On the Cover of a Magazine – Who’s that Girl?

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Featured on the cover of this November’s Longshot Island literary magazine, is one of Jane’s most personal artworks, The Sideboard I.  An exciting new press, Longshot Island publishes contemporary fiction and non-fiction by talented writers from across the globe. When editor-in-chief D.S.White approached Jane to feature her artwork, she was delighted he wanted to include several Biro drawings from her series ‘Tales from the East’.

Jane McCracken [Colour Artwork]

‘The Sideboard II’ 2008 red Biro drawing

The Sideboard triptych portrays the anonymous memories of a small child at play within the safety of home, before the onset of war. The drawings were inspired by the little girl in the red coat from the film Schindler’s List 1993 Steven Spielberg, as she wanders through the Kraków Ghetto while it is being liquidated by the German Army during WWII. The triptych features Jane’s niece Jemma, and contemplates victims of conflict as individuals rather than statistics.


Since creating The Sideboard triptych in 2008 both Jemma (above) and her brother Jamie continue to feature in Jane’s work, alluding to the close family bond she shares with them. Jane was also delighted to receive photographs from Taiwan of the editor’s friends, including the next generation, enjoying the magazine.


Copies of this magical publication are available to order from Longshot Island Press

Huge thanks to the Longshot Island team, friends of the team and Jemma!


Iggy Pop’s Staff Taxi Passenger

Experimental TV photo montage inspired by staff taxi journey's, 2005

Experimental TV photo montage inspired by staff taxi journey’s, 2005

St Mark’s Church, Oval 3am 1990’s –

In pools of amber light the graveyard paving stones age worn and large were ideal for a wake up game of ‘lines and squares’.  Waiting for staff taxis by a slumbering Oval Station, the surrounding streets were often tumbleweed silent. Sirens from the Metropolitan Police Brixton Grand Prix would suddenly blow the silence out of the city. London Underground jacket sleepily off the shoulder in summer, zipped to the chin in winter, my uniform issue hold-all always tossed to the ground, its contents – emergency railway lamp, manuals, hi-vi and Sartre’s ‘Nausea’, in disarray.

Jack Straw, a near neighbour passed by now and again in a chauffeur driven government Jaguar, tailed by grim faced bodyguards, his bespectacled eyes focused on white papers.  Passing cogs in the wheel of night working.  The feelings of vulnerability ‘taxi waiting’ on ‘earlies’ and ‘lates’ never depleted. Those friend or foe senses proved right time and again when a stranger appeared in the ghost town and you knew they weren’t going to just walk on by. The rarity of being female train crew in the 1990’s came with its own target board.

When the Hackney Carriage charger arrived conversation usually followed, intriguing and diverse; London cab drivers are notorious fountains of knowledge. Sometimes other train and station staff were picked up at stations like Borough or Bank, adding to the vibrant exchange as the cab juddered north along the route of the Northern Line. But sometimes the journey was silent and London by night could be appreciated. Art has accompanied me 24/7 since my first memory. Those moments of solace were all too brief and swiftly disappeared in the blinding yellow lights of the depot station. Vision eventually focused upon the bleary, bloodhound eyes of the duty manager booking on train crews and profanely sending us on our way to the grimy depot and the retrieval our trains.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie, Berlin 1977

Iggy Pop and David Bowie, Berlin 1977

Memories of those journeys and moments of freedom impacted and were expressed through several photo montage experimental pieces in the mid 2000’s layering film stills and photographs from that era. This experimentation led to the layering of images I use in my artwork to date.

The ingenius Iggy Pop’s  ‘The Passenger’ was the soundtrack of those consoling moments.

‘The Passenger’, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, 1977 You Tube

And everything was made for you and me – the firefly glow of St Paul’s dome, the blanched trace of fluttering wings on the backs of pigeons flying off London Bridge, polka dot flashes of halogen, red, green and amber illuminating the blank faces of sporadic night people, a car pumping out Drum and Bass, the beats swept away along the heavy breath of Old Father Thames.  And all of it is yours and mine.

