Artist Interview: Stephen Wiltshire, Cities and Skylines

by Cass Art

Stephen Wiltshire is an artist famous for his strikingly detailed drawings of cities from across the world, mostly from memory after only brief observation of the skylines. His extensive collection includes drawings of London, New York and Sydney, and his popularity increased when he appeared in the 2001 BBC documentary, Fragments of Genius.

Diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Stephen’s first word was ‘paper’, and he has flourished with his natural, inherent artistry ever since, going on to study Fine Art at City & Guilds Art College.

Stephen’s drawings are often made on a large scale, with every detail captured using his intricate line work. 

Stephen Wiltshire drawing, Cass Art blog

A regular at our Charing Cross and Kensington shops, Stephen buys his drawing paper from Cass Art and spends a lot of his time in his London gallery when he is not travelling internationally. He was awarded an MBE for his services to art in 2006, and his work is held in a number of important collections.  

We caught up with Stephen to discuss his favourite materials, including his love for Staedtler Pigment Liners, and the inspiration he uses for his monumental drawings.

What is it about drawing in particular that captivates you as an artist?

I started drawing when I was five years old. In the early years, I could not speak, so drawing was my way of expressing myself. I am fascinated with modern cities, skyscrapers and architecture and my favourite cityscapes I have drawn are London and New York.

Stephen Wiltshire, London drawing, Cass Art blog

How do you decide which cityscape is going to be your next project?

I am often invited to visit new cities and then I can decide if I would like to go. People also commission me to draw buildings and street scenes for them. I also sketch in my sketchbook every day, working on new ideas. Most people think I am only interested in skylines and cities, but I often draw people, classic American cars and imaginary scenes.

Stephen Wiltshire, Self-portrait on glass, Cass Art blog

Do you have a favourite drawing tool?

I use mainly Staedtler Pigment Liners because they come in different sizes, from 0.05 to 0.7, so I can use one for fine detail or another for foliage. They don't dry out and I can do quick sketches with them as well as my larger drawings. Staedtler has kindly supported my drawing, supplying me with their pens whenever I need them. And as for surfaces, I draw on Daler Rowney papers, ranging from size A4 to A2.

What are you working on at the moment, and do you have any major upcoming projects?
I am currently recreating the Vancouver skyline, and will be hosting my in store signing at my gallery on the 30th May. Then I will be travelling in Asia and Europe to draw cities I have not seen before.

 Stephen Wiltshire, New York globe, Cass Art blog

Feeling inspired?

Get drawing with Stephen’s favourite art supplies and sketch your own cityscapes, skylines or other creative desires. Use the Faber Castell Pitt Pens as an alternative to Stephen’s chosen Steadtler Pigment Liners, and try your hand on Cass Art paper for best quality at amazing value prices.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and post us your own drawings or tell us what you think of Stephen’s work. 

With thanks to Stephen Wiltshire and his gallery for Stephen’s exclusive interview with Cass Art. For more information about Stephen’s in-store signing, visit the Stephen Wiltshire Gallery website. 

Image Credits:

The Stephen Wiltshire Gallery 

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