2 April 2018

Story Time

In my job I do a lot of different things. I have lots of hats and I seem to be wearing them all in equal measure. And sometimes all at once. 

People should wear more hats.

This year so far, in addition to the drawing (more book covers, colouring books, activity books and even a wee picture book coming soon...) I have also been working with students of all ages helping them with their own illustration projects. And witnessing their extraordinary talent. Taking a time out from my studio and from the art college last month I hit the road with the wonder that is author Vivian French. We visited schools and libraries across Aberdeenshire in an epic 5-day stint of bookmaking and storytelling as part of Portsoy Book Festival. 

Our trip was inspiring, hilarious, and though-provoking. I came away feeling lucky to have met so many talented and enthusiastic young people and also full of ideas and inspiration as a result of seeing their artwork and hearing their stories. But these events also reminded me that when we are young we have a fearlessness in our approach to telling stories and making marks on paper that seems to diminish as we get older.

Next stop for me (after some much needed studio time) is more schools visits as part of Boswell Book Festival next month. I hope I can keep wearing all my hats, including the one that signifies we still have enough funding to ensure that creative activities are available to all children and in all schools. 

17 October 2017


To say I've been sporadic in my blogging habits would be putting it mildly (but it sounds better than other words like 'erratic' and 'negligent'). So when I decided to blog today I initially planned to start way back and post about my illustration activity over the past few months. Mainly the publication of my shiny new activity book - A Year of Celebrations: Gift Boxes to Make and Colour published by Nosy Crow.

Then I got distracted by a delivery...another book I made! This one was made in collaboration with the lovely writer Anna Brett and published by Arcturus

It's an activity book, and I'd forgotten how much we actually packed in until now. It will be in many bookshops and is also available to order online.

 I feel like these are both books that my 10 year old self would have coveted. Actually, my 31 year old self is quite chuffed with them. 

10 July 2017

We're Half Way There...

I'm making an image of a fairytale home (familiar and not-so-familiar) every day for 100 days. Today marks the half way point! So here are some images so far...

Check out the rest on my Instagram!

19 April 2017

Drawing Lines

This year got off to a very busy start and for some reason I have let my blogging habit slide. So here is a long overdue post which may go some way to explaining my silence. 

I made another colouring book! 
(Actually, I've now made 5 colouring/activity books and contributed to 4 others, but I can't talk about them all yet...)

For now I give you The Colouring Book of Edinburgh, the second in my series of colouring books published by BirlinnI had to whittle it down to 23 locations, so there are some notable absences but the book features most of my favourite places in my favourite city in the world. You can buy it online or in Waterstones, Blackwells and many independent shops.

I'm just finishing up the third and final book, and feeling quite sad at the prospect of the project being over. There's a lot of love in the little lines. Luckily I have some new commissions on the go and will be running some fun workshops over the next few months. I'm also finding time to get started on some personal projects. I'm off to the Botanic Gardens with my sketchbook and a coffee. It's research, ok?!

21 September 2016

Picturebook Perfect

I'm taking some time this evening to look through some of my favourite picture books. Today I have selected some of the older books from my collection. The bold colours, geometric shapes and beautiful textures to be found in the illustrations in these books has hugely influenced my work and continues to inspire me in the images I create. Here are some of my all time favourites...

The Animal Fair, by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1962

Alphabet, by Alain Gree, (2012 publication of 1960s artwork)

The Illiad and The Odyssey, by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1956

5 September 2016

Summer Scribbles

So, illustrating colouring books has featured heavily in my recent activities - but I've also been busy with workshops, book covers, residencies and other doodling shenanigans.

Back in May, before the festival descended (and also just before I became a married lady) I escaped to the West of Scotland for a wonderful week combining a drawing residency at Dumfries House with creative workshops at primary schools in the surrounding area. During these workshops I was sidekick to the incredible Vivian French (author and all round wonder woman). We visiting three local schools, where we worked with pupils to make murals and write stories inspired by Beatrix Potter stories, and incorporating a 'Four Elements' theme. 

The results were on display at the amazing Boswell Book Festival's 'Bozzy Book Bang'. The residency part of my time here was in connection to the Royal Drawing School and allowed me the time, resources and inspiration to create a series of drawings and prints in response to the beautiful Dumfries House.

The two months following my Dumfries adventure whizzed by in a whirlwind of exciting new work projects, a pretty white dress, a fluffy new puppy and a (far too short) backpacking adventure. Before I knew it August had arrived along with Edinburgh's various festivals. 

This year I held an event titled:   'Tea, Cake and Colouring In' at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016. Those three ingredients make for a pretty good afternoon in my opinion, but throw in a very eager and talented audience and some giant colouring in images we had ourselves a really fantastic event.

So, what's next? According to my diary (without which I would not have a clue where to begin answering that question) it is now September and I will be returning shortly to Edinburgh College of Art to work with the Illustration students. I also have a some new colouring book titles to be announcing and promoting soon as well as one or two other exciting illustration projects to keep me busy. Best get started!

11 July 2016

The Colouring Book of Scotland

I've been out of the blogging way for a while now...my time seemed to get swallowed up with working on lovely things I should have then been blogging about. But no excuses! It is hard to know where to begin filling in the 6 month gap, but I'll start with one of the most exciting projects I was lucky enough to work on.

Following my Art Adventure book I was asked by publishing house Birlinn to create a Scotland themed colouring book suitable for all ages. Voila - I give you: The Colouring Book of Scotland

I chose to depict a number of landmarks, landscapes and buildings from across the country with a map detailing the route that would take you to each of the 23 places. 




I'm feeling very pleased with the end result and also very lucky to be creating images that people are able to enjoy and add to themselves. I like the idea that people familiar with Scotland will recognise places special to them, as well as first time visitors being able to discover these places anew - and spend time chilling out and colouring in.
The Colouring Book of Scotland is available to buy online, in numerous Waterstones stores and in many lovely independent shops.