Friday, 14 June 2019

Eighteenth Century Work in London: A Guide

Until recently these characters were little more than doodles in an old sketchbook I had.  Upon their rediscovery, I decided to give them a bit of a makeover and let them see the light of day.

And here are the results!

From 5pm on Sunday 16th of June 2019 all of these items will be available to purchase as postcards, prints and concertina books.

Visit to see the full collection.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Northern Illustration Prize 2019

Monkey Business

Last month I discovered that my entry for the Northern Illustration Prize had been shortlisted, which came as a lovely surprise.  A great write-up of the award is available to read at this link here - Northern Illustration Prize 2019.  

All winning and shortlisted entries are currently being exhibited at the biennial Northern Festival of Illustration, which runs until 15th September 2019.

The theme for the competition was 'monkey' and I responded with an illustration based on a true story from my family history: my great-grandfather used to keep a pet monkey, which must have seemed like an unusual thing at the time for a middle-class businessman. Unfortunately, the monkey caused a lot of chaos at home and stress for my great-grandmother, and in the end the animal had to go.  There are no known photos of the monkey, but this is how I imagine their home might have looked...

Friday, 5 April 2019

Wedding anniversary lasercut

This was a recent private commission for a first wedding anniversary.  The lasercut had to depict the wedding location - Prestonfield House stables in Edinburgh - as well as moments from the day itself.

Scroll down to see some of the finished images below!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Bristol Artists Book Event 2019

Bristol Artists Book Event at the Arnolfini

In a few days time I'll be taking my book art to BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) and will be participating alongside several other artists from Artistsbooksonline at their stand in Gallery One at the Arnolfini.  Over eighty makers from across Europe and beyond will be taking part alongside a programme of talks, workshops and performances throughout the weekend.

This year's showreel is available here at

For more information visit  

See some of you there!

Sat 30 March 11-6pm, Sun 31 March 11-5pm
Entry is FREE (donations welcome)

All photos by Tom Sowden

Monday, 18 February 2019

Short video of Nylmah

Many photos of my lasercut book Nylmah have been shared on this blog and across other social media platforms, but a few days ago I decided to make and upload a short video of it too.  Designing this book marked a departure from the work I'd done prior to this, as you can see below in the video below - enjoy!

If this video doesn't play in your browser or isn't working for any other reason, then you can find it on Youtube at

Monday, 4 February 2019

New website!

After far too long without one, I have sorted myself a website.  You can now find all of my book art and a lot of my illustration work at the link below:

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Astrologer Kings

Above and below is some artwork I have recently finished and would like to share here.  These images have been in the pipeline for a while now and after some thought and a bit of experimentation, I have decided to reproduce them as limited edition risograph prints.

Scroll down to see the collection!

All of these images have been inspired by reading The Errant Astrologers by Felipe Benitez Reyes.  They are illustrations that I have been working on intermittently and have only recently got round to making risograph prints out of many of them.  

The play is rich with nonsensical imagery: three astrologer monarchs from different kingdoms find themselves lost together in a desert at night, while trying to follow the same star.  It's a text with themes in it that I find myself returning to a lot in my artwork.  

All featured prints are available through my online store at the link below:

Thank you for reading!  

You can see more regular updates of my work over on my Instagram account at

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Misadventures of John Nicholson

Over the past couple of months I've been working on a set of illustrations for Typewronger Books for a republication of one of Robert Louis Stevenson's short stories, The Misadventures of John Nicholson.  Set in Victorian Edinburgh, it tells the story of the ill-fated John Nicholson, a son of a well-to-do family in Edinburgh's New Town.  From Typewronger's event page on Facebook: 

This was originally published as part of a collection of Stevenson's work after his death and we think it deserves more notice!  The Misadventures involves embezzlement, a mugging on Calton hill, an illegal drinking establishment, a murder & a comedy cabby... Our edition includes an introduction by Jeremy Hodges and five new illustrations by Joanna Robson.

Out anti-hero is on his own after dark on Edinburgh's Calton Hill, unaware of the immediate dangers...

For more information visit Typewronger Books page at or find them on Instagram at

And if you find yourself in Edinburgh, then you can always call in at the shop at 4a Haddington Place!  It's at the top of Leith Walk on the right as you walk towards the city centre.

Typewronger Books, Edinburgh

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Vasilisa and the Witch's Fire

Recently I have developed and finished a new piece of laser cut book art.  Vasilisa and the Witch's Fire depicts a scene from the Russian fairytale Vasilisa the Beautiful, a story that sees its heroine Vasilisa overcome the obstacles put before her by the witch Baba Yaga.  

Uneditioned version

Uneditioned version

Uneditioned version
The lasercut booklet illustrates the heroine's escape home across the forest at night, armed with a mysterious glowing skull.  It's an eerie tale that has not left my imagination since I read the tale as a child.

Two versions of this piece have just been finished: an unlimited edition fold-out concertina version that comes in a dark yellow dustjacket (seen above); and a limited edition version, which has clothbound hardcovers that fold over the booklet and turn the piece in to a cube (below).  The latter are in an edition of thirty.

This version represents a bit of a departure from the fold-out concertina books that I usually create, as this one folds itself up in to a self-supporting structure.  It took a lot of experimentation before getting the paper hinges just right, but I think it was worth it.  Below is a short video of this new lasercut version:

(if the embedded video below doesn't work on your browser then you can find it on YouTube at, or by searching for the title of the book)

Limited edition version
Editioned cube version, seen from above with spotlight
Both versions:
uneditioned copy on the left, and the limited edition 'cube' version on the right

More information on both copies can be found on my online shop at

Thanks for looking!  If you have any questions, comments or thoughts about any of the artwork then do feel free to get in touch with me via the shop link above or through the comments section below.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Work in progress: something wicked this way comes...

Here is some work in progress of a new laser-cut artists' book, which won't be finished for a little while yet. Perhaps some of you can already tell which story this is based on by the clues in this photograph...

Once the edits have been finished I'll begin making an edition, with copies available to purchase this Autumn.  

If you would like to be among the first to see new artwork from me (including the final images of this new piece), then do add your email address to my mailing list at

Thanks for reading!  

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Fighting the Monster: Frankenstein 2018 Book Art Exhibition

Close up of screen-printed and lasercut pages

Liverpool Book Art's third major exhibition of book art will open in May 2018 and will celebrate another significant literary anniversary: the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein.

I'm delighted to say that my proposal for this exhibition was successful and over the past few months I have designed and made a new book for it entitled Fighting the Monster.

I wanted to create a book which considered the way in which ‘monsters’ are created online. Our choice in what we like, what we dislike, what we share, what we publicly comment on builds up a larger picture of who we are to others online. It’s also something that is reflected straight back at us with the virtual voices and opinions we surround ourselves with. Online debate seems to create a virtual army of those For and those Against, where friends are removed and followers unfollowed if their opinions or beliefs are out of synch with our own. I believe that this is an area from where some of the most challenging monsters of our day can appear, monsters we didn’t think existed, who get up and walk away from their computer screen to attack someone in real life.

Fighting the Monster is now available to purchase through my online shop in the link above - £250 plus postage

Photos and a short video are below...

Thanks for looking!

Work in progress 

Short video of Fighting The Monster