Fine Lines

Custom pen and ink illustrations in exquisite detail, hand-drawn by an exacting local artist.

Full Disclosure: We go way back with Ted Houser —  years of working together plus plenty of socializing, as well. We’ve always known him as an artist, and appreciated his dreamy, fantastical style. Fast forward to 2023, when Ted presented us with a photo-real rendering of a neighborhood scene he saw on The Local’s Facebook page. Seems the Indian Queen Lane rowhome in our picture presented an irresistible challenge. “I’d never drawn that kind of flat stone edifice before,” he told us, “It was fun see what I could do.”

You think you know someone. Turns out Ted has been creating these meticulous masterpieces for years – so far he’s done more than 300 different homes, structures, buildings – even boats. For awhile after college, he worked with a real estate agent who would present clients with a sketch of their new home as a keepsake at closing. These days, he enjoys recreating cherished houses and landmarks with real history and meaning for the people who commission his work.

“I really strive for incredibly vivid detail,” he told us, “I love to reproduce all the particular little shapes and quirks that make each subject unique.”

Indian Queen Lane rowhome original photo by The Local, illustration by Ted Houser

Recognizing these features is a big part of the connection Ted seeks to make in his artwork, the nostalgia his realistic drawings create. Especially in black and white, which adds a sense of timelessness and purity.

He spends hours on each sketch. How long, exactly, is anyone’s guess – Ted likes to slap on headphones and “zone out” when he draws. “I’ll generally go until my eyes cross or my hands cramp,” he laughed, adding that it takes about two weeks from when he first drafts out the image to when it’s finished and ready for a 14 x 17 frame  – a standard size for diplomas and, according to Ted, the ideal canvas for his drawings: “Big enough so you can see it across a room, but not so large that it limits where you can hang it.”

Ted’s custom pen and ink illustrations will set you back $200 – $400ish (some subjects are more time-consuming to draw than others). The process couldn’t be easier: send him a photo, and he’ll get back with his quote. You can email him at (or use the form on his website below).


From homes to storefronts to steeples – even planes, trains, and automobiles! – Ted will render it in striking detail for a truly special gift to yourself or someone you care for. See more of Ted’s work at (use the contact form for rates, timeline, or any other questions).  

ABOUT TED HOUSER: Ted’s an artist and web designer with a side-career in promotions that’s taken him all over the world. He grew up in South Jersey but most of his youth was spent kicking around South Street (“Thanks, PATCO!”). He currently makes his home in Center City.

FUN FACT: In his spare time, Ted’s an activist for Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a genetic condition characterized by muscle weakness, joint stiffness, and skeletal curvatures affecting 1 out of every 3,000 babies. He spearheaded an ambitious social media campaign for AMC Awareness Day, June 30th, including 29 fact-filled images for every day of the month leading up. Learn more on his website,

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