I was on a road trip in the Hebrides with my family and as we followed the coastline on the Isle of Skye, I spotted a small seal colony. Jumping out of the car with a pair of binoculars, I made mental notes of the way the seals were resting along the shoreline, among the seaweed. Further along the coast, at the forest edge was Dunvegan castle – the oldest, continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. From our vantage point, it looked quite modest and very remote. I’ve since discovered that it’s an enormous and very grand building that we just happened to see sideways on.
Several months later, I started to make scruffy pencil sketches of this remembered landscape. I wanted to capture the sense of the atmosphere of such a wild and peaceful place, as well as the startlingly beautiful colour combinations. For further colour inspiration, I looked at skeins of hand-dyed woollen yarn and a scarf that I’d bought on the Isle of Mull. I hand-painted the muted tones and textures of the seals and printed the pebble textures using linocut. I then brought everything together digitally in Illustrator.
This illustration now takes the form of a greetings card, and happily, it’s finding homes across the UK, including the Scottish Isles.