Thursday, 3 June 2021

If printmaking papers were fictional characters...

...what would they look like? 
  A non-printmaker friend thought that the name Fabriano Rosaspina Bianco sounded more like a fictional character than a type of printmaking paper and so there was only one sensible thing to do after this conversation.  I went on to create a small cast of characters based on the names of some well-known papers found in many printrooms.  This was a fun exercise in using Photoshop a little bit more and also in hurrying on the time until we can properly return to the print studios! 

The Fabriano Rosaspinas
These papers handle all kinds of inks beautifully. They make a great impression, but can split under too much pressure

The indestructible new kid. Plike is strong stuff and can handle screenprinting, lasercutting, folding, spilt liquids and (miraculously) does not tear too easily. Just what is this paper made of?

Handles detail beautifully...
Somerset Silk, Satin and Velvet
These papers are a mystery to me, mainly because I hardly use them...


 She brings out the colour and the clarity in your aquatinted intaglio prints like no other paper can. Just what is her secret?


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

New video of Nylmah

I created the short video below of my artists' book Nylmah after making the Lockdown Home Show in March this year.  Nylmah is the first artists' book whose story I devised myself, so its tale and themes feel quite special to me.

Below is the video and I hope you enjoy!  Comments or any feedback always welcome.

Youtube link -

Friday, 26 March 2021

Lockdown Home Show

After a difficult year of events being cancelled and places being closed, I decided to create a temporary exhibition space at home and share it online.

Seeing as there won't be any galleries open or art fairs happening for a long time yet, I thought that making and sharing something like this would be the next best thing and would make for an interesting alternative.

Much of the work will be familiar to those of you who've been following my work for a while, but there are a couple of unseen works in progress too!

The final result was a 10 minute video and can be accessed below and at


I hope you enjoy the short video! 

Any comments or feedback in general is welcome.


Friday, 24 April 2020

RSA Annual Exhibition 2020

Fighting the Monster (above) was accepted for inclusion in this year's Annual Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, which I was delighted to learn about.  However due to the current global pandemic, the exhibition has been moved online and will run until the end May 2020.

It's a pity not to be able to visit the exhibition space itself and see everyone's work on display, so for now we all view the artwork from the comfort (and safety) of our own sofas.

Visit the RSA Annual Exhibition website

Review in Scotsman can be found here at

Monday, 2 March 2020

The Fruitmarket Gallery Presents: Artists' BookMarket 2020

 New location:
Custom Lane, 1 Customs Wharf, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6AL 

Next weekend, Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery will hold this year's Artists' BookMarket for another two days of workshops, talks and the opportunity to see and buy work from exhibiting artists.

This year the fair will move location to Custom Lane in Leith, while the Fruitmarket Gallery itself undergoes refurbishment.  The fair will be open from 10 til 5pm both days, with free entry.

I will be exhibiting with much of the work pictured above, alongside nineteen other participants - for the full list of this year's stallholders visit  There is also a dedicated Facebook page for the event at

Hopefully see some of you there next weekend!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Sheffield Artists Book Fair 2019

Sheffield Artists Book Fair 2019

The Sheffield International Artist Book Prize will be hosting Sheffield's inaugural Artists Book Fair on Saturday 5th October 2019.  The fair will be held in conjunction with Off the Shelf Festival and will be followed by an Open Forum / Discussion to discuss the setting up of an Artist's Book Centre in Sheffield.

The Fair will be part of a wider programme of exhibitions, workshops and events centred around the Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize Collection, now numbering over 800 books.

I'll be one of over seventy artists taking part on the day - hopefully see some of you there!

More details on the fair can be found at 

Book art exhibition on at Sheffield central library (on display until 28th September 2019)

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