Aerial Drawings of Darling Harbour

Aerial drawings of Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Art Direction by Houston

London Sketches

Over the past year I've worked on a number of London skylines and panoramas. Naturally the sketch stage for these pieces is fairly extensive. The sketches below are all first drafts - at this point we are establishing the composition of the piece and showing the client where each of the key landmarks will be placed. After this stage, the client usually makes a number of suggestions for alterations and the sketch is reworked in greater detail.

sketch sketch compressed sketch extended sketchlondon panorama2

St. Thomas Church, Leipzig

This utterly charming church is most well known for its association with the incomparable composer and organist, Johann Sebastian Bach, who worked there as Kapellmeister. Other notable employees of the church include the conductor and organist Karl Richter; (this video shows his remarkable harpsichord solo in Bach'sA�Brandenberg Concerto No.5 and is well worth a look).



I do most of my commercial work with a Rotring Rapidograph pen. Usually 0.25. I love the precision of this pen and the way it is usually reassuringly free of any 'happy accidents'. I discovered these pens while I was doing work experience in an archaeological illustration office and it soon became clear that this was the perfect medium for me in so many ways that I've hardly used anything else since.


But a few weeks ago I bought some dip pens and ink and decided to try them out over the weekend.


I started with a quick sketch, a bit like you do at the start of life drawing classes. I miss life drawing classes enormously. I really, really want to go to one again, but asA�I haven't done any ironing at all over the past five years I can't really justifyA�spendingA�time on a recreational version of my day job.


Anyway, I started with a quick sketch of some people in a restaurant.




It took a while to get used to the difference between the Rotring pens and the dip pens but once I had started to get the hang of it, it was an awfully nice way to draw. It seems to be easier than I remember but I am assuming that is because I've drawn a lot since I last used one of these and so it's easier to draw in general than it was. Drawing is, like anything else, mostly practice.


So, eager to practice, I quit while I was ahead with the figures and started a small city drawing. I rushed the pencil work a bit, mainly because I was too excited about drawing my favourite subject (many buildings) with a different medium. I noticed as I was erasing the pencil marks, that the ink stains the paper and the pencil marks in a really beautiful way; my next piece will look at ways of incorporating the pencil sketch into the ink lines with the sepia ink as it's really rather lovely.



I also need to find some black ink to see if the dipped lines would work well with the more precise lines of a rotring pen.


So exciting stuff coming up here. *


* not really

Monde Presentation Display Murals

Two line drawings of Toronto to be applied as murals.

London Map Tutorial

last month I worked on a tutorial for Advanced Photoshop MagazineA�demonstrating how to create a map of London in a similar style to that of Macdonald GillA�and his peerless 'Wonderland' map of the city.

Map of london places

This was great fun to work on. If you're interested in making a similar piece then take a look at the magazine - which is out now.

19th Century Cityscape

Aerial landscape showing a 19th Century city based around the real city of Waterloo, Ontario.

Pen and ink on paper, 2014.

Antique Map Tutorial

Tutorial for the excellent <a href="">Page 1 pag 2

Paris in July

I worked with Confetti Design in Australia to create this black and white mural for children to colour in. You can buy this product hereA�and they have some photos of children working on the mural on their facebook page.

Spatial and Temporal Dimensions

One problem I encounter frequently in both my professional and personal work is the challenge of representing the three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface. Fortunately I live in an age where various solutions to this problem have been developed over the centuries to form the basis of perspective drawing. There is, however, a further dimension to consider, which is sometimes referred to as the fourth dimension but which would be more accurately described as a temporal dimension - time. A� As we move past a three dimensional object, our view of it changes and so there cannot be one true two dimensional view of a three dimensional object. In a similar way, as time passes, our view of an object is affected. I considered this when I set about making some studies for a drawing of Mesogi. I took numerous photos of one of my favourite streets in the village at different times of the day and although the basic layout of the buildings in the village remained roughly the same, there was also a lot that changed. Cars moved, cafes opened and shut, light came first from one angle and then from another, people moved in and out of shot and, were we to observe the view for months, rather than years, flowers and trees would go through the seasons and bloom and change. These observations are not especially startling and when written down do start to resemble a look a a�?time passinga�� clip in a movie, but they certainly should be considered when approaching a drawing of a street as it is the transient aspects of a section of landscape that give it life and if you can get this across, then the drawing will work far better. A� Here are two stages of one of the sketches I made of Mesogi over the weekend. Ita��s the first section of a panoramic drawing which will show a crossroads near the centre of the village. The first draft was OK, but a little lifeless. I wanted to get across more of the movement of the street. panoramic 1 A� I added a shadow across the left hand side of the large building and so I decided to work into that a bit. I used a photo I took of a building on the other side of the street and developed the shapes with the shaded area to reflect the buildings across the street. A� I also looked at photos of the same building taken at different points in the day to see where the shadows lay and added several different lines to indicate the shadows in the street. The result is a slightly more vibrant building which might work better in a panoramic composition. panoramic 2 Ia��ve provided a fairly limited explanation of dimensions here but ita��s a fascinating topic which has been explored in numerous ways by other artists in the past, in particular the Futurist movement of the Early 20th Century. Therea��s an interesting article about dimensions in art to be found here A� Flatlands, a novel by Edwin Abbott, is a truly idiosyncratic book about dimensions which I fell I love with the first time I read it and which I believe holds a curious kind of cult status. It is certainly well worth a read. It has been adapted into a film, which looks a�� from the extremely limited amount of it I saw a�� a little like a cross between the original film Tron and the 1980a��s kid's TV show Knightmare, (both of which have an interesting take in their own rightA�on spatial dimensions). I havena��t watched the film yet but if you care to view it, it can be found on Youtube.

