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The London Hieroglyph

A sequential narrative about a Londoner’s working day.


This is a piece of satire, laughing at the frustrations of a working day in London. A story reading from left to right, building to a debaucherous climax.


This illustration is an experiment into sequential narrative and graphic story-telling. I liked the idea of using the ‘ancient hieroglyph’ as a medium for describing a civilisation and telling a story about it.

This story takes you through a satirical rat-race that you may be familiar with. It’s about being a Londoner and struggling with London. It’s a look at working full-time in fast moving, competitive city, in order to support yourself. It’s about the effect this has on us and the vices that it makes us run to.

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This illustration was drawn using pen & ink, with watercolour, drawn onto an 8ft by 1ft paper scroll.

This hieroglyph progresses from left to right with the appropriate London architecture following. From the pain of getting out of bed in the morning, the bitterness of the rush-hour, the tyrannical bosses and scheming peers of the work place, and to lastly the debauchery that ensues when we’ve finally been set free. The drinking, smoking, drugs, and sex that we can often regret in the morning. The cycle begins again.

I wanted this piece to reflect something about mental health and the negative emotional effects I see this city having on people. I certainly felt trapped in this cycle for a good part of my life and and this is how it felt to me. Though this piece is about depression, exhaustion and frustration, I drew it with a big smile on my face, laughing each time I got hit with an idea that best describes a trademark London struggle. Afterall, this is a piece of satire. Classic, British, cartoon satire. A piece of artefacts, describing something of our society to the next civilisation or maybe even visiting aliens trying to make sense of our dug up our remains.


The first quarter - Waking up, Leaving the house, and commuting.

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The second quarter - The commute, Work, and being set free

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The third quarter - The vices that we run to.

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The fourth final quarter - The debauchery reaches a climax then we run out of steam.

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A closer look


The Process