Glen McBeth
Glen McBeth






2011 – IMAGES 35

Glen has been illustrating for over 20 years producing images for a wide range of clients. Most recently this includes the BBC, BBC Magazines, Oxford University Press and Wellcome Trust. He graduated from DJCA in Dundee in 1991 and currently works from his studio in East Lothian, Scotland

“I really enjoy doing a regular editorial slot as each week or each month a new challenge arrives to tackle. My winning entry was from a monthly column that I Illustrate for BBC History Magazine. It’s fun getting a new unusual story from history to illustrate every month.”

BRIEF: The Brief was to illustrate the tale of Sawney Bean. Sawney was a Scottish cannibal who holed up in a cave with his wife and 14 kids and attacked and ate passers by.

MATERIALS: I use a dip pen and ink and scan the ink drawing into Adobe Photoshop. A number of collaged textural layers were added and then coloured and toned to create the dark feeling of the interior of the cave.

RESISTANCES: At first I was slightly hesitant using the skull motif as I thought it might be a little cheesy but I’m glad I went with it as it became a striking image. I think creating the dark tones and making the image look very sinister helped. I love combining elements in an image. As an illustrator it’s great that you can take 2 or 3 aspects of any given text and combine them into one image.

DISTRACTIONS: Having deadlines is part and parcel of being an illustrator and usually I’m focused when the pressure’s on. My daughter, dog, house, garden, TV, internet etc do try their best to distract!

NUMBERS: 130. I’ve just checked my back files and realised I have done 130 illustrations for BBC History over 10 years. Jings! It’s great to have a regular client and build a relationship up over the years. I get to try new things with them because of the trust we have built over the years. They are keen to let me try new things as it gives variation to the column and my illustration style has developed massively due to them. Some of my best illustrations have come from this commission. I’ve recently completed a children’s book for OUP in which I used a new technique that I tried in BBC History.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m grateful to the AOI for giving me the award and the boost that it gave me. Over the years I was very chuffed when my images got selected for the Images awards.