Instead of taking pictures of the places he goes to, Australian illustrator Maxwell Tilse does something better: he recreates them in miniature form.
The Sydney-born, London-based 23-year-old documents his travels by making tiny pen and ink sketches of famous landmarks, including historic pubs.
For instance, he’s created five-centimetre cut-outs of The Bricklayers Arms in Fotzrovia, which is known for its stunning Georgian architecture, or The Old George, which was built back in 1713.
“London is a city packed to the brim with historical wonders that are so easy to miss or pass by, unnoticed,” he said.
To create each illustration, Tilse either sketches on-site or does it at home. He makes sure to include every detail there is, including the Tudor-style chimneys, decorative windows and doors, and ornamental balconies.
He then takes a photo juxtaposing the cut-out with the real thing, then posts the image on Instagram along with some historical facts in the caption.
We recently caught up with Tilse to find out more about his fascinating series.
“Well, I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I always loved to draw as a child but I never considered it could be a career path as a young boy. After finishing high school, I went to university in Sydney to study law. However, after just one year, I had decided to take a year off to travel and see the world.
“It was during this trip that I began to keep a travel diary but with comics and take my drawing more seriously. Eventually, I moved to the UK and decided to have a go at making it my full-time profession.”
“It was an easy adjustment to make. Both countries are culturally quite similar. I had also moved to be with a girl, so I had a house and an exciting new relationship waiting for me in my new home. I love both cities. Naturally they each have their own pros and cons. But certainly in terms of artistic inspiration and culture, I find London to be much better.”
“I found inspiration for the pub series just through walking the streets of London. I had drawn some small landmarks earlier in the year, but none of the drawings had any thematic consistency.
“The idea of doing a series of pubs came about later. After I had already drawn two of them. Hey, this could be a cute little idea. People like pubs and London has such a cute and diverse range (architecturally and historically).”
“I have drawn about eight. I only had the idea a month or so before I was going to leave so I was hard pressed for time. If I return to London I might continue with it, as there are countless little pubs across the city. I was certainly never short on locations to sketch.”
“Usually, I can draw a detailed building and cut it out in less than two hours. If I’m sketching on the street, I tend to work faster as it isn’t as comfortable as sitting at my desk. But really, the time always depends on the style of drawing. I tend to work very precisely and slowly.”
“I am very lucky to have had the opportunities to travel. I have spent three years in Europe and the UK now. Along with Morocco, Egypt, Russia, the United States, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. As well as traveling extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand.
“Finally, I have a job that I can do on the road now. So I am excited to try and fill 2018 with even more trips. Possibly even moving to Morocco for a few months. I really don’t know where life will take me next. It’s all so exciting.”