The Life of an Illustration II

Not all my illustrations end up on holiday (see my previous post).
Often they never manage to travel beyond a PowerPoint presentation in a closed room, but occasionally it’s nice to see them ‘in the wild’ helping out with some publicity.

Alastair Hudson 150203 WestonWIll TfLFlyUnders#2

Recently some of my illustrations travelled with Boris Johnson to New York. Eventually they ended up on a few websites…

City AM, “Goodbye Jammersmith, hello to Wombling free? Mayor Boris Johnson outlines radical plans to solve capital’s congestion headaches” 10/2/15

City Metric, “London’s mayor wants to start putting major roads into tunnels” 9/2/15

Maybe they even managed to get printed somewhere, who knows. In this case they were amended slightly by my direct client. Not immediately apparent and quite subtle; but I can tell. A bit like teenagers getting their ears pierced or tinting their hair colour I suppose. Flippancy aside, I think these proposals are great idea given the rising land prices in London. Not for the easing of congestion and building more roads but for more housing and parkland. Hopefully, they provoke some serious discussion.

The Life of an Illustration


When I do an llustration I issue the client with a high resolution JPG image and I also hand over the Photoshop file. I have a document stating my standard terms which include a statement that I retain the copyright but that the client has a licence ‘to use the image for the purpose for which it was intended’. A bit vague, but architectural illustrations do tend to be used through the life of a building project for different purposes. In truth I don’t really mind what happens to them as long as they don’t end up in a book or on a T-Shirt that’s generating income that I’m not party to. Though crediting my name to them is nice.

I pass on the PSD file so colour changes and small tweaks can be done by the client and it makes printing easier if the image ends up in a document. Changes and additions to the building designs, facades etc. can also be done by my clients more easily this way. My illustrations are tools and not sacred pieces of art. They have a life of their own once I hand them over and they become part of the process of architecture and construction. It’s interesting to see changes made on the client side, though sometimes also shocking(!).

Occasionally I find them in unexpected places. A few weeks ago a client sent through an email with a link to a website with one of my drawings in. The website was announcing an Environmental licence being granted for Pemba Logistical Base in Mozambique and had a picture of a billboard on the site reproduced here.

It looked like my illustration really did have a life of it’s own and had decided to go off on a beach holiday…

‘Drawing on Architecture’ SAI Book Launch, 13th May 2014

SAI Book Launch invitation 13th May

I’ve been a member of the SAI (Society of Architectural Illustration) since I returned to the UK.  An old university friend of mine was the President and meetings are regularly held at a gallery he helps run – the Anise Gallery (13a Shad Thames, Just around the corner from the Design Museum in London).

Last saturday was the ‘Contributors’ launch of a book by the SAI showcasing the work of the Society’s members. I’m really pleased to say that I’m included, even more pleased that they decided to sort the entries alphabetically by forename making making me the first entry.

Here’s an invite to the ‘Official’ launch which includes an exhibition of prints available for purchase, and of course a chance to buy a copy of the book itself.

HS2 Station Illustrations in Building Design

The HS2 phase one contracts are complete and the HS2 Bill is in Parliament with the Environmental Report being considered. An interview with Laura Kidd (HS2 Head of Architecture) in Building Design On-Line includes some of my station illustrations. Whilst they’re in the ‘big report’ I think this is the first time they’ve been published in the ‘public’ forum.

Well, nearly public; you need to be a subscriber to read anything beyond the magazine’s online front page – so I’m including the published images here.

HS2, Birmingham Curzon Street, Wilkinson Eyre

HS2, Birmingham Curzon Street, Wilkinson Eyre

HS2, Euston Station, Grimshaw Architects

HS2, Euston Station, Grimshaw Architects

HS2, Birmingham Interchange Station, Arup Architects

HS2, Birmingham Interchange Station, Arup Architects

HS2, Old Oak Common Station, Weston Williamson

HS2, Old Oak Common Station, Weston Williamson

Laura’s a great person to work with, as were all the architects involved. Having a background in Transport Infrastructure, I was immensely pleased to be part of HS2 and hope that I can be involved in future stages.

‘Stories of Light and Line’, An Invitation

Stories in Light & Line Invitation

Dear Everyone,

You’re all invited to attend the Private View of Anise Gallery’s new exhibition this Saturday evening, 20th April 2013 at the Anise Gallery in London.  There are some amazing artists contributing and am very proud to be presenting alongside them
(that’s me in last place; bottom right!).

In particular I’d like to mention Sachiyo Nishimura’s photography.  I’ve attached an image from her ‘2012 Landscape/Fiction 14-15‘ series.  The geometric beauty she pulls out of neglected spaces in our cities is wonderful. I’m a big fan of ‘lines’ (usually ink lines) and it’s lovely to see the visual complexity and catenary’s of overhead cables being appreciated.


Stories of Light and Line / SAI Exhibition 2013

Anise Gallery

As a new(ish) member of the Society of Architectural Illustration (SAI) I’m very pleased that two of the illustrations I’ve submitted have been chosen for display in a forthcoming exhibition in London that features the work of many of the members.

Running from 20th April to 19th May 2013, the exhibition will be held at the Anise Gallery in London and is entitled Stories of Light and Line.

Getting chosen led me to new ground since I’d need to create framed hard copies of work that, for me at least, has only ever existed on a computer screen. Yes, I’ve seen them printed as part of very nice, confidential, A3 bid documents, but not specifically for display. More usually they’re printed from an A3 office printer and spiral bound just in time for a client meeting. But a real exhibition was going to need a ‘really nice’ print.

The owner of the Anise Gallery happens to be an old friend from university and he mentioned the word ‘Giclée‘, which helped a great deal. A local company, York Digital Image, produced some great prints in a very short turn around.

The only question I had left was how the hardcopies were to be described, if this was primarily a piece of Digital Art? Should they be part of a numbered edition… where I hadn’t finished printing the other 99 of them? I found some excellent, common-sense answers on a Jen Gagne’s website.

(They’re ‘Original Prints’ and they will be for sale through the Anise Gallery.)

Architectural Sketch Diagrams


Often a diagram will explain an idea or concept far better than a conventional view. Diagrams can also be ‘dressed up’ to make them more complex than they need to be, either to add visual richness or to communicate more than just the purpose of the diagram.

The line between ‘views’ and diagrams is a tricky one, given that all views are essentially tricking the eye of the beholder one way or another. I like to think that if there’s no background and the content becomes an object rather than a place then it’s probably a diagram…