Pen and Watercolour

Raven and The Whale:
An Inuit Story from Alaska

“In the centre of the whale’s belly, Raven saw a beautiful girl dancing. She had strings attached to her feet and hands stretching to the heart of the whale…

When she danced quickly the whale soared through the water. When she danced slowly the whale floated calmly. Soon, the girl danced so slowly that she stopped moving and her eyes closed. Raven felt a cool wind from the world blow through the spout of the whale. He thought again of taking the girl with him into the world. He felt human desire.”

© 2001 Laura Simms


Pen and watercolour
“We go out in the morning our spades in our hand,
And scrape up the coal where the tide meets the sand,
And fill our black sacks, in rows there they stand.

Sea Coal, Sea Coal, Hear the man call
Sea Coal, Sea Coal, Hear the man call”

© Graeme Miles

A new design inspired by the traditional song Blow The Wind Southerly for Magnetic North East; a project celebrating the identity of the North East of England through its music, arts, culture and heritage.

This is available to purchase as a gift card at

Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly,
Blow the wind south o’er the bonny blue sea;
Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly,
Blow bonnie breeze, my lover to me.

They told me last night there were ships in the offing,
And I hurried down to the deep rolling sea;
But my eye could not see it wherever might be it,
The barque that is bearing my lover to me.

Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly,
Blow bonnie breeze o’er the bonny blue sea;
Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly,
Blow bonnie breeze, and bring him to me.

Oh, is it not sweet to hear the breeze singing,
As lightly it comes o’er the deep rolling sea?
But sweeter and dearer by far when ’tis bringing,
The barque of my true love in safety to me.


Pencil, ink and watercolour


“At Ludgate Hill

Where the towers of smoke and mirrors bruise the sky

The pilgrims huddle in

As the tiny King of Birds begins to cry

The people start to sing

To light glory in the dark

To ring the bell

And to breath hope in every heart”


© 2012 Karine Polwart


The Lost Girl is a short film produced by Candle & Bell, written and directed by Laura Degnan, one of the North East’s most exciting directorial talents.

Candle and Bell approached me for some artwork for The Lost Girl film promotional poster.

You can watch the film and read more here

Pencil, pen and watercolour

Pen and watercolour


Inspired by Aesop’s fable.  The story is used as a warning against listening to flattery.

Pencil, pen and watercolour


Foxes are often depicted, in folklore and mythology, as cunning, cowardly creatures, symbolising trickery and deceit. I wanted to illustrate the vixen as a beautiful, nurturing mother.

Pen and watercolour


Inspired by the German fairytale collected by The Brother’s Grimm.

Pencil, charcoal and watercolour


“When angels fell, some fell on the land, some on the sea.
The former are the faeries and the latter were often said to be the seals.”

Anonymous Orcadian

Pen and watercolour


This illustration was inspired by the ancient poem about romance in the world of garden birds.



It was on a merry time,
When Jenny Wren was young,
So neatly as she danced,
And so sweetly as she sung–

Robin Redbreast lost his heart:
He was a gallant bird;
He doffed his hat to Jenny,
And thus to her he said.

“My dearest Jenny Wren,
If you will but be mine,
You shall dine on cherry pie,
And drink nice currant wine.

“I’ll dress you like a Goldfinch,
Or like a Peacock gay;
So if you’ll have me, Jenny,
Let us appoint the day.”

Pen and ink.

This is available as a silkscreen print at £30 unframed.


“For the morn will be their day, what will be their way
What will they make of their land, sea and sky
Man, I’ve seen awfu’ change but it still seems gie strange
Tae look at my world through a young laddie’s eyes”

© Matt Armour

Pen and ink.  This illustration is available as a silkscreen print at £30 unframed.


Inspired by the song writing of Harry Roberston and the singing of Nic Jones.


In ‘fifty-six I sailed on board a ship called ‘Byron I’,

She carried trawler men on deck, and a harpoon whaling gun.

Heigh-ho ye trawler men come on, forget the snapper and the prawn,

And it’s out of Ballina we’ll sail, a-fishing for the Humpback whale.

©Harry Robertson

Out of Ballina we’ll Sail was used as the promotional image for the exhibition Ardent Form, by Resonate Collective.  Click on the link below to read more and find out about upcoming projects and exhibitions.


Pen and Ink


Shoal is an illustration I made to be developed into a series of limited edition screen prints.  These prints were shown and sold during a collaborative exhibition entitled Ardent Form by Resonate Collective.


Resonate Collective are a cross-disciplinary collective, who come together in order to develop new works by aligning and overlapping boundaries between visual art and contemporary craft.  Please follow the link to read more and keep up to date with new projects and exhibitions.

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies makin a mane;
The tane unto the ither say,
“Whar sall we gang and dine the-day?”

“In ahint yon auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And nane do ken that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound an his lady fair.”

“His hound is tae the huntin gane,
His hawk tae fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady’s tain anither mate,
So we may mak oor dinner swate.”

“Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I’ll pike oot his bonny blue een;
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
We’ll theek oor nest whan it grows bare.”

“Mony a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken whar he is gane;
Oer his white banes, whan they are bare,
The wind shall blaw for evermair.”

Pen and ink.  This illustration is available as a silkscreen print at £30 unframed.


This illustration is inspired by the song The Trawlin’ Trade, which I first encountered listening to the music of the Scottish folk band Malinky.  The song was written by John Conolly of Grimsby and captured my fascination for songs of the sea.



North to the Faeroe Islands, south to the coast of Spain
West with the whaling fleet and up to the pole again
Over the world of water, seventeen seas we’ve strayed
Now to the north we’re sailin back to the trawlin’ trade


Come, ye bold sea-farin’ lads
There’s fortunes to be made
In the trawlin’ trade

Back to the midnight landings, back to the fish salt smell
Back to the frozen winds that bite like the teeth of hell
Back to the strangest game that ever a man has played
Haul the stormy rollers back to the trawlin’ trade

Doon wi yer nets and tackle, doon wi yer nets and gear
Wait for the winches winding, wait for the deckie’s cheer
Up wi the shining harvest, glittering silver spray
Down to the decks below to pay for the trawlin’ trade

Home wi the harvest wind and back to the Humber tide
Down to the water’s edge and jump to the waterside
Roll with a rolling bunch of fishermen newly paid
Down to dockside pubs to drink to the trawlin’ trade