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David Fathers

Illustrator, author & map maker of London guide books & more …


David Fathers

 Above: inside the River Fleet sewer


‘David Fathers has a beautiful way with words and pictures.’  Londonist

‘London-based walker and artist David Fathers has produced a beautifully illustrated guide to the Thames Path… it’s easy to follow and will appeal to ramblers and casual visitors alike.’  Walk magazine (The Ramblers)

‘And can I add even if you have no interest in walking London’s hidden rivers you should buy a copy, it’s rather beautifully done.’  Feargal Sharkey

In 2012, my first book, The Regent’s Canal was published. Since then I have gone on to create (write, illustrate and design) a further four London guidebooks and I'm working on a new title at the moment.

Continuing the water theme of the canal book, I went to produce The London Thames Path and London's Hidden Rivers (both published by Frances Lincoln/Quarto).

My fourth guidebook, Bloody London (published by Conway/Bloomsbury, 2020), walks you through some of the capitals’ most gruesome and horrific history. And my latest publication, Diverse London (Conway/Bloomsbury, 2022) guides you through six migrant districts exploring their history, culture, religion and cuisine.

I am constantly looking for new ways to explore and explain the metropolis in my own particular way.

Having gained my degree at Newcastle Poly (now the University of Northumbria), I moved immediately to London and began work as a graphic designer. I also began to expand my illustration portfolio and started to create illustrations for numerous companies including the Radio Times, TSB, Car, Royal Mail, New Scientist, The Observer, Fitch & Co and Barclays Bank (below).

Some years later I worked as a director of several interactive CD ROMs (remember them?) for Dorling Kindersley and later as a web producer working for the likes of GME Opel, Nissan, Emirate Airlines and Lloyds TSB.

However, by the end of the millennium, having tired of working in the large corporate world, I set up a small web production company creating content management systems for SMEs, whilst developing a new portfolio of illustrations. Then, following a ‘cycle-path to Damascus’ bike ride, along a part of the Regent’s Canal in 2009, I was inspired to create an illustrated guidebook to the waterway, as no such book existed. I approached Frances Lincoln with the concept of the book that I would write, illustrate and design. They agreed to publish it and The Regent's Canal was released in 2012.

I soon began to realise that having lived in London for thirty years I didn’t really know the place at all. And so, I began to look for other London based themes I could write about.

To learn more about how I work as a writer, illustrator and a designer please read the article I wrote for Writers & Artists. I am based in north London.

Video by Nice Tree Films