Category Archives: Books

When Science met the Arts

Back in January I completed the illustrations for a wonderful new book by Professor Marcus du Sautoy who is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University which I posted about at the time.




Now the book is out, (and don’t you just love that cover!) it’s called “What We Cannot Know” and is a fascinating exploration of all those big questions that sometimes can and sometimes can’t be answered and I’m delighted to say that Professor du Sautoy came to Grantham, a town near me, during the Gravity Fields Festival ~ a week long celebration of all things science ~ inspired by Grantham’s famous scientific son, Isaac Newton.


After his lecture on the topics he covers in the book he did a book signing and we were really thrilled to meet him in person!




img_7988And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, we met Andrew Glester who is a director, producer, science communicator and all round generally very interesting guy who was there with his new collaborative show, (staged in a campervan!) and called The Apollo 11 Campervan. Here we are, outside his venue!


We didn’t get to catch the amazing show as every performance was already sold out but he did interview both me and Professor du Sautoy for his Cosmic Shed Podcast which explores “Science fact, science fiction, and everything inbetween” ~ previous interviewees have included Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise and Bennedict Cumberbatch, so I’m in pretty good company wouldn’t you say?!


You can listen by clicking here, it’s 50 minutes of really interesting conversations recorded with people during the festival (we’re towards the end!)


Marcus said some really lovely things about how he wanted hand drawn illustrations in his book to give it a very human, rather than clinical feel and how my drawings achieved exactly this for him.


What wonderful feedback from the man himself and a truly memorable day!


More paper adventures…

A little while back, in February to be precise, I packed my bags for a weekend of pure creativity up in the gorgeous Stockbridge area of Edinburgh, Scotland. I joined a lively group of like-minded paper lovers who had gathered to take part in Rachel Hazell’s (aka “The Travelling Bookbinder”) Paperlove alumni workshop.


This was open to those of us who had completed the online version of the course, which I’d done two years ago, and you can read my blog post about it here.


It soon transpired that we’d all come from places as diverse as Amsterdam, the USA and, the lucky ones who didn’t have travel far and lived around the corner! Over the course of the next two days we all bonded over bookbinding – swapping and sharing paper and materials we’d brought with us to create our very own books from scratch.


Along with making new friends and spending quality time with my great pal and fellow Kingston University Illustration Degree alumni, the amazing Ceri Amphlett, the part that stays with me most was the feeling of being able to be completely creative for creativity’s sake, which, let’s face it, in our busy lives, juggling work and family responsibilities, is a rare and beautiful thing indeed!


And as if that wasn’t enough, I have since completed a commission for The Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens as a direct result of connecting with one of my fellow workshop attendees…more details of which to follow in a future post! Here’s to getting messy and creative with paper, paint and glue!


Light Particles and Space Time

I have been really privileged to produce some of the illustrations for the new book by Professor Marcus du Sautoy who is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University.

My task was to re-create drawings and diagrams explaining various scientific phenomenon in a sketchy, yet clear way. How our brains can make us perceive things differently is such an interesting subject…have a look at the cube at the bottom there – does your brain tell you it’s receding or sticking out?


There are so many fascinating concepts explained in the book, it’ll be coming out later this year and Professor du Sautoy is going to be promoting it at Woolsthorpe Manor, (just down the road from me handily!) which was the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, and where he later made many important scientific advances – including his discoveries about gravity and light – when he returned here from London to escape the great plague that was rife in the capital at the time.

I can’t wait to take the opportunity to meet Professor du Sautoy in person and get myself a signed copy of the book…so I’ll be posting an update here as and when I do!

For the love of paper



This summer I spent 5 weeks indulging in a fabulous online course called PaperLove run by paper artist Rachel Hazell – “The Travelling Bookbinder” and Do What You Love.
I got so inspired by all things papery, learnt so much and had a fantastic time. After the course, I gave an interview to the team about my experience and a little of the history of my own paper passion – you can read it here.




Determined to spread the love, next week I will deliver a whole days worth of papery workshops to each class (from reception to year 6) at my local school.

They are taking part in the National Gallery’s “Take One Picture” scheme and will be looking at a painting called “Beach Scene” by Degas. So we will base our paper making craft around this and while the infants will make their very own seaside bunting, the older children will make unique “holiday journals” using found paper, like these I created on the course.

I can’t wait and hope the children will come away with a whole new perspective on that often overlooked, but absolutely essential thing that is PAPER!

Penguin India Birthday Catalogue

I was asked to create a front cover and double page spreads for the Penguin India 2012 catalogue on a celebratory theme.

The cover featured the Penguin Car which had been given a custom paint job and was driven around the streets to celebrate Penguin’s 25th anniversary.



Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare

For the first edition of Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare, I was asked to create a pen and ink drawing for the front cover, I also created an author portrait in the same vein.

I was then asked to contribute many more illustrations for The Illustrated Edition.


The History of Food

A small selection of the illustrations I was delighted to create for William Sitwell’s book “A History of Food in 100 Recipes”.



Tales of Friendship

Ruskin Bond is one of India’s best known and loved authors, particularly for children. Here’s a book jacket I designed and illustrated for his collection of short stories “Thick as Thieves” about friendship.




I also created the little chapter headers for each story inside.




Shots Magazine

A brilliant opportunity came my way when Shots magazine and I worked together over many issues to produce the booklet front covers for their comprehensive pull-out guides for location finders, directors and producers to different areas of the world.




The brief called for me to give a flavour of the particular locale, using hand lettering and just small icons.




I absolutely relished this challenge and translating the feel of each place into a graphic language was a pure delight each month!




Here is just a selection of what I produced during this long running project.



Gurcharan Das Covers

For this series the silhouette icons I illustrated feature subtle line work which echo the colour of the “ripped” element on each cover.