A few years ago, I illustrated the wonderful children’s picture book The Buildings That Made London, written by the supremely talented historian David Long and published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. I loved illustrating this book, and whilst it was a labour of love, it was one of the most rewarding projects of my illustration career! It has also inspired me to build on my passion for creating London artwork, in turn growing my wall art print collections and even leading to my solo art exhibition in Carnaby Street!
The London art from the book has proved popular in the years since the booked published, and you can buy beautiful reproductions of my original book illustrations from my website here! Choose from iconic London landmarks such as Big Ben, Horse Guards Parade, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the British Museum to maybe slightly lesser known places such as Somerset House and the Palm House at Kew Gardens! I also made available the front cover of the book (seen above), into my London Buildings print, and included all the iconic London landmarks together in my very special Map of London print. All are printed on a stunning textured FSC Certified fine art paper, and signed by me.
My favourite print from the book has to be the Natural History Museum, although the V&A comes a close second!
I loved illustrating all the little curiosities around the art prints border, such as the blue whale, giant squid, bees and bugs, and some of the V&A Museum exhibits such as beautiful hand painted ceramics and Tipu’s Tiger.
When illustrating a children’s non-fiction picture book of this size (there were 64 pages…and then individual elements making up those pages!) it’s important to research. So much of my time as an illustrator is spent researching the individual London locations and landmarks, poring over maps of London and the London Underground to make sense of the geography of the area and points of historical significance.
I also loved visiting each London landmark in person – during this time I was living in Balham, in South London, and so getting to central London took me around 15 minutes as I lived 1 minute away from the tube! It was a very special place to live, and I have fond memories of my time in that area. If you are visiting London, I highly recommend visiting, or even staying in Balham – it has the best of both worlds: leafy suburban London parks, quintessentially British Victorian terraced houses, incredible restaurants and cafes, independent shops and galleries, and of course quick transport tube links via the Northern Line into the hustle and bustle of the city. Being Indian-British, I also loved living so close to Tooting, which has a big South Asian population – so I loved being able to pop into a South Indian supermarket, or dosa canteen for string hoppers, sambar and chutney (home from home!)
I created the above illustration as a present for my partner when we moved from Balham to remind him of our time living there! I included all our favourite spots in the neighbourhood, such as Taro, Gail’s Bakery, Bucci (best carbonara in the city, trust me – I have tried many!), the Regent pub, Tooting and Wandsworth Common. I also included some funny ones like the local barber and the post office where I was a regular visitor sending your lovely online orders that I made friends with the team there!
Anyway, back to central London! I have grown my London wall art print collections since The Buildings That Made London was published, and now I’ll take you through a few of my favourite newer London landmark prints.
Liberty London is one of my favourite landmarks in the city! Located between Regent Street and Carnaby Street, it has the iconic mock-tudor façade, golden weathervane and flower stand brimming with colourful blooms! If you are visiting London in winter-time, I highly recommend visiting Liberty for it’s festive charm and Christmas gift shopping. I created my Liberty London wall art print (seen above) last year, and it features the iconic Tudor-revival building surrounded by my English Garden Pattern (a nod to the incredible Arts & Crafts pattern archives at Liberty!)
If you have been following my illustrations for a while, you’ll know that I have exhibited on Carnaby Street a few times over the past few years. The above illustration detail is from my Carnaby Street print, which was created specifically for my exhibition in winter 2019. It features the iconic London street and some of the icons who have been regular visitors to Soho over the years: the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Mary Quant, Amy Winehouse, Freddie Mercury, Twiggy, Tom Jones and a cheetah (he took a cheetah across the street as a publicity stunt!), Paul Weller, Elizabeth Taylor, Sid Vicious, Mick Jagger, Patti Boyd, David Bowie, Brigitte Bardot, Elton John and a couple of mods on a Vespa! You may also spy the Bard in the window – a nod to the Shakespeare’s Head on Carnaby Street.
When The Buildings That Made London was published, I was also commissioned to create an illustration for Waterstones Piccadilly, as a promotional gift. This is common in picture book illustration, and this was particularly fun to illustrate because I love bookshops, and Waterstones Piccadilly is one of the very best! The wall art print version of my original Waterstones Piccadilly illustration has gone on to become one of my most best-selling prints, which makes me happy because I love the thought of my customers being book lovers, just like me!
I loved illustrating all the little details, such as the rows of colourful books in the windows, people shopping in the rain (such is life in London!) and red bus lights cutting through the London fog!
Finally we come to my most best-selling print on my website: my Map of London wall art print. This features all the magnificent London show-stoppers: the River Thames, London Eye, Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Palace of Westminster, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Banqueting House, BT Tower, British Museum, Nelson’s Column, St Pancras Station, the Cheesegrater (The Leadenhall Building), Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street), Gherkin (St Mary Axe), Canary Wharf, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum, Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Cutty Sark, City Hall, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, OXO Tower, Imperial War Museum and Battersea Power Station, along with all the classic London sights such as the iconic London taxi, London bus, underground tube train, red telephone box, crowns and carriages, Union Jack flag, and not forgetting… pigeons! How many of these sights can you spot?
Need some framing inspiration? Why not check out my top tips for framing your artwork!