Wild Inks & Paints: A Seasonal Palette

An art handbook exploring foraged plants & other gifts from nature. For professional artists as well as hobbyists and families.

Available in print (EU folks: head here) or as an e-book.
Reviews on Goodreads

Drawing on historical techniques for illumination and calligraphy from East and West, this handbook introduces you to the wonder of transforming natural matter into fully developed art supplies. Learn the basic chemistry behind colours and prepare inks, lakes, paints, pastes, binders, media and drawing tools from plants and materials foraged as the seasons turn, or already present in your kitchen cupboard.

The 134 pages are abundantly illustrated and tightly packed with recipes, techniques, and tips based on my personal testing of every one of them. The format is A5 and wire-bound to be totally practical to use in the studio or kitchen.

In my previous volume, I examined the art technology of a specific culture, which sought out the best materials and most precious pigments to the ends of the known world. This volume examines the other side of the spectrum: art technology relying almost entirely on what is locally available, requiring a renewed knowledge of our local area and its seasonality. Whether you’re an artist wanting to have a hand in the materials you use along traditional lines, or a hobbyist looking for to reconnect your creativity with nature (and involve your kids), you’ll find both inspiration and all the information you need.


PART 1: BASICS — Definitions, Binders (gum, egg, starch, milk), Assists & Modifiers (alkalis & acids including recipes to prepare your own, metal salts)

PART 2: PLANT COLOURS — Foraging ethics, Finding & storing, Plant colour chemistry, Dye extraction, Preservation (including making lakes and clothlets), The Colour year (50 plants, where to find them, what colours they yield and how best to work with them)

PART 3: PIGMENTS — Carbon blacks, Earth Colours, Calcite whites.

PART 4: MEDIA & TOOLS — Watercolour, Gouache, Impasto, Pastel and more; Curing and cutting Bamboo/reed pens and Quills

PART 5: PAPER — Priming, Dyeing, Sizing (various recipes), Ageing, and more.

APPENDICES — Cleaners, Testing methodology


Inks & Paints of the Middle East

A handbook of materials and art technology used in early Islamic manuscripts, for artists and art lovers alike.

Available in print (EU folks: head here) or as an e-book.
Reviews on Goodreads

Published in 2020, Inks & Paints is a concise and approachable, but thoroughly practical manual examining the main materials used in manuscripts during the Abbasid period, also known as the Golden Age of the Islamic world. It is based on Arabic inkmaking treatises of the time, most of them never translated nor even properly transcribed, backed by my own experience as a working artist focused on historical materials.

The book’s 126 pages are abundantly illustrated and tightly packed with practical information on materials ranging from colours to binders and solvents use, preparation and preservation methods, and much more, plus a large number of historical recipes. I personally prepared and tested all but a small handful of the recipes before including them. The format is designed for practicality: A5-sized and wirebound, it can open flat on any page and be propped up so you can follow instructions without hassle.

Whether you have a general interest in art history or want to prepare and use these materials, this book has you covered.

What readers are saying about it: