Wednesday 11 December 2019

This man is turning maps of his running routes into beautiful art

‘It’s the maps that are my passion.’

Map Artwork
Map Artwork

By Nicola Irwin and Emily Chudy, Press Association

For many of us, going on a weekly jog can seem like an impossible task, but this man has been going the extra mile by creating amazing artwork from his running routes.

Owen Delaney, 41, tracks his runs using the app Strava, a social network for athletes, then uses the maps as an inspiration for his illustrations.

Owen, from Teddington in south-west London, puts features from the local landscape, including Bushy Park and the River Thames, in his drawings.


Owen said: “I’ve been doing some artwork on the side for the past year or so, from maps like these, through to landscape paintings and portraits as gifts and commissions.

“It’s the maps that are my passion, and I think with the running theme, they’re quite unique so that’s where my focus has been.”


Strava is popular with people who use GPS to create art, as the technology tracks your run with coloured lines, meaning if you run in a pattern, you’ll get a picture.

Owen said: “The idea for the daily sketches came to me on New Year’s Eve, as a goal for 2018 – to draw a quick interpretation of my Strava activities every single day.

“The idea was more for myself than anything else, to try and improve my skills at map making, and hopefully to develop my own style, but I thought it would be fun to share them as well and people seem to be enjoying them as a new form of Strava art.”

Owen draws with pen and ink, doing quick sketches of only 15 to 20 minutes each.

He said: “I’ve used the opportunity to research some of the older map makers through to more modern styles, but it’s predominantly the older, hand-drawn pen and ink maps that really inspire me. The one that Strava shared was based on a 17th-century map of Middlesex by Joan Blaeu, a Dutch cartographer; his maps are beautiful.

“I was conscious of not spending too long on the sketches as my time is fairly limited, so the sketchbook I bought for this is small, at 14x14cm, and I try to limit it to 15-20 mins per map. But one or two of the more intricate ones have taken a bit longer.”


You can see more of Owen’s art here.

PA Media

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