‘Se equivocó la paloma’


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Ink on Strathmore Bristol, vellum surface, 79mm diameter

‘Se equivocó la paloma,
se equivocaba…’

 This was inspired by a song by Carlos Guastavino, which in turn is a setting of the poem, The Dove, by Rafael Alberti, to music. I particularly like this choral performance of it. The drawing isn’t meant to illustrate the poem/song as such, but was more a reflection of my own thoughts which took the opening lines and refrain as inspiration.

Pudgy Unicorn


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Pudgy Horse assumes unicorn guise and contemplates the tragicomedy of the Human World. Blue pencil on hot pressed watercolour paper, 150 x 150mm.

One of a few recent drawings I didn’t quite get a chance to post. I’ll try to intersperse them along with work from The Nutcracker in the coming weeks. This drawing has now found a new home with the brilliant and much-beloved illustrator, Cory Godbey, who shared a picture of it on his Instagram.


You’l notice that my signature appears in the bottom left corner of the original but not in the scan. That was simply because I’d forgotten to sign it prior to scanning, then promptly forgot to re-scan the piece again before posting it off to Cory.

Pudgy Unicorn is available as a print from my Redbubble store.

Blue jasperware bauble


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Last winter, whilst working on The Nutcracker, I shared this little detail on a few social media platforms and said how much I’d love such a blue jasperware bauble as the one I was painting.

Today, I discovered that of course Wedgwood actually do produce such things. It seems perfectly obvious now, but for whatever reason, it didn’t occur to me then. Doh!


At £25 per bauble, I’m not yet in any position to afford one. But perhaps someday.

Incidentally, Wedgwood blue is one of my favourite blues ever.

A little flurry of updates


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For aught that the five persons reading this blog might be interested. ;)

I moved house back in May, which in large part explains the lack of recent updates. I have more space in which to work, to breathe, to move around, to reach for and find things. No more leaking roofs and subjecting my books, materials and things to water damage. No draughts, cold and mould. I won’t list them all, but the new home is, in short, so much better in scores of ways.

I had a small spot in the October 2015 issue of ImagineFX magazine in a feature about artists who work monochromatically.


I must admit that I’m a little disappointed with the reproduction of the images. Because I work intricately at a small scale and the subjects within the images themselves are small, having them greatly reduced means that one can’t see very much at all. Oh, well.

The Nutcracker, published by Walker Books, is now out! I was signing some 200-odd copies at the offices of Walker Books back in September. As I understand it, these copies are going to a number of independent booksellers in London. I will be sharing a few things from this book from now up to Christmas.



Also available now is a mini version of Jingle Bells, first published last year. A follow-up to the happy reception of the mini edition of Night Before Christmas.


Finally, for now: I’ve recently finished work on a small collection of four Grimm tales retold by Joanna Davidson, to be published by Oxford University Press. Strangely, I got to draw rather many curtains for this book. They were necessary elements at key moments in at least two of the tales, and for the rest, they simply had to be there by virtue of such things as bed and room furnishings. For me, they also make good compositional devices in interior scenes, much as trees do for outdoor ones. I didn’t get to draw many trees (disappointingly); but many curtains.


Butterfly cut


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Yesterday was my grandmother’s birthday. She was born in 1914 — the year of the start of the first World War, and would have been 101 were she still with us. Today is Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. It is also the last day of the traditional Thai New Year celebrations (Songkran).


None of these things have anything to do with the butterfly papercut, but there we are. Though let us regard the piece as a New Year greeting, shall we? ;) Happy New Year!


Quatrain LXX


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lllustration to Quatrain 70 for the 150th anniversary edition of Edward FitzGerald’s translation of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, published by The Folio Society, in a limited edition of 1,000 copies, 2011. Watercolour and gouache on Arches cold pressed watercolour paper, 280 x 200mm.

Quatrain LXX

Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore – but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

Happy Vernal Equinox! I’m off to Paris tomorrow for three days with a few friends to welcome the spring!

Quatrain VII


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Illustration to Quatrain VII, sesquicentenary edition of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, published by The Folio Society, 2011. Watercolour and gouache on Arches hot pressed, 240 x 135mm.

Quatrain VII

Come fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentence fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly – and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

I’m having a slightly stressful and fretful period. Among other things, I’m packing in preparation for moving, going through my horrendous mountains of things little by little. Like everyone else in the northern hemisphere, I am longing for spring and a fresh new beginning.

As with the illustration to quatrain IX, I also drew from Persian mythology for this; this time choosing the Huma bird as the subject. It is a creature of fortune who bestows kingship and flies without ever coming to rest. In some variations of its legends, it is said, like the phoenix, to consume itself in flames and rise again. I felt that it might serve for the metaphorical ‘Bird of Time’ of the quatrain.

The Wise Maiden and the Seven Robbers


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‘She boiled water and poured it into the barrels, thus scalding the six robbers to death.’ Illustration for The Wise Maiden and the Seven Robbers, from Myths and Legends of Russia, collected by Aleksandr Afanas’ev and translated by Norbert Guterman; published by The Folio Society, 2009. Ink and gouache on Arches hot pressed.

In honour of International Women’s Day.

Do you notice how frequently a woman’s quick wit and resourcefulness triumphs in folk and fairy tales? Like Morgiana, the wise maiden in this Russian variant of the Ali Baba story from the Thousand and One Nights saves her household from the clutches of murderous thieves.


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