NEW – Greetings Cards


New greetings card range by Jane Lee McCracken – four designs depicting original Biro drawings.

This spring sees the launch of Jane’s new greetings card range featuring a selection of her most iconic Biro drawings to date.  Printed in the UK, these high quality 15 x 21cm cards capture the intricate detail of each poignant drawing.


Greetings Cards Photos

Greetings cards range depicting ‘Russian Doll’, ‘The Sideboards II’, ‘Sweet’ and ‘Our Forefathers’.

In stock at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s premier design store Whosit & Whatsit, Jane’s cards are now available to purchase from her online shop.

Sets of 4 cards are individually wrapped with envelopes and priced at £10 including postage and packaging per set.



To purchase cards sets please visit www.janeleemccracken/shop



‘The Sideboard II’ Greetings Card


For further details please contact


Logo Sweet sticker 4 - Version 2



‘War + Peace’ Book Update

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

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken, Front Cover

This October book No.1/50 of ‘War + Peace’ was auctioned at the Savoy, London and raised £400 for Save Wild Tigers, an organisation dedicated to saving the last 3,200 wild tigers.

There is still time to order a copy before Christmas!  ‘War + Peace’ is a limited edition publication of 50 books worldwide, signed and numbered with an original gold tiger drawing made on the back page of each copy.

Here are some page images of ‘War + Peace’:

War plus Peace Page 6 and 7

‘War + Peace’, ‘Kaboom! Where did all the Animals Go?’, 2010 ”TV Screen III – Where East Meets West, Forests’ Memories’, 2010


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

‘War + Peace’, ‘TV Screen II – Where Wolves and Bears Dare’, 2011

War plus Peace Page 18 and 19

‘War + Peace’, ‘Butterfly Lover’ 2014

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

‘War + Peace’, ‘American Dream’ 2014


“War + Peace’, brings together a selection of my Biro drawings from several bodies of work produced between 2008 – 2014 including ‘Tales from the East’, ‘The Woodcutter’s Cottage’, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’ and recent artwork for conservation projects. Inspired by my passion for childhood memoirs, fairy tales, travel, forests and animals and continuing exploration of the themes of ‘war’ and ‘loss’, these multiplex, layered drawings in colour or black Biro are often used as inspiration to create objects and installations. Taking photographs of films and documentaries, my muse Lily, people, animals and found objects as the foundation for my work and building layers of drawn images in Biro, my 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’.”

To order a copy or for more information please visit my shop.

Original Gold Tiger drawing on back page of each copy.

Original Gold Tiger drawing on back page of each copy.

Lakshmi … Work in Progress on Tiger Sculpture Tattoo


‘Lakshmi’ blue Biro drawing on Tiger Sculpture, Jane Lee McCracken

Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Vishnu’s wife, embodiment of beauty… this week’s work in progress on ‘Blue Tiger’ Sculpture Tattoo.

Side view of Lakshmi drawing  depicting how her shoulder and arm follow the curves of the tiger sculpture's right shoulder

Side view of Lakshmi drawing depicting how her shoulder and arm follow the curves of the tiger sculpture’s right shoulder

This blue Biro drawing is inspired by a vintage painting of Lakshmi and an image of a beautiful Italian film star!

Detail Lakshmi's face

Detail Lakshmi’s face

Lakshmi’s curves are enhanced by drawing her body over the muscular shoulder of the tiger.Her head is positioned at 90 degrees to Vishnu’s head drawn on the tiger’s back.

Vishnu and Lakshmi blue Biro tattoos on Tiger Sculpture

Vishnu and Lakshmi blue Biro tattoos on Tiger Sculpture

Symbolism plays a large part in the work I make forming an intricate web of analogies. Using objects as I find them for making art is also an important part of the process; imperfections tell their own story and if you look closely there are scratches on the surface of the sculpture that have been deliberately retained.

'King of India' blue Biro drawing part of Tiger Sculpture Tattoo

‘King of India’ blue Biro drawing part of Tiger Sculpture Tattoo

Last weeks tattoo drawing ‘King of India’ was drawn over the tiger sculpture’s back leg.  Vishnu’s hand is layered through the Bengal tiger’s face.

This work in progress highlights the familiarity of tigers iconic beauty and their symbolic importance to humanity.

‘You Can Lead a Horse to Water…’ – Béla Tarr’s ‘TURIN HORSE’ in Kraków

'Sindy and the Troika', black Biro drawing , 2008, by Jane Lee McCracken symbolises possessions left behind when people flee their homes during war or disaster.

‘Sindy and the Troika’, black Biro drawing , 2008, by Jane Lee McCracken

Incessant winda dirge of clawing violins on repeat… ’Doom’ on his hands and knees, crawling ever closer with each sunset, along his impending trail of inevitable cataclysm, until finally he reaches the desolate cottage on the Hungarian plains.

Bela Tarr’s finale to his epic film-making career ‘Turin Horse’ is a triumph of Apocalyptic cinema.  In the beginning: a black screen and Tarr’s voice narrating a vigil of white text informs us that on 3rd January 1889 in Turin, Friedrich Nietzsche reached out to protect a horse being beaten by its owner, experienced a terminal breakdown and lived a further ‘silent and demented’ 10 years until his death… “We do not know what happened to the horse.”