Panoramic Sketchbook II

This is the third page of my panoramic sketchbook - go here for my previous post on the first two pages.


This page shows a view of the village of Mesogi in Paphos:


pg 3

And here are the first three pages together:

pg 1 and 2 and 3

Panoramic Sketchbook

The Moleskine Japanese notebook is a dream sketchbook to a panorama obsessed artist such as myself. I've had a couple of these books before, but this is the first one I started with a few rules about the direction is should take. I decided to work purely in pencil, no ink or colour of any kind, to draw different areas of the landscape in Paphos and nothing else, and to continue each drawing from the same height as the previous page. At the same time I decided to not work too literally, so although the local landscape should be the starting point for each drawing, the sketches should be free to develop in any way I fancied.


Here's the first page, showing a view of Konia, in Paphos:


pg 1


And here's the second page, showing Lara Bay:


pg 2


And here's the first two pages folded out together:


pg 1 and 2

World of Animals

World of Animals is a new publication by Imagine Publishing and I was commissioned to draw illustrated maps forA�the first few issues:

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Here's a work in progress - a drawing of the Bavarian townA�Neuschwanstein CastleA�which was also featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; the architecture from this part of Europe is just stunning and it's likely I'll be drawing it again some day.


With this piece I'm trying to make the shading a little more dense than usual. I'm posting this mid-stage because there's a chance it might become overworked.. we'll see how it goes..


Rothenburg ob der Tauber


The Midlands

I actually lived in the Midlands for years. My family moved to Staffordshire when I was four, so I was pretty much in between the two cities shown below. Both Birmingham and Manchester are littered with fascinating buildings and intriguing areas and they are both excellent places to go shopping; I think both these drawings represent some of the charms of each area.

birmingham line drawing manchester cityscape

Bird's Eye view of Brighton

Here's a drawing from the archives - a bird's eye view of Brighton. I actually lived in Brighton for about a year and it's a fabulous place which we were sad to leave.


Pencil Drafts

Here’s a selection of sketches and pencil drafts I found during a routine trawl through my hard drive.


It’s always interesting to take a look at these; everything I do starts with a pencil sketch and it’s definitely the most exciting part of any commission. Sketches are probably the closest representation of my personal interpretation on a subject; as much of my work today is commissioned, many of the changes that take place after this stage are client led. Maybe this is part of the reason why many people find sketchbook work so intriguing.

Mural for Get Well Network

Last year I worked on a great commission to create a mural for the Get Well Network in Bethesda, Maryland. The illustration I produced shows how the various aspects of a community link together and was installed in their new offices towards the end of last year. The slideshow above shows the whole mural and a few close-ups. FINAL3 This was an especially interesting commission a it gave me a chance to look at the structure and layout of a town and how the different area work together. You can find out more about the Get Well Network here


Drawing for Women's Health Magazine

For the January 2014 issue of Women's Health Magazine, I was commissioned to work on a drawing of London, to help illustrate an article about the nuances of the contemporary dating scene:

SandL New Hook Up (1)

Here's the original drawing..

final pen colour 6

Sketches for the Illustrated Maps of Paphos

A few years ago I worked on a series of illustrated maps showing the Paphos district and detailed sections of the local villages and town centre. The finished artwork has been posted on this blog for a while now, but having recently stumbled upon a few of the sketches and drafts for the piece, I thought they might make interesting viewing.

Here's part of the initial pencil sketch:

illustrated maps

Read more

Edinburgh Skyline

I'm not sure why, but I really wanted to have an image of the Edinburgh skyline to post on New Year's Eve. This drawing shows a view of the city from Calton HillA�Read more

Cambridge Circus

Cambridge Circus is a former roundabout and now an intersection where Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road meet. It is roughly halfway between Tottenham Court Road tube station and Leicester Square. This building a�� which sits on the junction across the road from the Palace theatre a�� is thought by literary scholar David Monaghan to be the site for the headquarters of John Le Carrea��s fictionalised British Intelligence service, known in his novels as the a�?Circusa��.

cam circus

Neuschwanstein Castle

neuschwanstein castle

Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) is a 19th Century Romanesque Revival Palace in Southwest Bavaria, Germany. It is situated on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near the town of FA?ssen and has a fascinating association with a number of films, most notably featuring in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and serving as the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

Panorama of Palermo

This are the sketches for a panoramic drawing of Palermo I completed earlier this year.

And here’s the final artwork:

Notting Hill and Kensington

Architecture from the Notting Hill and Kensington areas of London which were drawn as part of an ongoing map project: