Dive into dystopian drawings of Durban-based illustrator Liam Richards

Durban-based artist Liam Richards creates epic illustrated worlds depicting dystopian cities and urban sprawl. “I’ve always found the repetition and subtle details of buildings and perspective immense. Drawing them has been complicated. Now, with these recent drawings I’m working through that struggle,” he shares.

Inspired by the detail in manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s line work, Liam’s drawings are finely drawn but never look overworked. “I mostly enjoy using markers, pens and watercolors. They’re reliable and practical especially when I’m out sketching. Otherwise I’ll use a brush and ink with white acrylic for highlights,” he shares.

When asked about his thought process and ways in which he transcends ideas onto paper, Liam explains: “These drawings are my mental images. Everything I draw is already drawn out three or more times in my head before I put it onto paper. Some days I’ll have the strangest idea. It just comes through and it’s all about translating it from my mind onto the page.”

By day, Liam can be found illustrating for a marketing agency and by night he keeps himself busy with personal projects like his graphic novel, which he plans to develop over the next few years.

“My day starts and ends with a drawing. I’ve been doing this for a year and it’s provided a foundation for creative fluidity and confidence.” He continues, “I hold a tight schedule for my work. Instead of sitting around for inspiration I’ll wake up and start straight away.”

Between 10 and 5