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Project 1: Dérive

Project 1: Dérive

Final outcome…

The final outcome of the project has resulted in something more than an illustration journal or a project for a class to me. While creating it, I went through a discovery of the city I thought I knew and a discovery of drawing skills that I’ve never applied before. I found Paris to not just be a shopping or partying center, but an extremely inspiring art location. I have to admit, drawings buildings and its details were quite challenging since I’ve never done that before, but I found it exclusively calming and interesting. I think that’s because the city itself has so much architecturally rich structures that it’s hard not to be in a way intimidated and interested to explore.

During this project, I was really glad to have received so much great feedback from my peers and my teacher. Sometimes when you look at your own artwork, you don’t see as many errors or points of improvement as others do. It was very helpful to receive suggestions from classmates about how I could explore the details of the buildings in more details, how I could present this piece to be more than just simple drawings of buildings, and most importantly (on my early stages of the project) how I could clearly demonstrate the dérive throughout my project.

As for the future, I would definitely want to make the scale of these drawings a little bit bigger and add a lot more drawings to it from cities all over the world. I think that would make this project into an actual traveling illustration book where you could see and compare architectural details from all over the world. I guess that If I were to restart the project, I would’ve concentrated not only on details that I liked but on those that form a sort of story. Those that look at a page, the viewer can follow along and form a picture of their own.

I have to admit, I loved the luxurious hotel life during my weekend visits to the city,
but the lifestyle that I have discovered while studying here for only two weeks have
irretrievably twisted my perception of the city. There is still a lot to discover, but I think this
is the beauty of Paris. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been living here or what feelings
you’ve resembled during past visits, this place is full of new opportunities and encounters.


In order to create a sort of travel illustration journal, I thought it would be convenient to create additional drawings to pursue the desired idea.

As the project proceeds…

Maybe this dérive could’ve resembled something way more appealing than just the
production of drawings on plain white paper; however, drawing, in particular, takes a
significant part in my life. Using the skills I gained from multiple art classes motivates me to
observe and research the details that have never come to mind before. The idea of
illustrating what I see, in this case, Paris architecture, resembles a personal study technique
that took me on a certain passage of discovery. Starting from a pencil sketch of a door to
being inspired by a certain detail, to recreating that certain detail and portraying it with my
perception is what led my way to discover a different side of Paris.

Coming closer to the final result of produced drawings, I faced a challenge: how do I display the images in order to deliver the message that I want? From simply placing images in a row and rearranging them, a completely new idea came into mind. It looked as if the images started to form a sort of illustration book. I visualized it being a small, traveling illustration sketchbook that could be used to collect drawings from anywhere around the world.

First steps…

I’ve been to a majority of artistically rich European cities; however, this is the first
that opened my interest to architecture. Instead of calling an uber, I started walking to a
particular address. Instead of scrolling Instagram while I walk, I placed my phone in my
pocket. To some that might seem insignificant and unrelated to discovering a certain
location, but as foolish as it sounds, primarily these actions changed my entire perception of
the city. I started to observe various buildings and in particular their details. I examined
how they are built, decorated, and what materials were used.

I began working on the project with pencil sketches of the chosen pictures that I took and after I traced it with ink pen to emphasize the detail. The whole process of drawing motivated me to keep on experimenting the architecture and details I spotted while walking home from school.

It was my first time drawing any sort of building structures. As a matter of fact, this dérive of mine
includes many “firsts”, which is why it made my discoveries and the overall exploration
process interesting and motivating to proceed with.

Thinking of directions…

  • Using a simple black ink pen/marker, zoom into the building’s textures. Draw out all the possible detail. Starting from a larger scale, zoom into the detail as the drawings “lead the way”.
  • Focus on combing the 3 different drawing mediums into one picture, provide several examples showing experimentation with the texture and observation of the shadows, volume, and detail of the architecture.
  • Starting from pencil sketches, experiment with adding bright color to the textiles/architectural elements of the chosen buildings. Add unrealistic colors to the pieces to demonstrate a personal view to the architectural details discovered.

How idea forms…

In a city like Paris, a certain perception of its estates plays a significant role in one’s personal experience. Depending on whether the experience is based on nightlife, shopping, cultural tours or job/study opportunities, one’s perception determines one’s memory of a certain Parisian lifestyle. Although I like to deny it, my visits to Paris were those typical, expensive, tourist-like trips: shopping, partying, sometimes I would walk around a bit, but I’ve never found myself to be interested in discovering the city in depth. All I cared about was where to find a great bar or club or where the biggest stores are located. The best view hotels, divine French cuisine and a royal-like hotel suite. Although that did make my visits exclusively remarkable for a weekend trip, my memory, or perception in this case, of the city could easily be described in two simple sentences: “Paris is a beautiful city”, and “Paris is a great place to shop”. Yes, as simple as that.

My Dérive started from the moment I moved into a rental apartment in a place that I
thought I knew from top to bottom. It marked the start of a completely different lifestyle
and there it was- the desire to explore the city’s different angles. I started doing something
I’ve never done before in Paris: paying attention to my surroundings. This is my first time in
Paris being all alone and the first time I looked at it not as a shopping or a weekend party
location, but as an incredibly rich architectural city.

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