Course Review: Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink by Alex Hillkurtz
Updated: Aug 5
I recently bought and completed Alex Hillkurtz's course on Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink, held on Domestika. I chose this course because I wanted to develop a new technique that I could use to express my ideas in architecture, and also just to have a new hobby that I can do anytime.
Basic Overview of the Course
This course is for beginners, like me. Watercolor is a relatively new medium that I do not have that much experience in, and this course helped me build a foundation from the ground up. It includes introductions to perspective and watercolor washes. It helped me understand how watercolor really works, and how this medium can be manipulated in interesting ways. He also gives you an introduction about himself, why he is qualified to teach you, and also what inspires him as an artist. After all of this, he moves on in guiding you to create your own watercolor painting, acting as your final project. He encourages you to use buildings around you, but you can paint whatever building you want. Finally, he will teach you how to present your work.
My Final Project
This is the final piece that I created using this course. This is the street where I live, and I followed along his steps and techniques to create this. It obviously does not look as good as his, but I feel like I have made significant improvements. This course helped me understand watercolor better, it taught me different techniques to create different effects. I will not spoil these techniques here, but they were very helpful. Some things I could improve in is the shading. The shadows are too simple, they do not really provide a strong illusion of depth. Another thing that is bothering me is the color. Especially the blue on the right and the pinkish-red color on the left, they are very desaturated. Those colors are supposed to be the most vibrant ones, the ones that draw the attention of the audience. With those colors being less vibrant, the painting feels very lifeless, it feels almost boring, like there is nothing interesting to look at.
Why You Should Buy This Course
If you are a beginner, with minimal experience with watercolor, this is the course for you. Even if painting architecture is not the number 1 subject you want to paint, this course still teaches you the basics of watercolor and how to manipulate it.
This course also has a community section, which allows you to interact with Alex and other students taking the course. This way you can see who else is taking the course, and learn from others as well.
There is also a project section, where people post their final projects from the course, which is also a place to admire work from other students. The price is also very reasonable.
The course is priced at $9.99 USD, which is a perfectly reasonable price for 4 hours of high-quality, professional content.
Even more advanced people have good reason to buy this course, as it helps to hear Alex's process, and what he produces in the end is something anyone of any skill level should see.
There are not many limitations and negatives I can say about this course, but one small problem I had with it was that it focused a bit too much on Alex. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed learning about his life and his inspirations, but I bought the course to improve on my watercolor skills. Maybe allocate more time to the actual process and teaching, rather than focusing on the presenter would have been better. This is not a major problem, and I still 100% recommend this course to you guys!
This course helped me develop a skill and hobby that I will continue to improve and practice over the course of my life. Practicing as much as I can, with the advice and skills learned, can help me move closer to mastering this medium and help express my ideas more effectively.