Logo close icon

Drawing the Northern Line


A visual journey through London has won acclaim for Middlesex University Illustration student, Murray McCusker.

Illustration student Murray McCusker embarked on an unusual journey for his final year project, 'Off the Rails'. Keen to discover London in a way that didn't involve conventional transport routes, Murray decided to 'walk the Northern Line' armed with just a map, a camera and a sketchbook.

On his return, Murray drew pictures inspired by his journey that evoked memories of key points along the way and how they made him feel, rather than depicting conventional landmarks. When put together, the pictures create a narration of Murray's internal journey, rather than his physical progress through the city. 

Murray exhibited his illustrations at Middlesex University's Art and Design final year exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery earlier this year, where he was praised for his unique and spontaneous style.


"I try not to plan too much before I start," he explained of his technique. "I'm always wary of over-thinking things. Once I have a loose idea of what I want to do, I just go for it!

"Keeping the pen on the paper throughout seems to give my work more character, and helps it flow without my thought processes being cut off. There's an element of spirituality, almost like meditation, that happens when it all comes together. That's when it feels like I'm doing it right."

Murray takes inspiration from fine art in his work, with Picasso, Matisse and Basquiat among his idols. "I love their spontaneous, loose style; it's quite primitive in a way," he said. "It feels like they just got the stuff down on the paper, rather than agonising over every careful detail."

Murray's work has caught the eye of the prestigious Royal College of Art, where he has now been offered a place on their Visual Communication course.

Discover more of Murray's work on his blog.

In this section

Back to top