Painting my Narrowboat: 2) A whale

I added the first whale to the design today in the late sunshine ☀️

I love whales, they’re such peaceful sentinel creatures 🐋🐳 Follow the journey with my hashtag #illustrateArcticRose 🦄 👌🏽 ☺️


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Neil Gaiman retweeted me!

I went to see Neil Gaiman talking about his new book Nose Mythologies at the Southbank centre. He was a wonderful speaker and it was amazing to listen to him read a story from his book aloud.

I got to the Southbank about an hour early, so sat in their cafe and thought I’d draw a picture of Neil. I really like his face and thought he’d make a lovely character study.

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My Pussy Riot poster is a ‘third party intellectual property infringment’

So I woke up this morning to find that my Pussy Riot print in my Society 6 shop has been taken down from my Society 6 account has infringed a third party’s intellectual property. This is highly interesting, as it would go against all that Pussy Riot believe in. I first drew the poster and offered it for free around the internet for it to be used during Pussy riot’s imprisonment in 2012. I now have it in my shop as a print. You can read the email from Society 6 below:

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof analysis

I’m currently working on my series of Tennessee Williams alternative book covers. As I was plotting out the imagery for the cover of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, I’ve ended up putting Paul Newman, my favourite and a classic Brick, front and centre. As I sat there looking at my scanned drawing it occurred to me that normally it’s Elizabeth Taylor, or Maggie, that’s front stage on the book cover. (I’d argue that this is partly because she’s a woman, and her partly dressed body sells theatre & film tickets, and books.)  Also, we assume Maggie is the cat- she herself says she feels like a cat on a hot tin roof, and her victory is staying on as long as she can. Continue reading


I’m a natural sketcher and I work best fast and loose. I always feel like I lose the feeling of the piece if I trace a neater version.

Although I get a real buzz from polished finished pieces, I often feel prouder of my loose pencil scribbles.

I’ll upload what I’m currently working on in here, along with older work from the archives.


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Fabric & Pattern design

Here are a selection of original patterns I’ve created. Quite often, they start as original artwork or sketching, that I then convert into a pattern.

Many of these are available as fabrics at my spoonflower store. I also use the fabrics in my own textile products.

‘Make Hirstory’ Time Travellers Series (digital Illustration)

I designed these characters to go with my ‘Make Hirstory’ scarf collection. The collection was based around the idea of time travelling and making your own history.

The characters all identify as genderqueer; some are crossdressers, some vary their gender presentation, some identify as both or neither genders and present as either/or/neither gender. I couldn’t hope to represent everyone or focus in on a particular group; so I focussed on dreaming up individual personalities who are celebrating their gender according to what they feel is right for themselves.

Gender is personal and unique to each person, whether it be being a tomboy who prefers to wear boy’s clothes in the 1700’s, a man who likes his gender presentation but adores wearing female shoes.

There are no blueprints, just people.


‘Birds’ Illustrated Series (Copic marker on paper)

‘Birds’- Original Series (FRAMED)

I created this series to celebrate male femininity. I feel that there is nothing shameful about crossdressing. I feel that everyone has a right to be and project whatever makes them feel beautiful.

I believe that femininity isn’t gender exclusive, and a man can express femininity and be ornate, while still being a man. Expressing femine aspects does not de-masculinise men, and shouldn’t be seen as a threat.

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Trystan (Character Design)

Trystan is a character I’ve had for 10 years and I obsessively draw. I doubt I will ever perfect his design, and to be honest, I really enjoy developing him, and dressing him and styling him in whatever art styles or fashions I’m into at the time.

Trystan is the protagonist of my gay sci-fi novel, How to Keep Good Time with Rare Cogs and Orphan Springs.





Piper is a character from an upcoming novel by author Nicole Fleming. Much of the design was  dictated by Nicole’s descriptions within the text, then rendered by me into an illustration.

Piper is a mermaid without the traditional fins you normally see. I wanted to show her at home in the water, and wearing jewellery that suggested her heritage.

The character and her likeness is copyrighted to Nicole Fleming.

