Mills Observatory at 80


In September of 2015 I was asked to design a large format wall graphic for the Mills Observatory’s 80th birthday celebrations.

Initially it seemed a fairly straight forward piece of graphic design to present a timeline of key moments from the Observatory’s life and beyond. Following a couple of conversations about what the wall and floor art could be the creative team were happy for me to submit more illustrative solutions to the problem.

It was a great piece to work on, 1) because I don’t often do illustration work these days, and 2) because I love anything to do with space and the planets. Large format work is always challenging but very exciting to see the final results.


Apart from a series of information panels the two main pieces were a seven meter long illustration of the Solar System which incorporated a the timeline of ‘Mills’ highlights and a ‘donut’ shaped floor graphic which wrapped around the base of the Mills centre piece – the Thomas Cooke & Sons’ 10 inch refractor telescope from 1871 – in the observatory space itself.

It was tight getting the artwork completed, printed and installed for the October 23rd deadline but I couldn’t be happier with the results. The graphics are only intended to last a year – hopefully they’ll say up a little longer. Meanwhile pay a visit to the Mills and see what you think :)

You can find out more about the Mills Observatory here.




Commitment of A Thousand Hands #1kHands #pcic4

“Would you be kind enough to put up your hand if you feel the human side of care is under unacceptable strain in today’s healthcare systems.” 

Hands Title Hashtag

This is the statement posed by  Dr David Reilly at NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s (HIS) Learning Session three, November 2013. Reilly goes on to say,  “I’ve nicknamed this for myself as “The Conversation of A Thousand Hands” because all of the hands are going up.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (27 + 28 May) I’ll be working at HIS Learning Session Four at Glasgow’s SSEC. My commission was to create an graphic illustration that captured the journey of the collaborative and the two day event, from speakers, attendees thoughts and responses.

Inspired by Reilly’s “Conversation…” I was keen to make the illustration about ‘action’ – my solution I call “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” (#1kHands). The hands I hope to document are not hands in the air signifying their discontent with a system but a show of hands intent on transforming the system.

hands pledge

In the words of HIS website, “The aim of the learning session is to provide support, encouragement and inspiration to make sure attendees have testing activity in all five areas of the “Must Do With Me” elements.”

“…support, encouragement and inspiration” are all very well at an event and without a doubt ideas will be formed and promises made. However, in the cold light of day, back at work, in isolation, our promises seem much more onerous and perhaps insignificant.

And so “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” aims to instil a vision in the attendee’s minds of many hands together – It references the idea of “aggregation of marginal gains” – that while small individual efforts may seem almost insignificant, when gathered together these commitments have the potential for significant transformational change.

So get involved – on the coloured paper provided draw around your hand and write your pledge/commitment on the palm of your paper hand. I’ll then take the hands, cut them out and create the collage of hands reaching upwards. You can post as many times as you like…


The Commitment of A Thousand Hands is about collaboration, diversity and the practicality of action, doing and work. Each hand is as unique as the commitment associated with it. As an individual you are not simply committed to a single piece of work on your own, but a collective work (with the support in spirit) of a thousand hands.

There will also be a postcard at the event (below). Again, write your pledge onto the a pre-printed hand and fill out the information on the back – please do both and feel free to use the same idea/pledge on both.

HQI Pledge Postcard

To illustrate the #1kHands process I have made a short film – please share it as widely as possible with those at the conference. Also look out for your contribution on Twitter using the hashtag #1kHands alongside #pcic4

Here you can watch Dr David Reilly from last November’s session. (This link will take you directly to the statement at 1:38)

Are you coming to #pcic4? What do you make of #1kHands ? Comments below please…

Use the stencil Luke

star wars pumpkins


It’s never easy, coming up with new and interesting things to do with your pumpkins!

So if you’re still wondering what to do what could be more appropriate than a touch of the ‘dark side’?

Download you Pumpkin stencils here – the file includes Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper, Boba/Jango Fett and Jabb the Hut.

Just be sure a share some images with me on Twitter and Instagram (@OnTheSuperfly) or on Facebook (www.facebook/onthesuperfly)



I hadn’t done much Photoshop work for a while having adopted Snapseed on my iPad and phone for most colour correction and editing. But I’ve been thinking about what my next ‘Fly‘ avatar might be and while running through town in the rain on Thursday I had an uncomfortably wet stop at a road crossing. That was it!

The Crossing

Below are a couple of the original pics and then the Instagram‘d versions of the final pieces. Time seems to be ever more precious so I haven’t spent a long time on these – I can see a few things that I’d like to fix but think of them in the ‘sketchbook’ category.

Hope you like them!



Creativity requires courage

SuperFly images

Ever have a great idea and someone pips you to the post?

I once pitched an idea to a web developer friend which got us both quite excited for a while. Soon after it became clear that the people we thought would benefit from this idea just weren’t ready for it! Three years later I discovered ‘Etsy’ for the first time and gave myself a bit of a kicking! Such is life for ‘the ideas man’!

I was involved in a project recently and and someone suggested we get a ‘thank you’ present for the organiser, although they were a bit concerned that we might upset the person who originated the idea (they had to pass on managing the project for personal reasons). My response was that there is a million miles between having an idea and actually seeing it through.

And “Here”, as the man said, “…endeth the lesson”.

Besides being creative you have to be courageous. Sometimes it financial. Sometimes it’s confidence. Either way, If you get pipped to the post then you’ve no one to blame but yourself.

So, my ‘Etsy’-ish idea passed me by, but I delivered elsewhere..!

SuperFly Flyer

This other idea I sat on for about five years before getting a wave of confidence in 2009. In the Dundee, where I worked, there was a legal fly-posting system managed by Street Advertising Services (SAS). I always saw fly-posting as ‘exhibition space’, and being averse to traditional gallery spaces I saw the need for an alternative.

I established SuperFly as a creative platform and exhibition for artists and designers of all disciplines, founded on two key criteria:

1.    No submission fees
2.    No traditional gallery spaces

Having gathered in over 150 submissions from almost 70 artists, 7 pieces were chosen, each having 5 posters across the City of Dundee. It was a success! Off the back of this show I collaborated with Glasgow creative collective ‘Central Station’ who were organising a pop-up event in Dundee. Consequently I curated an exhibition for them of five Dundee artists. The street poster sites were part exhibition, part advertising space for the event.

Back to 2013 and I have a sense of deja-vu!’
Art Everywhere’ is an initiative to put ‘classic’ artwork on billboard sites across the UK (read more on Creative Review’s blog here) . To be fair, this project is “Gone With The Wind” to my “Local Hero” but I wouldn’t hav it any other way. All involved contributed their time, print and space for free and all of the artists were pretty much unknown (My first show even had a ‘Burt Lancaster’ equivalent in Scotland’s Johanna Basford).

Painful TV appearance:

So SuperFly may not have had the ‘national’ impact of ‘Art Everywhere’ but I’m sure as far as some people are concerned it had the ‘personal’ impact. SuperFly kicked of a whole string of projects and collaborations, for me and it’s artists, that are continuing today; and if nothing else, I’m just relieved that I’m not sitting here writing about ‘another idea’ that I should have done something with! Creativity requires courage!

So, this time four years ago I was about to launch the inaugural SuperFly. Do you have any memories of SuperFly? If so please post them here. You’ll find out more about SuperFly here; and while nothing is planned for the future, we never say never!



Mock the Taskbar

Mock the TaskbarA new infographic inspired by a variety of slow PCs I’ve had to use over the last few years.

This is not scientific research!
It’s an easy hit and a bad pun (partly borrowed from Adam and Joe)… so, Windows users, please do not take it personally ;)