Linescapes is the beautiful brand based on the illustrations of Amalia Sanchez de la Blanca.
Please tell us about your practice and how your business began.
Linescapes is a brand specializing in highly detailed architectural portraits created in CAD.
Since I was a child, I was always at my happiest when drawing. However, I became interested in buildings while living in LA in the 90s, so I became an architect and obtained a masters degree from the Royal College of Art. But from the beginning my instincts pulled me toward its artistic rather than its technical side. This tension, between my passion and the demands of my job, was present throughout my career. I was basically an artist doing an architect’s job.
After moving to Brighton in 2014 I realised that I didn’t have to be torn between architecture and drawing and that I could in fact enjoy both. So I started capturing the buildings around me and developed my own style which soon proved very popular so I gave up architecture and became a full time illustrator. Since then, I have created a collection of over 60 architectural portraits which I sell in different forms: prints, cards, coasters, placemats, tea towels, etc. Despite the disparate styles, ages and types of architecture that I draws, my distinctive style has pulled them into a uniform collection so all my products sit together in a way that soothes the eye.
Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
I had two wonderful teachers in my second year of my Architecture degree. One day they showed me how to experiment with shapes by making spontaneous models with only card, scissors and sticky tape. I spent a whole night awake making these shapes which I brought in a shoe box to university the next day. They were a mess but beautiful. I never knew I could do that! Those teachers mentored me until I obtained a First Class Degree a year later.
What inspires you?
A beautiful building, a soothing and elegant interior and a well design product. I’m forever buying interior magazines and soaking in the atmospheres created by the houses depicted.
Please tell us a bit about your design process.
When deciding what buildings to add to my own collections, I look at buildings I love in different styles and then decide if they are well-known and will be popular with my ideal customer. I love 20th Century architecture so that’s why I have so many Modernist and Brutalist buildings in my collection. However, lately I have been toying with the idea of publishing an illustrated book of British architectural styles, so I have been focusing on styles I have not covered yet such a Jacobean, Elizabethan, etc.
Once I have decided on the building, I gather as many photos and views I can get (Google is great for this) and start building up the portraits by tracing from those photographs and then add colours, shadows, backgrounds, etc.
What is the best thing to have happened in your business to date?
Without doubt the day the Sir Johan Soane’s Museum contacted me to create a bespoke portrait of the building so they could create a range of products to sell in the shop. I had always dreamed of selling my work there but to be asked to create a bespoke collection was incredible. What they created was amazing and it’s been a best selling range for the last 3 years. It’s called The Façade and can be found in their shop and online.
What is your workspace like?
I work from home in the small bedroom of our Hove flat. I somehow managed to squeeze a guest bed and recently I had to get rid of a chest of drawers to make room for my new monster A3 laser printer! I try to keep the space tidy because it’s the first thing you see when you come into the flat, but I don’t always manage….
Do you work hard on your PR or do others help you to market your business?
I’d love to spend more time on my PR but it’s hard as I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t have enough time to dedicate to it. I’m becoming more aware of the importance of having a good PR and marketing strategy (specially in these strange times when online sales have ever been more important) so I’ve been doing more webinars and reading more about it but it’s more complicated that I thought. I wish I earned enough income to hire a marketing specialist!
What are the main challenges in your practice?
At the moment, because of Covid, it’s to get my work out there and attract new customers and stay in touch with old ones. I used to do that during trade shows and fairs but they have all been cancelled this year.
Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
I’d love to be earning enough money so I can afford to hire staff to do the marketing, admin, etc. Also so I can allow my husband to give up his job so he can spend his time writing (which he loves) instead of being the bread-winner in the relationship. Also living in a nice house with an indoor pool would be awesome! Oh, and a Ford Mustang would be great too….
If you could collaborate with someone new who would that be?
I’d love to do a range of products with the Barbican. I love the building and the shop!
If you weren’t a designer what would you like to do?
A conservation artist. One of those lucky people who spend the day on top of a scaffolding touching up and restoring decorative details in stately homes and old buildings. I’ve always loved the decorative arts but life took me to the route of architecture instead.
Why did you join Design-Nation? What is helpful about being a member?
I joined Design-Nation because I was very impressed with the support they offer and the shows they become involved with. Since joining I have been lucky to take advantage of promotional rates for shows such as ACE and Top Drawer, where I got most of my bespoke commissions from. The work the DN team do is incredible, keeping us up to date with news, ideas, shows, etc.
Do you have you any exhibitions, commissions or events coming up that we should know about?
Sadly most of the shows I had planned to take part in have been cancelled this year. The only one left is the Made Brighton in November. I also take part in the Open Houses festival but I won’t be opening my house this year for safety concerns, although I will be showing my work in a couple of brave houses that are still planning to open in December.
I’ve been investigating the virtual shows idea but haven’t made up my mind yet.
Luckily one of the commercial commissions I had started working on in March is back. I’m going to create a range of products with my illustration for the 90th anniversary celebrations of Abbey Road Studios. Other cultural venues are in the process of producing new items from drawings I have already done for them. They are: The Freemason’s Hall, Gunnersbury Park Museum, Nottingham University, Manchester Art Gallery and Canterbury Cathedral. I can’t wait to see what they will produce with my portraits!
Finally, I have just launched my Sun Collection which is so far proving very popular!