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014

'War + Peace', Selected Biro Drawings 2008 - 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken, Front Cover

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014 Limited Edition Hardback Book by Jane Lee McCracken, 2014, Cover

Published today, I am delighted to say that 50 limited edition copies of my new book are now available.  Here is some information about ‘War + Peace’ and a look inside!

” ‘War + Peace’, by multimedia Artist Jane Lee McCracken brings together a selection of her intricate Biro drawings. This beautifully produced hardback book replicates every detail of Jane’s black and colour Biro drawings from several bodies of work spanning 6 years, including, ‘Tales from the East’, ‘The Woodcutter’s Cottage’, ‘In Homage to the Last Carnivores of Eurasia’ and her recent artwork for conservation projects. Inspired by her passion for childhood memoirs, fairy tales, travel, forests and animals and her continuing exploration of the themes of ‘war’ and ‘loss’, multimedia artist Jane makes multiplex, layered drawings in colour or black Biro, using her drawings as inspiration to create objects and installations.  Taking photographs of films and documentaries, her muse lily, people, animals and found objects as the foundation of her work, she builds complex layers of drawn images in Biro as if film still projections, resulting in monotone or colour abstracted pieces with an ethereal, cinematic quality.  Her aim is to make art that represents the beauty and brutal reality of life thus creating “memorials of lives lived, both human and animal and ways of life lost”. Evoking consideration of loss whether through war or disaster, her work draws upon empathy for the emotional or physical scars experienced by humans, animals or the environment.”


Limited Edition of 50 Hardback Books

Signed and numbered in gold with personal dedication option included

Original Gold Tiger Drawing produced in each copy

To purchase or for further information:


 Here is a taster of what’s inside! 

'War + Peace', Selected Biro Drawings 2008 - 2014, by Jane Lee McCracken, 'American Dream' 2014

‘American Dream’, ‘War + Peace’ 2014


'Our Forefathers' & 'Mummy Bear and Baby Bear', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘Our Forefathers’ & ‘Mummy Bear and Baby Bear’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'Butterfly Lover', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘Butterfly Lover’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'The Cupboard' & 'Sindy and the Troika', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘The Cupboard’ & ‘Sindy and the Troika’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'TV Screen II - Where Wolves and Bears Dare', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘TV Screen II – Where Wolves and Bears Dare’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'Shh, it's a Tiger!', 'War + Peace', 2014, Back Cover

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014, Back Cover

Original Gold Tiger Drawing in each book.

Original Gold Tiger Drawing in each book.

‘The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology’ Published Today!

Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology by Jonathan W. Thurston, cover by Matt Cowan and Marshall Stevens

Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology by Jonathan W. Thurston, cover by Matt Cowan and Marshall Stevens

Today sees the publication of ‘Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology’ by Jonathan W. Thurston, who has brought together a magical volume dedicated to wolves, celebrated through beautiful wolf art, poetry and stories…

“Wolves have terrified and mystified us, their howls echoing through the words of our fairy tales, the texts of our stories, and the deepest crevices of our imaginations. Wolf Warriors presents a diverse collection of artwork, poetry, essays, and short stories, featuring bestselling author David Clement-Davies and award-winning artist Lauren Strohacker. This anthology captures the various faces of the wolf: from the fantastic to the horrific, from the snow-capped mountain peaks to the moonlit lake in the trees. The howls of these warriors will make you smile, make you cry, and, most of all, make you want to raise your own howl to join the chorus. Featuring best-selling author David Clement-Davies and award-winning artist Lauren Strohacker. Also including: Catherynne Valente, Adrian Lilly, Dominique Goodall, John Noland, Linda Palmer, Pierluigi Paviola, Shannon Barnsley, and more!”

I am delighted that ‘The Wolf’s House’, a multimedia installation piece I made in 2012 has been included in this very special wolfie anthology.  Proceeds from the sales of this book go directly to The National Wolfwatcher Coalition.

The anthology is available to order now from:

Amazon UK, Amazon US and coming to all good bookshops.

Enjoy being wolf heaven!



