Lonely Planet Writer

This artist documented his travels in Central Europe in an amazing series of sketches

If you want to slow down and enjoy the scenery on your next trip, take a cue from 23-year-old Maxwell Tilse, who documents his travels in incredible sketches  most recently, a months-long adventure through Central Europe.

The Australian artist moved to London in 2015 and works as a freelance illustrator. With a keen interest in both art and travel, he has been seeing as much of the world as possible since leaving school in Australia – and documenting it through his sketches. Maxwell recently got back from a long trip through Central Europe. He travelled for five weeks with his family, and continued on solo, through Poland, Slovakia, Kaliningrad, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Previously, while backpacking for seven months, Maxwell had created a comic of his adventures. “It became a wonderful memento of my trip,” he told Lonely Planet, and inspired his latest project. On his most recent adventure, he kept what he describes as a “visual travel diary” of all the places that he saw.

While many travellers opt for a camera, Maxwell said he feels there is something more that sketching can provide. “I discovered that, for me, there’s no simpler joy than sitting down in some foreign city and sketching the new surroundings. Whether that is in Chicago, Marrakesh or Budapest, people are always interested and come up to have a look. I’ve made some good friends from strangers in the street, regardless of language,” he said.

Sitting in one place for a few hours also helps him get a real feel for a particular spot, like the sounds, smells and the “changes in light and temperature”. Maxwell says that what he absorbs while sketching will stick in his memory, and the final sketch is much more personal than a photograph. “Opposed to capturing a perfect representation, with art I can add my individual take on a place”.

As an avid traveller, he says it’s difficult to pick his best travel experiences as there is a lot to choose from, including a spontaneous camping trip with new friends in Morocco, climbing down a manhole into the Parisian catacombs, playing in a marching band on the Great Wall of China and much more.

And while he doesn’t have his next travel plans in order yet, you can be assured that they will be fully documented with some incredible new art.  

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