Kensal Green Cemetery Mugs

I recently designed some bone china mugs to raise funds to help start the restoration process of the Anglican Chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
This is an official quote by the Friends Of Kensal Green;

“These special edition bone china mugs will shortly go on sale through The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. The mugs are being sold to raise funds to help start the restoration process of the Anglican Chapel at the centre of the cemetery. The chapel needs approximately £3 million pounds spent on it to restore it to its former glory. These special mugs will be sold for a minium of £5 each, and we hope people will offer us more than that for each of them that they buy. There will also be a postage and packaging charge for those mugs sent out by mail.

More details of their availability, and how to purchase them will follow shortly. For more information on the Anglican Chapel Appeal visit”

You can also visit their facebook group- We love Kensal Green Cemetery.

The Great Gala Darling

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

I’ve been reading a lot of controversy surrounding Gala Darling of late. Personally, I love her attitude on life and her fashion blogging. I love reading her blog and I’m excited whenever there’s an update. She has similar beliefs to me, and I love that she champions magic making and manifesting. I feel that she’s really doing what she was meant to do, and with some people, it really shows that they’re on the right life path and I find it very inspiring. Ellie Goulding is another person that I feel that way about recently. You can tell that she’s doing what she loves and she radiates happiness. It’s a little hard to explain what I mean, but I feel that people who are on their right life path just radiate it, and I think it’s really important for those people to put their work out into the world.

Unfortunately, with anyone like that, you get controversy, or people trying to tear them down. Gala, in particular, reminds me of the Great Gatsby. There’s a few scenes in the Great Gatsby at his large parties that he throws, where people are suspicious of him, even though he treats everyone well and just tries to be the best that he can be;

“It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too–didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?'”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald,
The Great Gatsby, Ch. 3

I feel that Gala’s haters are like these party guests. The thing is, Gatsby is wonderful. He replaces a woman’s torn dress at one of his parties, and is gossiped about maliciously in return. He lets people assume he’s an Oxford man, but really, he went to Oggsford. It’s not that it’s any crime that he went to Oggsford, or that he lets people assume it was Oxford. In the grand scheme of who he is, and what he then does with his life, that counts. He is good to people, and he is inspiring;

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 3

Gala inspires us because she does believe in herself, like we would like to believe in ourselves. Her ‘self-love’ has been called narcissistic, but I expect it’s by people that don’t love themselves half as much. She does a damn good job of encouraging her readers to love and respect themselves, and I can’t see anything wrong with that.

Gatsy, like Gala, is a self made man, and the book details a schedule he devised as a teenager to better himself, including reading and exercising to improve himself daily. This reminds me of Gala’s lists and plans for self improvement. I admire anyone that gets off their whining ass and actually makes things happen!

“His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people–his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God… and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 6

It is later revealed in the novel that Gatsby, as well as stretching the truth about aspects of his life and changing his name, might have gotten to where he is through illicit means. Did I mention already that he did this all for love? He may have shed some half truths along the way, and may have had a criminal past, but he never deserved the pain he was handed in the book. People who knew Gatsby were determined to take him apart, bit by bit to see how he worked and what he was made of, instead of just appreciating who he was, and the spirit, determination and love that held me high.

So Gatsby and Gala changed their names, and reworked themselves into the kind of people they wanted to be. I can’t fault that. If your intentions are good, and you care for others, then I believe you can be excused an awful lot. You may call me naive, but I’m seeing the bigger picture, with proportions that I believe fit. I’m inspired by the spirit and hard work of both Gala and Gatsby, and I empathize with their quests.

“He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 8

“And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out Daisy’s light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 9

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 9

“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams–not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 5

Trust fund or not, honesty or not, or what ‘foul dust floated in the wake of (her) dreams’ – I really don’t think it matters. Sometimes I wonder what became of Amy, in the same way that I wonder rather personally what became of Susan. Perhaps it’s an evolution. Oxford, Oggsford. Striving to be the best that you can be, and helping others is what matters. Believe in your own green light, whatever that may be, and don’t stop striving for it.