sketch artist creates incredibly detailed depictions of united kingdom’s 69 cities

sketch artist creates incredibly detailed depictions of united kingdom’s 69 cities

in an ambitious portrait project of the UK, self-taught artist carl lavia is creating immensely detailed illustrations of the island nation’s 69 cities from an aerial point view. with the help of photographer lorna le bedonchel, the pair use ink and archival paper to produce each drawing, which appear like maps from a distance, but reveal a lightweight impressionist style on closer inspection.

images courtesy of @lebredonchel and @sketchnthecity


in 2016 sketch artist lavia joined forces with photographer lorna le bredonchel to form the ambitious ‘69 cities of the UK‘ project. together they are documenting every single city within the UK through large-scale drawings. each artwork takes between 2-4 months to create and is placed on public display within its respective city.



lorna begins by forming a basic pencil ‘scaffold’ which carl then layers over with minimal guide lines using ink. forming a more defined skeleton of the city, the work is fleshed out over time by constant layering (and erasing of lines) to solidify the intricate city structures in black ink. lorna documents the process until the sketch is finished.



at first glance, the work looks like a traditional map, showing an aerial view of roads, bridges, streets, familiar buildings, monuments and well known landmarks. a closer inspection reveals a lightweight impressionist style, structures hovering and disintegrating, suggesting the process of creation, collapse and re-creation, mirroring the rhythm of the city itself, a complex network of lines tying and unravelling, an urban landscape in perpetual, dynamic transformation.



carl and lorna began their collaborative project in birmingham and have since documented the cities of manchester, edinburgh, dundee, stirling, and perth, scotland. exhibitions have so far been held at a number of significant locations including birmingham museum & art gallery, as well as the central libraries of manchester and edinburgh. the pair are currently working on the perth drawing that will be on display at the perth museum and art gallery at the end of this month until january 2020. as well as continuing to explore the UK’s cities, they hope to develop an app that will allow visitors to explore each drawing in an immersive 3D landscape. 



project info


project name: #69cities

artist: carl lavia

photographer: lorna le bredonchel

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,528 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample