Leopard Empress


I’ve been commissioned to do a lot of black and white illustrations recently. When this occurs, I often find myself creating a vibrant, colourful illustration on the side. It’s almost like a vent, letting some of my creativity escape the confines of the commission. Weirdly, I don’t find these pictures a distraction, rather they keep me on track. Ok, they take a little time efficiency away from the project I’ve been set, but if I didn’t have this outlet, I’d get frustrated with having to work continuously on one piece, or one set of images.

This particular image was created while working on a set of black and white illustrations for ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ published by Mother’s Milk Books. The leopard empress is inspired by neotraditional tattoo artistry and was an excellent image for practicing shading and colour blending, particularly in the leopard’s muzzle. I also added a little shading behind the leaves and leopard to help the design pop off the page 🙂

The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3


‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ collective view of illustrations. I was asked last year by Dr. Bellamy of Mother’s Milk Books whether I would like to create a series of illustrations for modern fairytales. Having been more engrossed with lengthy novels of science fiction and dark dystopian futures, I wasn’t sure that I could fully appreciate, let alone illustrate these short stories while still capturing their essence and morals all within a few inches of white paper. However, these individual tales captivated me from the moment I started reading and the imagery flowed through my mind like living beings. The final illustrations are barely any different to the first rough jottings I scribbled down – the stories knew who they were, what they wanted to be, and how they wanted to be portrayed. They really do have a life of their own. So when the chance came again this year to illustrate the third anthology of the series, I couldn’t wait to get started, and here’s the result :).

The characters in these tales can’t wait to meet you and I’m sure there are any more that want to share their stories. Visit the Mother’s Milk Books facebook page for news of upcoming events, new publications and updates on the independent press’ activities.

And of course, visit their website to delve into their literary works.

‘Girl on a Pied Horse’


As ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’ draws to a close we begin the final story and join the flight of a young girl and her horse. Racing desperately from the clawing darkness, searching restlessly for the first rays of dawn, we begin to wonder… Who is this child and why does her pursuer give chase with such ferocity? Is she a threat or might she just bring a whisper of promise to us all…?

‘Girl on a Pied Horse’ by Sarah Hindmarsh is the seventeeth and final story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website to support and learn more about this Nottingham-based independent publisher:

‘The Truth About Tea’


Tea. A gravitational force drawing confidants together to dispel worries and share wisdom. Five small minutes will brush away those ‘I’m fine’ and ‘everything’s ok’ defenses. The first sip will unravel the emotional knots. And a good friend will give you the strength to be honest and true to yourself. Tea and good company conquers all.

‘The Truth About Tea’ by Sarah Armstrong is the sixteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books.

‘The Salt Child’


Life. The winding path of enlightenment that we all must tread. A trail of discovery full of meetings and partings, self-discovery and a realisation of the world around us that will inevitably lead us to the place we call home. Rachel Rivett summarises this journey beautifully in ‘The Salt Child’ as a young salt girl endeavors to find her place in the world.

‘The Salt Child’ by Rachel Rivett is the fifteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other literary works.

‘Crossing the Victoria Line’


In the world of fairytales, not every character has their dream ending. ‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins, a beautifully-written modern re-imagining of ‘The Little Match Girl’, reveals how an impoverished young woman, abused by her father and mournful at the loss of her mother, is as familiar a story today as it has been for centuries past. And as most of society ignores the destitute, there are those that bring a tiny glimmer of kindness into their worlds.

‘Crossing the Victoria Line’ by Marie Gethins is the fourteenth story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, pub. by Mother’s Milk Books.

Bearskin and Bare-Skin


Have you ever wished you were something other than human? Wished to experience the soaring bliss of the eagle? The soft midnight hunt of the wolf? The gentle, ferocious power of the bear?

When infant Ursula gains unlikely foster-sister Bernarda, a brown bear-cub, the pair form a relationship closer and deeper than any human siblings could. A relationship that the villagers are unwilling to accept. As prejudice boils over into violence, the sisters’ world is torn apart, and they are separated in the chaos. Thus begins Ursula’s journey, to find her lost sister and discover her true self.

‘Bearskin and Bare-skin’ by Carys Crossen is the thirteenth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Nottingham-based independent press Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for more information, a copy of TFATF3 and a peruse of their other works.



Expectations of pregnancy and motherhood usually carry a rosy sheen in society. Upon receiving the news, one conjures up images of doting grandparents, a pastel nursery, newly-knitted bootees. The reality, however, is far more worrying, messy and uncertain. Inevitable questions arise – Am I ready to support another life? Will I make a good mother? Will I love my baby?… Will my baby love me? All concerning questions, the answers made all the more uncertain when a fairytale is thrown into the mix…

‘Spawned’ by Clair Wright, is the twelfth short story in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical 3’, published by Mother’s Milk Books. Visit their website for a browse of their literary repertoire.