UK Artist Draws Amazing Portraits on Maps

UK artist Ed Fairburn is fascinated by maps, but not precisely for the reasons you might have guessed. Sure, he appreciates their complexity and what they represent, but he also likes that he can draw on them.

Since 2012, Fairburn has been turning maps into pieces of art by drawing portraits on them. What makes his works stand out is the fact that he doesn’t ruin the map while doing it. While he makes the changes to roads, contours, and other elements of the map, he also aims to keep it functional.

“I aim to preserve the functionality of each map by feeding the composition instead of fighting it – I often spend hours studying the terrain before I begin any physical processes,” he shares on his website.

Fairburn uses a technique he refers to as “topopointillism,” which represents the combination of topography and pointillism. This includes drawing thousands upon thousands of black ink lines and dots until the shape materializes.

Over the years, Fairburn has collected a great number of maps and now uses his personal collection for the artworks. However, he is always on the lookout for new additions, and according to him, he can immediately spot a map that could be turned into a portrait. Check out more of his works below.