Sit Down With Our #090 Featured Artist
Instagram/ Willie Watt
Featured Artist / #096 ScrawlrBox
Willie Watt is an architect and a director at the award winning Nicoll Russell Studios. He loves to draw and has drawn since he was at primary school and throughout his career, both in terms of his architectural work, as an architectural illustrator andfor simple pleasure in his free time. He believes that the act of drawing catalyses thought and makes the creative process for all involved fun.
Drawing, sketching and painting though is much more to him than simply work itis something he has always done and often it compliments a bike ride along the coast, around a town, into the country or into the wilds of the highlands. His workis underpinned by drawing, but he uses a variety of techniques, historically using watercolour, pens, watercolour pencils/crayons and more and more often mixed media. Willie always draws or paints what he enjoys, what catches his eye with a particular emphasis on architecture, vernacular buildings and boats. Focussing on line, form, texture, materiality and colour, seeking to capture character and context.
He tries to share a drawing a day on Instagram and his work has been exhibited in a number of galleries including The House of an Art Lover, The Royal Scottish Academy and the Galerie d’Architecture de Paris and his sketchbooks won the Sir Robert Lorimer Award for drawing.
How did it all start, what drew you towards architecture?
I wanted to be an architect from primary school, I can remember telling my mum and dad as we drove through a planned village. Like lots of architects I guess I just wanted to make the world a better place.
Do you have a favourite place/town/city you like to draw?
That’s difficult. There is always so much to do and so little time to pick favourites, so I tend to just draw what is around me, as it’s always better to create than think about it.
Is there anywhere you would love to go and explore and draw that you haven’t yet?
I love the outdoors and the shear act of being outside, exploring and drawing is suffice for me. If I could create the time I would love to tour the coast of Scotland and draw as I go. Maybe there is a book in me.
Do you prefer sketching older or newer buildings?
My ‘specialist subject’ is vernacular buildings in rural and coastal Scotland. Kind of niche but I love the way they sit in the landscape, their textures, forms and materiality.
What’s your ideal selection of art supplies for urban sketching?
A small sketchbook with a hardback, a pen and my unusual thing is I tend to use a water brush pen containing a mix of blue dilute acrylic ink, to create shadows and pull out form. It’s a simple set up and allows you to create a scene quickly.
What is the most important item in your supply collection and why?
To some extent it’s maybe the simplest, I do a lot of drawings using a plain old ballpoint. They tend to be waterproof and are so accessible and create a simple direct line.
What do you like best about the Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketch Architects set?
The dual tips are really useful, the brush tip is flexible and accurate and can create an even ‘wash’. The colours encourage the creation of a simplified graphic approach to a subject.
How do you think your style has developed over the years?
After leaving school I really focussed on line. That has continued to develop, albeit over recent years I have experimented more. Buying different types of materials such as the sets from ScrawlrBox has encouraged me to try new approaches.
Is there a certain style of art or an artist that has inspired you?
There was a writer and artist in the 1920’s called Peter Anson, he travelled around the East coast of Scotland and drew what is around me. We actually have similar styles and I just keep being inspired by him.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Just go for it and try, try again.
Do you have any favourite music that you like to listen to when you are working on a project?
I have never been musical, sometimes I don’t listen to anything, but in others I will listen to a very eclectic mix tuning in to whatever is around me. Musically I am more of a borrower.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not drawing?
I am a keen cyclist and Mountain biker. I frequently head out and combine my love of cycling and drawing, searching out new sketching locations. You never know I might offer combined Mountain bike and sketching workshops sometime.