing! She was also great at comics. Dammit all the lines were so nice!! Lol but anyway, you can apply your drafting skills towards another direction. She however still works as an architect as she’s developing her knowledge of the illustration industry. Her thoughts were to figure out what she wants to do with her drafting skills and learn how to get there.

  • I try to remember if comic book artist Don Rosa used to be an architect or a civil engineer. Anyway, I have a collection with all his Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck comics that includes a lot of comments about how he made them. And he keeps mentioning how much he used the skills he learned for technical drawings in his other career for his comics. So there's an inspiring example.

    It depends on what you want to do of course, but going from architect to illustrator seems rather logical to me. Me, I'm educated as a language consultant while also working as an illustrator. It's a weird mix, but even there I've found ways to strengthen one career using the skills from the other.

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