Pictish Beasts

I’ve been busy this evening researching Pictish symbols for the next picture book:



My favourite so far is the ‘beast’:


Is it a dolphin? An elephant? Some kind of spirit or mythological creature? Nobody knows, and obviously nobody ever really will for sure. This symbol appears on over 50 stones found throughout Pictland, making it the most common of the animal symbols – and yet experts say it bears no resemblance to any known animal.

I however, beg to differ with the experts:


Uncanny, right? More pictishness to come soon!


Sketches from the Far North

I’ve lived in Edinburgh for nearly nine years now (argh), but I grew up much further north in Caithness. It’s an eight hour journey by train so I don’t visit as often as I’d like, but I’ve just come back from a brief trip up there. We went to the Whaligoe steps:


365 steps carved out of a cliff face near Wick, which was used by women taking baskets of fish into town to sell. There’s a bird colony there, and we found this little guy on the edge of the cliff:


He’s a kittiwake chick – not as interesting as the whales everybody else seems to see there, but he’ll do. I never see whales, they hate me. I do see seals though:


I like watching them blobbing around on the rocks, blob blob blob.

Edinburgh is full of people crowding around for the festival, getting in the way and being generally infuriating, so it was nice to be somewhere with nobody around except the seals! Ugh, now I need to go into hibernation for the rest of this month and I might just get through it.




Sleeping dogs

I did these sketches of Daisy to test out an app I downloaded, Turboscan. I don’t really understand how it works, but it’s pretty good for ‘scanning’ black and white drawings if you only need them at a low resolution.

Daisy isn’t very elegant when she’s asleep!


This is what Daisy actually looks like, by the way:

The mop-like creature perched on the bush is Lewis, who isn’t my dog. He’s a six month old Lhasa Apso and a law unto himself – he’s also for inexplicable reasons the only other dog Daisy really gets on with. They’re an odd pair.


This is Daisy!

We just got her from a rescue centre yesterday, so we don’t know her all that well yet – but she seems like a pretty good dog. So far her favourite things appear to include sleeping, running very fast, sleeping more, staring vacantly into space, and sleeping. It’s a bit weird having her around! She’s lovely though and I’m sure we’ll get used to each other soon.