Zachary Johnson travelled around a lot and took note of just how lonesome each big city he went to was, despite the company of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people.

This is highly relevant to my ideas of a hidden loneliness even though you are amongst other people.

Johnson’s collection of pen and ink illustrations known as Lonely Cities depict beautiful, towering architecture, occasionally including tiny people, yet they manage to capture how isolated one can feel. The seemingly simple, monochromatic sketches are rich with their own urban culture and style, though they all share a feeling of desolation and isolation. They are simple pieces but highly effective, the dark tones within them add to the negative feeling.




It is clear to me that there are many ways I could approach showing the hidden loneliness within the city. Zachary Johnson’s work inspires me to work with dark materials like charcoal and pen and ink when drawing down ideas and observations in my sketchbook. It has also shown me that simply sketching the city itself can emit a sense of isolation.


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