In 4 weeks time, the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery will showcase the mighty hand drawn ink-sketch of the entire city of Inverness in Scotland. The sketch made using inks on archival paper will measure around 2 and a half meters and has taken roughly 3 months so far. It will be mounted onto Diasec for public display.

This cityscape is part of a huge national art project by creative partners Carl Lavia and I (Lorna Le Bredonchel). We joined our forces for the ambitious ’69 cities of the UK’ project in 2016. We aim to produce a 69-page portrait of the whole of the UK. Inverness will be our 5th Scottish city and the 7th city completed in the project so far.

We are documenting every single city within the UK – each artwork takes between 2-4 months to create and is placed on public display within its respective city. We began the collaborative project in Birmingham Oct 2016, followed by the cities of Manchester and Edinburgh in 2017. Each artwork goes on public display within its respective city, and 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.

At the beginning of 2018 Dundee was completed and went on show at The McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. The city of Stirling was completed in May 2018 and is currently on display currently at The Tolbooth, Stirling’s venue for live music and the arts. The city of Perth was created in Jan 2019 and is on the show now in the Perth Museum and Art gallery.

Carl aka ‘Sketch’, is a self-taught artist based in London. He has been sketching since the age of 5, when he first became interested in the aesthetics of architecture, maps, and cityscapes. Whilst in his early work he created fictional cities, Carl’s current practice focuses on depicting visited cities from an aerial viewpoint, emphasizing the abstraction of pattern and intensifying the detail and abundance of information. Predominantly working with ink on archival paper, Carl distinguishes between drawing and his approach – sketching – which allows for a more immediate and impressionistic response.

I studied photography at LCC. I handle creative output across all aspects, including working on the sketch, documenting the ongoing process, research, video + still photography, online presence, and securing exhibition space within each city.

Project’s  overall aim:

  • Create a unique portrait of the entire UK by documenting the urban landscape in all its intricacy, variety and history.
  • Portray the present face of our ever-changing urban landscape and stimulate the question of what could be lying in its future.
  • Inspire a rediscovery of the places people know.
  • Form major exhibitions to be shown in several spaces throughout the UK, along with an accompanying book.

Our long term goals:

  • Create long term positive impact by encouraging engagement and connection through social causes within each city.
  • Develop an app, allowing for an immersive 3D experience of the cityscape for exhibitions/prints. 

Up next: the city of Aberdeen, and then to complete the Scottish series, the city of Glasgow.

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The beginning lines of the city of Inverness Scotland

As for the process, I begin by forming a basic pencil ‘scaffold’, Carl then layers over the minimal guidelines in pencil and ink, creating 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. I document the process until the sketch is finished.

Filling in the beginning panel with tiny windows and majestic spires

From a distance, 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, the urban landscape in perpetual, dynamic transformation.

Inverness beginning to take shape

I am marking out pencil grid lines for the roadways

2 panels

Pencil marking of the third panel

Grid lines of the Inverness football stadium

The 3 panels

Up close in the studio

I am making pencil markings of the bridges and roadways

Slowly getting there…

Ness bridge in pencil- yes THAT Nessie… no, we haven’t seen her… yet.

Inverness, 3 panels – filling in more intricate details of shops and sign names