The Highly Detailed, Monochromatic Drawings of Vasco Mourão

Architect turned illustrator, Vasco Mourão has an eye for detail, creating monochromatic illustrations of cityscapes and other architectural meanderings using only a pen.

“I studied and worked as an architect so my lexicon is deeply rooted in the city, structures, and urban environments,” he explained in an interview with Form Finding Lab. “Basically, I learned how to design and build through architecture, and now I can distort, exaggerate and repeat all those architectural elements that make up a building or a city and rearrange them in my drawings.”

Inhabiting a place between fine art and illustration, Mourão creates bespoke artworks and large scale murals for various private clients, galleries, and institutions, working on selected editorial commissions as well. Originally from Portugal, and now based in Barcelona, his selected clients include Apple, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

Drawing on paper, wood, and metal, his techniques were acquired through trial and error. “Probably the hardest thing to figure out for me was to learn to deal with mistakes,” he admits. “Being a perfectionist is a curse in disguise because it’s very easy to get lost in an endless loop of do-undo and never get to the end of a piece. That’s why I decide to work on a medium where I can’t erase or undo. With pen and paper, there’s no backdoor.
Sure… I scream and kick the wall when I make a mistake but at the end I just have to carry on and finish the drawing.”

Take a look at some of his highly detailed work in the gallery below.