Graduate shortlisted for Drawing of the Year competition

04 July 2023

Pencil sketch of St Paul's Cathedral
Sketch of St Pauls by Katie Hewson

Artwork by Katie Hewson

Type: Text
Category: Our graduates

It was while studying on Falmouth’s Drawing degree that Katie Hewson started to explore the style of architectural drawing. Since graduating last summer, she is already making her mark on the industry, recently having her work shortlisted for Archisource’s prestigious Drawing of the Year award.

In this interview, we caught up with Katie to hear about her career as an artist and illustrator, and how she is using her skills in drawing to secure work across the creative industries.

What did you enjoy most about studying in Falmouth? 

My favourite thing about studying at Falmouth was the endless inspiration that Cornwall provides! Much of my work throughout second and third year was based on the surrounding landscape and I was even influenced by activities such as sea swimming. As a result, I was able to bridge the gap between my work and what I was getting up to in my spare time.  

Falmouth Campus is a special place to study; I had a favourite room that overlooked the trees that I would always do my written work in. However, none of this would have felt quite so special if it wasn’t for the people! Being surrounded by creatives every day is what made it such a unique experience, and I met some of my closest friends at Falmouth. It’s a special place. 

Being able to cross over into different industries has helped me to realise that my skills in drawing can take me anywhere. 

How did your Drawing degree help you to develop the skills you needed for your industry? 

The Drawing degree covered a vast range of subjects and ways of working; this gave me a solid foundation of skills that I’ve continued to build on since graduating. Weekly life drawing lessons at Falmouth focused on perspective, colour, tone and composition, and I feel I really developed in these areas over the three-year degree. I have always been an advocate for the importance of traditional drawing and its place within the creative world, and I have discovered that my degree offered a different perspective and route into multiple industries.  

Architectural illustration is something that I got into during lockdown, after being inspired by a week-long architecture project that we completed in first year – I loved the challenge of drawing precisely and accurately. I continued to develop my architectural drawing throughout third year, focusing my projects on various buildings and structures in Cornwall. Now, I work in either pen or pencil and often carry a small sketchbook with me so that I’m not always drawing from photographs. 

What are you up to now? 

I am currently working as an artist and illustrator, whilst also taking my first steps into the design industry. Being able to cross over into different industries has helped me to realise that my skills in drawing can take me anywhere. 

Since graduating, I have completed some drawings that I am really proud of, and architectural illustration is something that I am keen to continue to pursue! I have a few exciting projects coming up, including a commissioned drawing of a building in London. 

What have been the highlights of your career so far? 

I recently discovered that one of my drawings was shortlisted for Archisource’s Drawing of the Year, a widely recognised award series for the architecture and design community. The competition received thousands of entries from 95 countries, making it the biggest year yet! On top of this, my work has since been published within the Ideas Pocketbook 2023 – an architecture book designed as a tool to ignite creativity and provide inspiration across an array of different drawing types, styles and ideas. In the book, my drawing appears next to work by an artist that I look up to and studied throughout university, which feels quite surreal. Above all, I am especially proud that this has come from doing something I am so passionate about. 

Tell us about a project that you’re particularly proud of

One of my recent projects was designing the packaging for a sustainable wetsuit brand. This was very much influenced by my time in Cornwall, alongside a passion for sustainable design. This was the first project where I realised how much of a cross over there is between drawing and other creative industries, and I’m really enjoying exploring how my practice can span different sectors. 

A University project that I’m proud of was one that explored drawing and photography. This was inspired by my dissertation, which focused on the connection between the two mediums. Combining both drawing and photography within a final piece enabled me to demonstrate what I was writing about. I think that learning about and understanding other mediums, what they can or can’t do, has helped me to become a better artist.  

A more recent drawing that I am particularly proud of is one of The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. It is nothing more than a pencil drawing, but it’s this simplicity of drawing that I really like! 

What advice would you give to prospective and current Drawing BA(Hons) students?

My advice would be to do the work that you love, whilst keeping an open mind about where it could take you. Remember that drawing is such a transferable skill! Spend time in the studios but also make an effort to talk to students on other courses; many subjects are interlinked and there is so much to learn from your peers. 

See more of Katie’s work on her Instagram.

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