Window watching

Kate McGuinness has illustrated some of Wellington's favourite haunts and the results are charming.

By Benn Jeffries
Illustrations by Kate McGuinness

Illustrator Kate McGuinness combined her love for the windy city and a keen eye for detail to capture the people and places of Wellington for the online challenge #100dayproject. She talks to us about cafes, colour, and 100 days of creativity.

“My initial idea was to create a map of Newtown for my two-year-old son Hugo,” Kate says. “He zooms around our local suburb on his bike, pointing out familiar spots, so I began illustrating our favourite haunts.” Newtown is full of endless colour but when Kate decided to take part in the 100 day project, she expanded the concept to wider Wellington to showcase all its people and places.

The 100 day project encourages people to explore their creativity for 100 days. The concept first appeared in New Zealand after graphic designer Emma Rogan launched the project in 2011. Since then, it has gone global on Instagram and other social media platforms.

For Kate, the Covid-19 lockdown presented the perfect opportunity for such a challenge. Her process starts with a daily walk with her kids. She photographs and collects images of facades that appeal to her. Instead of jumping straight onto the computer to digitally illustrate the buildings, she likes to sketch the scenes on paper first. “Drawing by hand helps me to understand the smaller details,” Kate says.

Her illustrations have showcased everything from Wellington cafes, galleries, bike stores and bars. After illustrating so many of the city’s gems, one can’t help but wonder what her go to spot is. “Here in Newtown we are spoilt for choice,” Kate says, “but I am a loyal customer at Black Coffee. They’re always liberal with marshmallows.”

Kate says the reaction to the project has been warming. “It has been a nice way to acknowledge local businesses and community spots under lockdown. Vic Books have offered to display their favourite images in their shop window. To help me reach 100 days, Instagram followers have recommended a few spots too.”

Kate is also excited to be taking on commissions. She can be contacted through Instagram or her website where people can view the growing collection of her work.


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