Source and activity 2

Illustration of Hillhead, Glasgow, viewed from the west, 2007

Drawing of Hillhead area showing Glasgow University
Drawing of Hillhead.
[NLS reference: Acc.12915]
View larger Hillhead illustration

An original pen and ink illustration by Alasdair Gray. Gray used it to illustrate his book 'Old Men in Love', first published by Bloomsbury in 2009.

It demonstrates Gray's working process of using paper and glue to make additions to his work.

Suggested activity

Use this source as a starting point for considering cityscapes, perspective, and viewpoints.

What might have been the vantage point for this image? Do you think it's based on a real or an imagined vantage point? Could all of the buildings shown in the image be seen at the same time in real life?

Consider whether the buildings are in correct proportion to each other. Does Gray emphasise some by enlarging them and, if so, why might he have chosen to do this?

After considering these questions, use the image as the starting point for a project to create a pen and ink drawing of your local area or a place that you're very familiar with.

You might like to use imagined perspectives, or to play with proportions and perspective to emphasise building and features that have a personal significance.


Themes in focus - Alasdair Gray

Find out more about Alasdair Gray in our collections

The Alasdair Gray Archive is listed under 'G' in our Guide to Manuscripts Collections.


Search our catalogue for books by or about Alasdair Gray.


Visit the Moving Image Archive site to find films inspired by, featuring, or about Alasdair Gray, including a clip of the film ‘Faces’ using masks made by Gray.

Alasdair Gray on the web

Visit Alasdair Gray’s own website for lots of information.


Find out more about the ‘Lanark’ manuscript held at Glasgow University Library.

Library learning for you

If there's a topic you'd like more information about or if you have any suggestions for learning, email us.

Speak me