Celebrating the Old Year.

I celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends a few days ago. It’s a time when we look forward to better things, the return of the sun and some gentle warming of the chill. But I think, perhaps, it’s important to celebrate the year we are leaving too, however difficult it has been for so many,…

Solstice wishes.

Amidst the Christmas chaos and with blizzards of dark piling up ominously on the horizon, I thought I’d send you a kind and quiet seasonal greeting. I’m writing on a clear, cold blue December day – the kind of day that will gently lower itself into indigo with nightfall. Light the candles. Light the fire….

Mapping Chester, a City of Stories.

A few weeks from Christmas a new dawn rises on the sleeping city of Chester and a wintery fog creeps up from the river to explore the Rows, famed for their black and white timbered buildings and tiered pathways. No-one appears to be about yet but this is the time of day, when, if you…

Mapping a Civil(ised) Society.

A while ago I was asked to contribute something to the Rethinking Civil Society project run by the University of York in collaboration with the University of Gottingen. Rethinking Civil Society is a four year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust which aims to forge a greater understanding of the contemporary meaning of ‘civilisation’. It’s…

Secret Wartime Britain.

I think I might be a pacifist. I’m never keen on the glorification of war. There are very few winners in reality, whatever history tells you, and so often, particularly in my home country, war stories are told with an uncomfortable smack of jingoism. A recent commission was for ‘Secret Britain’, a now best-selling book…

Halloween Owls and the National Museum of American Illustration.

(Please note – this post has been edited since its publication to adjust for the location of the exhibition) I’ve been feeling it in the air. Was it the spirit-moan I heard, hovering between the moon and the wind? Or the sweet smell of old bones mixed with the scent of earth and mushrooms, caught…

Grinning Skulls: Life, Death and Beer.

I was recently asked to create the illustration for a beer label commissioned by Salem Brew Company . The label of their new IPA, Skull and Hammers, shows a grinning skull in top hat laid over crossed hammers behind it. As Halloween draws closer and dancing skeletons are limbering up, this got me thinking how…

Workshop Alert: Mapping an Ideal World.

My ideal world is fairly simple. There just needs to be some easy access to cheese. And possibly also have dodos and flying jaguars but they’re only an option really…. I guess you know what your own ideal world looks like and it’s probably different to mine. For my latest workshop on 2nd October, commissioned…

Thanks For Every Little Thing.

There’s a lot to be thankful for if you are reading this. You are alive. You are surviving.It’s been an undoubtedly difficult time for many people and for many different reasons. If you are at all disadvantaged in some way (either through your age, your general health, your ethnicity, job security, relationship security, financial situation…

How to Wrap a Pop-up Bar in Maps.

A quick post this – I’m back from a holiday and haven’t had much time to write something longer. We were exploring the flatlands of Cambridgeshire, far from the sea and the city, searching for Roman roads and Iron Age burial mounds in the rain, getting lost in the pleasures of an OS map and…