“I begin to know a city through its fragments, walking below tall buildings, along facades of signs, doors, and windows, crossing without knowing from one district to the next, down busy streets and empty ones—some more interesting than others, but all part of this thing we call the city,” writes Irish illustrator Nigel Peake in his new book, In the City (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013). Peake’s prismatic ink and watercolor drawings document and deconstruct the artist’s observations of and musings on metropolises like Shanghai, New York, London, and Paris.
In this image from In the City, illustrator Nigel Peake deciphers skyscrapers as an amalgam of “tall glass and steel and neon.”
In the City, a new book published by the Princeton Architectural Press, is now available. In the tome, illustrator Nigel Peake presents his musings on cities and abstract drawings that depit his perception of the built environment.
"This book of work has been drawn from various visits to places, from the things that I see, the things that I find odd or comfort in. I like to walk in cities, it is the best way to observe, with the pace of the walk you have a rhythm and you have time to see," writes Peake.
Here, Peake illustrates a glass facade. The book is divided into chapters on surfaces, places, fragments, paths, and changes.
This image of a skyscraper appears in the surfaces chapter. Peake writes: "Saturated, shiny, soggy, new, ragged, old, scratched, metallic, hot, broken, opaque, cracked, soft, and ripped. Within a small distance, all of these appear side by side."
The book features drawings made from pencil, ink, and watercolor. This one appears in the "change" section. "Structures appear, things are repaired and replaced, and some disappear, while new permanent ones are made," writes Peake.
A bird's-eye view of a rooftop from In the City (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013).