Architecture School Student Combines Design, History Studies, and Love of Illustration


From an early age, Thitaree (Jenny) Suwiwatchai ’23 (B.Arch) – a fifth-year student at the School of Architecture – was interested in illustration. Since the day she knew how to draw, she likes to put her thoughts on paper and create stories.

Jenny Suwiwatchai ’23

Growing up in Thailand, his grandmother supported Suwiwatchai’s activities and launched his artistic journey by introducing him to new mediums and the art of global creations.

“She was my first art teacher,” says Suwiwatchai. “I remember doing dioramas in front of the Teletubbies in our living room; it was one of the happiest moments of my life!

Suwiwatchai pursued his passion for animation throughout high school by enrolling at Harrow International School in Bangkok, an arts-focused international school in the UK. She initially sought out university opportunities in the UK, but it was the freedom to choose courses outside her field that brought her to the United States.

“I love history as much as architecture, and Syracuse University was able to provide that for me,” says Suwiwatchai. “One simply cannot be an architect without the proper training in architecture, however, one who is trained as an architect can move on to a range of disciplines within the art industry. It’s an incredible springboard for pursuing a broader branch of artistic opportunities once you graduate.

Despite her heavy academic workload as an architecture major with a history minor, Suwiwatchai always finds time to accept commissions as a freelance illustrator.

“I did everything,” says Suwiwatchai. “From digital pet portraits, phone cases, scarves and fashion apparel to durable tote bags, digital currency logo designs, graphic design, architectural drafting and writing comics.”

But it’s only in recent years that the scale of Suwiwatchai’s commissions has accelerated to the point where she could call her work professional. Young adult publishers, authors and game producers from all over Thailand contacted Suwiwatchai to create covers or concept art for their projects.

“It still gives me chills to be able to walk into a random bookstore in Bangkok and see the covers I illustrated among the shelves,” says Suwiwatchai.

This novel project King and I.

“This King and I”, Suwiwatchai’s novel project.

She recalls that one of her proudest moments occurred when she received the AS Media Studies “Top in Thailand” award from the Cambridge International Examination Board for Directing, Writing, Coordinating , animation, editing and post-marketing of the short film “Ace of Spades”. ”

In his spare time, Suwiwatchai continues to illustrate his own worlds and stories. His most recent work,This king and me“—a new project about warring kingdoms in a fantasy land—has gained popularity within the Thai digital art community.

The story follows Vidaar, Arandia’s Minister of Finance, and his newly appointed position as Chief Strategist in the midst of a brewing Continental War. The lands of Arandia, Cerusar, Hesphere, Hemnut, and Syracuse all have vernacular styles of architecture that, while fantastic, are based on different Eurasian regions between the 7th and 14th centuries AD.

Launched on October 8 at Comic Avenue in Thailand, all copies of “That King and I” sold out within three hours.

“Honestly, it surprised me how many people, mostly future architecture students, were interested in combining history and architectural studies in the form of a narrative cartoon,” says Suwiwatchai.

Initially imagined in the form of a novel, “That King and I” turned into a concept book.

“Number 1 is a substitute for ‘there will be more,'” says Suwiwatchai. “I was unprepared for all the feedback I received by only introducing the characters and their concept, even before the first chapter was released. Many expressed their desire to see Vidaar and others as tangible media which they could take advantage of.

Suwiwatchai is graduating in May 2023 and plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in history and design. “There’s still so much I want to know about the human past and the architecture of the ancient,” she says.

She dreams of one day working in the entertainment industry as a visual developer or an imaginator on a film set.

“I would love to see magic and fantasy come to life with my own hands,” says Suwiwatchai. “At the moment, I can only bring people into an imaginary world in two-dimensional form, but without the ability to build that 2D imagination into habitable, tangible settings, a big part of me is still not satisfied. ”

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