It’s hard not to get lost inside Olivia Kemp’s landscape illustrations. Working predominantly in pen, her illustrations are filled to the brim with details. Those encompass everything, from the visions of a grand landscape right down to the details of the land, the plants, and creatures that may inhabit it.
“I draw in order to make sense of landscape but also to construct and remodel it,” reads Kemp’s bio. “I build worlds and imaginary places that grow out of a need to interpret the sites that I have known, expanding and developing them across a page.”
Her work process requires a meditative state of mind, as she works her way through the page, each section at a time. “I don’t worry about the whole,” she explained in an interview with MoMA. “I think it stops the size of the paper from overwhelming me.”
This process also keeps her on her toes. “In the past, when I’ve sketched the whole image out beforehand, filling it in bores me,” she admits. “It feels like paint by numbers, like the whole drawing is a foregone conclusion and the excitement of the unknown is lost. That’s also what is great about pen, you’re always on the edge of making an irrevocable mistake. It sharpens my focus and gets me absorbed in what I’m doing.”
Her illustrating process is as incredible as the finished result. See for yourself: