Lonely Planet Writer

In the studio with Lauren Crow, illustrator for Secret Marvels of the World

In studio

To celebrate the launch of Secret Marvels of the World we've gone behind the scenes to the studio of Lauren Crow, who illustrated the book, to find out how she tackled the project, the challenges she faced and the techniques used to create such intricate images.

Tell us about the brief

The project was a continuous collaboration to create illustrations of different shapes and sizes that would work really effectively on each page.

How did you make a start?

Initially, I worked up roughs based on the dimensions from the brief, in order to make sure the compositions worked. I made suggestions on incorporating the images in interesting ways, such as showing the movement of animals across the page.

I researched different imagery in order to get a good feel for the locations and to use the best angles and perspectives.

Were there any challenges?

The main challenge when working in black and white is to capture the impressiveness and beauty of the location, so it’s all about using shade and light as well as intricate line work to make them striking. It was incredibly enjoyable to work on a project that involved drawing such an interesting and sometimes bizarre variety of places, objects, animals and people.

Lauren's illustrations

2.Migration of Fruit bats - Zambia

1.Rough - Migration of Fruit bats

Drawings hanging


Featuring communist bunkers, burning gas craters and at least one sponge-rock fluorescent grotto built by Polish monks, this book reveals weird and wonderful sights the crowds don't reach.


Get your copy of Secret Marvels of the World on Lonely Planet's online shop.