Illustrator sketches european landmarks from home – then visits them to show off uncanny resemblance

By James Speakman and Bethany Gleave  


An artist has spent two years sketching London and other European cities’ landmarks from his bedroom before visiting them and comparing his drawings to their magnificent inspirations – with uncannily accurate results.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

Maxwell Tilse moved from Australia to London in 2015 and has since spent his time as a freelance artist illustrating famous buildings with historical importance in the Capital and beyond.

Despite sketching many of his drawings using only images from books or magazines, Maxwell has now chronicled his travels across the continent showing him visit the iconic locations and compare his illustrations.

In an incredible series of photographs, the 24-year-old self-taught illustrator holds up his miniature sketches in front of iconic landmarks ranging from London’s Big Ben to Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

Other beautiful drawings include Boulevard de Clichy in Paris, St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest and Krakow’s main Square in Poland to London’s St Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Maxwell said: “With most of my work I am required to draw faraway places so unfortunately have no choice but to work from images.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

“I get most of my work from overseas commissions for individuals and most of these requests are to illustrate city landscapes. Today I’m working on Reykjavik and tomorrow it’ll be Rotterdam.

However if given the opportunity, Maxwell says he would always prefer to sketch from the real thing – it is simply money and time that often stops him.

Maxwell said: “I’ve always been into illustration. As a child I would always draw and read comics like Tintin.

“When I am illustrating a scene in London, I always try to draw on location.

“There is so much more to be said for sitting down outside or in a cafe and sketching your surroundings.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

“You’re always able to capture a scene or piece of architecture better when on location.

“By sketching something in front of you, you can capture the sounds and smells, and the people who walk past you or stop to take a look at the progress.

“These things all make for a better drawing and more enjoyable time spent drawing.

“I love drawing Big Ben. London is so jam packed with incredible architecture, old and new.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

“It’s hard to pick a favourite. I will miss the chimes from Big Ben.

“But I’ll miss being able to see the beautiful exterior of Elizabeth Tower and Westminster Palace much more.

“Generally I have a place in mind that I want to sketch. Or I’ll go out and walk until I find something that catches my eye.

“Then I lay down a quick and vague pencil sketch, and add the base colours with Promarker pens.

MAX TILSE / MERCURY PRESS

“After that I draw in black pen and eventually add the finer details and shading.”