Friday 11 December 2015

The Plague: etched in our history

Earlier this year I was commissioned by the National Library of Scotland to produce an etched print for their Winter 2015 exhibition, entitled 'Plague! A Cultural History of Contagious Diseases in Scotland'. It is an exhibition of historic cultural responses to epidemic diseases in Scotland, to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Great Plague.

The brief was to produce an illustration of Edinburgh's Old Town in the atmospheric, smokey style of etching that I'd done previously with 'The Resurrectionists'.  The illustration would then be made in to a large scale graphic for display in the opening section of the exhibition.

It was great to re-visit this style of printmaking again and also to return to illustrating Edinburgh's Old Town.  I was given artistic license with the buildings, as the main concern was that the cityscape looked cramped and atmospheric rather than historically accurate.

Preliminary sketches focused on the main characters and animals:

After the final image was approved came the task of transferring the image on to an A3 zinc plate and drawing on the image with an etching needle. The plate was then etched in an acid bath before prints were made -

print size - 42 by 29cm

A total of six prints have been made for the NLS for this commission, all of which are available to purchase online at  (For those of you in Edinburgh I will have a few with me at the Summerhall Christmas Market on Sunday 13th December.)  Each print is unique because the ink is applied differently to the plate each time.  Some of them look very smokey with the ink moving in swirls, while others look lighter and more subtle.

The exhibition opens at the National Library of Scotland on 11th December 2015 and runs until 29th May 2016. Visit for more information.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Available to buy now -

The new Christmas Cards from the previous post can now be purchased individually online at

Also available to buy is a specially put together pack of the twelve cards for £30.  Available only while stock lasts.

Pack of twelve

Tuesday 10 November 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas

This time last year I was caught out by the Big Event at the end of the year, so this time more preparation has happened and a collection of cards has been produced.  Each day of the Twelve Days of Christmas is turned in to a laser cut silhouette, beautifully framed in an embossed wreath.

A lot of the ones made have already gone to a few Edinburgh galleries.  If you're in Edinburgh and would like to purchase one or two, then do stop by the Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh Printmakers or The Red Door Gallery.

If not, I hope to have some available to buy online soon later this month - I will update this blog when that happens.

Edit: cards now available to buy online! Visit 

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Character studies

Another book art project is in the pipeline, which should be finished next year.  I've been working on this project slowly and gradually over a long time.  The main design is finally starting to take shape, so I thought that in the meantime I could now start to share some concept drawings for the main characters here:

Expect more updates on this project as we go in to 2016!

Friday 7 August 2015

The Six Swans - pt 2

Hooray! This side project is finally finished and copies are now available.  Here are some of the great new promo photos taken last weekend - 

The Six Swans is a laser-cut paper sculpture, made from a single sheet of folded black paper.  It's inspired by a Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name (and a story that scared me as a kid).  The fairy tale tells of the plight of six princes, who are turned in to swans by their wicked stepmother.  Their only hope for the curse being lifted is if their sister can produce six shirts for them sewn from nettles.  She must also keep a vow of silence for seven years, or else her brothers must remain swans forever.

This piece of work is a bit of a departure from the laser cut work that I usually do, but it was great to try out this idea.  I wanted to create more of a 3D effect with the cut-outs, so the action is less confined and can jump out of the folds, but still wanted to continue using only one single sheet of paper as the basis for the work.

The Six Swans are in an edition of fifty and are available to purchase online now at

Wednesday 5 August 2015

New greetings cards

A georgian hen night

In light of the surprise success of these cards, replacements have been ordered and will be available to purchase online soon.  The original Valentine's Day inspired illustrations have been given a bit of colour and another design has been added too - 

inside: '...costly and unmanageable.'

Tuesday 28 July 2015

City illustration for Techne

Above is my finished piece for the fourth edition of Techne for Pitville Press, which will be screenprinted later this summer.  I had a lot of fun with this image and it was a welcome break from the line drawing that I usually do!