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Speculative Tech: Art by Tom McDowell

A digital artwork of a mech on a landing padMech Delivery

Tom McDowell is London-based concept artist who works with ideas and aesthetics from science fiction. The artist’s works range from highly detailed three-dimensional models of space ships and other speculative tech, to more stylized drawings and character concepts.

A sketch of a futuristic characterUntitled, from Sci-Fi Doodles series


I’m really enjoying browsing through McDowell’s collection of “doodles” – though many are just a single figure rendered on a blank background, the artist’s attention to detail with outfits and small bits of hand-held technology offer a fascinating glimpse into potential narratives and situations. I also really like the way the artist utilizes color in these works. It’s often subdued, muted, rendered in flat planes without too much shading, imbuing each work with the aesthetic of a wireframe or blueprint drawing.


McDowell showcase an impressive stylistic range in his portfolio. Like other concept artists Ken Henderson and Hendrik Gericke, he switches easily between smooth, realistic digital work and more gestural sketch work that would be appropriate for a storyboard or even an original comic.

A digital drawing of a science fiction character designUntitled, from Sci-Fi Doodles series

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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