Q&A | Alex Hotchin - Travel Illustrator

Q&AAlex Hotchin - Travel Illustrator

We first came across Alex Hotchin's illustrations when the team at Pannier shared her story. Last year Alex published a book called 'Borderless', a stunning series of storytelling adventure maps, each inspired by her 17,000km overland bicycle journey from Europe to SE Asia. After reading the article we had to find out more.

What is the artistic process behind your maps?

I carry small drawing books almost everywhere I go to make notes and observations of the places I travel to, people I meet and stories I’m told, using whatever I have to draw with - pen, watercolour, marker or pencil. Later on I collate these observational drawings into a single hand drawn map. The borderless maps were all created with pen and ink, watercolour and marker on Arches A1 paper.

What was the most inspiring place on your journey to illustrate?

I would have to choose both Turkey and Iran as my favourites. We met so many characters and storytellers in both these parts of the world, so reliving all of these moments while drawing them was inspiring.

What does travel mean to you?

Travel has changed my world - especially my 2-year long bicycle trip.  Bicycles are great levellers.  This way of travelling immerses you into a place in a way that other forms of travel can’t match. You don’t go anywhere in a hurry under your own peddling power, and invitations into homes, gifts of bread, tea, fruit, and random acts of kindness abound. Travelling allows you to carry these acts of kindness and their stories to other places, and the sharing of these contributes to this big wonderful world of ours.