Portsoy, Aberdeenshire

Willie Watt, Architect

I am an architect and urban designer, a past President of the RIAS and winner of the Sir Robert Lorimer prize for drawing. I love to draw and have drawn since I was at primary school and throughout my career, both in terms of my work and for simple pleasure in my free time. I believe that the act of drawing catalyses architectural and urban design thinking, allowing me to analyse a landscape, a site or a building so that I can respond creatively to it and present solutions which are appropriate to the locale. Drawing also makes the creative process fun for all involved. That is an approach which underpins the work of my practice, Nicoll Russell Studios, where the pen is every bit as important as the computer.

Drawing is much more to me than simply my work. It is something which I am always doing and often it compliments a bike ride along the coast, around a town, into the country or into the wilds of the highlands.

My work is underpinned by drawing, but I use a variety of techniques – pen, watercolour, watercolour pencils and mixed media. There has been an interesting evolution where my sketching has reacted to the potential of the digital world, utilising devices like the Wacom Slate, where I draw digitally on real paper, or a Graphic Display Tablet to digitally render my drawings or to paint entirely in the digital world. 

I always draw or paint what I enjoy, with a particular emphasis on architecture, vernacular buildings, boats, places and spaces, often examining the sense of place and form of the East Coast of Scotland where I live and the buildings of its rural hinterland.

This can all be seen in this painting of Portsoy, which I painted for sheer enjoyment and where I searched for a vantage point which told a story of the place and its many fine buildings.