‘Wrapped in Rugby’ – a Scots Memoir of the Oval Ball Game

Douglas S. Bruce at the playing fields of Goldenacre, Edinburgh in 1959

Douglas S. Bruce at the playing fields of Goldenacre, Edinburgh in 1959

When my Uncle Douglas kindly asked if I would design the cover of his first book, a memoir of his life’s passion, the game of Rugby, it wasn’t long before I found the perfect image. During a visit to the beautiful Isle of Skye and chez Bruce, I discovered an old sepia photograph of my Uncle aged 10, oval ball under arm, standing on the playing fields of his Edinburgh school, anno 1959.  Catching sight of the Victorian ‘Red Pavilion’ in the background of the photograph, George Heriot’s cricket club, where the head groundsman and his wife who were friend’s of my father’s lived, pressed the play button in my head and played out a whirlwind of technicolour images of blue faced winged monkeys, beguiling ‘Ruby Slippers’ and dog ‘Toto’ accompanied by the rousing ‘Ride of the Valkyries’; memories of a Christmas visit when I was a child.  A peppering of pigeons flying through a dreich Edinburgh skyline echoed the garden scene through the Skye window, of woodpeckers and blackbirds fluttering around a creatively constructed firewood bird-table, under the shadows of the Red and Black Cuillins.  And the boy, that bonny blue-eyed, hoop shirted child who’s escapades my mother never ceased to amuse my sister and I with, grew into the wonderful uncle who stood beside me in 2012 making us toast.  Reading ‘Wrapped in Rugby’ informed missing generational times before I was born, because this is no ordinary sports book!

Back cover detail of 'Wrapped in Rugby'.

Back cover detail of ‘Wrapped in Rugby’.

I am a football and cricket girl, although would not normally choose to read sporting books of any sort, being most comfortable reading the likes of Roberto Bolano’s ‘2666’ or Maxim Gorky’s ‘My Childhood’.  But even the sections solely devoted to rugby are enlightening for us round ball game lovers, a converting education!  The recounting of a brutal rugby match in the 1960’s on a bleak hung-over Scottish New Year’s Day in the Borders town of Hawick, fought on a frozen pitch turn into literary hilarity,

“The playing surface was like concrete and worse, vehicles had been driven over the pitch when it was muddy.  The tyre impressions were now like a scattering of lumberjack’ hand saws.  It was a suicide mission for both teams if the game was to go ahead.  To go ahead it was (and) like the ANZACS at Gallipoli we did as we were bidden and prepared for suicide.’

There are so many beautiful turns of phrase, metaphors, so much `laugh out loud’ inherited Fife wit I needed a second copy of the book to annotate or the precious signed copy I was reading would have been graffitied all over!

Uncle Douglas and my beautiful late Auntie Rosemary, Wedding Day, 1973

Uncle Douglas and my beautiful late Auntie Rosemary’s Wedding Day, Edinburgh, 1971

Of course I am a wee bit biased, I’m reading a book by the best uncle in the world!  But I hope I’m fair also.   I found it an eloquently written social history of Edinburgh in the 50’s and 60’s, recounting hysterical life stories, stories I hadn’t heard before, relating tenderly and artfully moving tributes to the likes of my Grandfather, all whilst managing to successfully engage a sub-consciously reluctant niece to understand his enormous passion for rugby. Entwining a history of twentieth and early twenty-first century Scottish rugby throughout the book he reveals personal observations of the politically charged scrum from amateur to professional Scottish rugby. There are many people including my father who will remember fondly the game as it was and for them this book is a tribute to those selfless days when rugby was played for enjoyment, camaraderie and passion. For younger rugby loving generations this is a history of the game their forefathers played with carefree abandon, and unrestricted innocence. Also recorded are my uncle’s tireless efforts to bring rugby to smaller Scottish communities and their younger players as well as the Scottish community at large and it’s youngsters spurred by his passion for the game – it is an inspiration and revelation to me of someone I know well under different circumstances, giving back something they love to others. This is an epic memoir in my opinion, honest, affecting, beautifully written by a very humble, funny and passionate man, my uncle.

'Wrapped in Rugby', Douglas S. Bruce, 2013

‘Wrapped in Rugby’, Douglas S. Bruce, 2013

To order ‘Wrapped in Rugby’ please visit Amazon