Opening scene, 'Turin Horse', Béla Tarr, 2011

Opening scene, ‘Turin Horse’, Béla Tarr, 2011

The Wind Blows Where it Wishes: an elderly man driving his horse and cart, battle through an abrasive gale along a country road, escorted by Mihály Víg’s vulturous score, reminiscent of Philip Glass’s composition for ‘Candyman’, until they finally reach an isolated cottage.  A woman steps from the shadows of a barn to help the old man unbridle the horse and lead it to stable and rest.  The bait is eaten as we are reeled in by our temptation to find out what happens next…not much and yet so much.  No names, no histoire and a minimalist script, Béla Tarr leaves us virtually at the mercy of the mesmerising, monochrome cinematography of Fred Kelemen.

'Daughter' trudging to the well in 'Turin Horse', Béla Tarr, 2011

‘Daughter’ trudging to the well, ‘Turin Horse’, Béla Tarr, 2011

From the unbuttoning and buttoning of tattered clothes, folding of linen and the skinning by hand of hot boiled potatoes to reach the piping flesh; the daughter’s gruelling daily walk to the well in the prophetic wind to fetch water, we watch almost as if in real time 6 days of peasant hardship, grind and repetitive misery, that are the lives of an old man and his daughter in their dark, aged cottage whilst Abaddon rages outside.  Tarr’s appreciation of such adversity brings us perhaps as close as we can come to watching how our 19th century peasant forebears lived, and is almost the triumph of the film.  In parallel, Tarr’s vision gives us what Van Gogh gave us with ‘The Potato Eaters’ a wish to spare us nothing,

'The Potato Eaters', Vincent Van Gogh, 1885

‘The Potato Eaters’, Vincent Van Gogh, 1885

“You see, I really have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labor and — that they have thus honestly earned their food. I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours — civilized people. So I certainly don’t want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why.”, Vincent Van Gogh“Letter 497”, The Letters, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Almost the triumph of the film, but not quite.

Whilst the camera focuses on a black blizzard of bird-like leaves wheeling through the foreground, the father and daughter leading their horse, their well now empty of water, attempt to escape the world counting down to oblivion.  As their tragic out of focus figures wrestle along the distant horizon of a ridge with a single tree, I can feel the gentle breath from Lily’s canine nose on my hand as she lies beside me on the sofa. Like the quiet grace of the ‘horse’, Lily’s reassuring, measured breaths during that bleak scene reinforce the innocence humanity literally holds in its hands, a ‘key point’ of Tarr’s film.

'Horse', 'Turin Horse', Béla Tarr, 2011

‘Horse’, ‘Turin Horse’, Béla Tarr, 2011

And Darkness was on the Face of the Deep: The triumph of the film is the horse. Her dignity, the majesty with which her whole being seems to say ‘humanity you led us all to this, and now there is not even water to drink’.  The horse is our prophet, her intelligence far surpasses ours as she warns us life as we know it is over, that we have lost light and we are now plunging back into the darkness before creation, by man’s hand and Nature’s.

“The key point is that the humanity, all of us, including me, are responsible for destruction of the world. But there is also a force above human at work – the gale blowing throughout the film – that is also destroying the world. So both humanity and a higher force are destroying the world.” Bela Tarr, 2011

Bar in Kraków, 2007

Bar in Kraków, 2007

Watching ‘Turin Horse’ reminded me of a drawing I did in 2008 after a trip to  Kraków, ‘Sindy and the Troika’, which visited a theme I have often explored; fear and transpiration from the approach of a warring army.  We were staying in Kazimierz, which was once the heart of Jewish Kraków until the Nazis mercilessly ‘cleared’ the ghetto in WWII, depicted in Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Schindler’s List’, sending most of its Jewish inhabitants to their demise in nearby death camps like Auschwitz.

Kraków bar with Singer sewing machine as table, 2007

Me in another Kazimierz bar furnished with Singer sewing machine tables, Kraków, 2007

Kazimierz is now a vibrant art and cafe culture district and it was whilst in one of the many beautiful bars, which include bars like ‘Singer’ furnished with Singer sewing machine tables, that I found inspiration for the drawing.  I often contemplate the hellish fear that must overtake people when they are awaiting the onslaught of an enemy army. Documentaries are an audio visual record of this, but sitting in a room, that was originally a ghetto room where probably too many inhabited too few square feet, was sobering even with several Żubrówka‘s sunk accompanied by Polish cigarettes.

Kraków bar, 2007

Kraków bar, 2007

The room seemed to have been left just as if its inhabitants had walked out the door to find food, although perhaps they weren’t searching for food, perhaps they had fled from what must almost feel like the invasion of an alien army of super-humans from another planet as their wrath seems beyond that of civilised members of our own species.

Tapestry in Kraków bar, 2007

Vintage Russian Tapestry in Kraków bar, 2007

The bar owners had decorated the bar with a kitsch vintage tapestry of wolves hunting a man driving a troika.  I wondered where the tapestry had come from, I imagined it as the type of possession left by fleeing civilians not just across Poland but Europe – a cottage perhaps where the inhabitants left their favourite tapestry and their children’s toys for the hellfire of the oncoming German army or from fear of retaliation from the Allied Armies.

Official USSR photograph of Red Army in combat WWII, Artist's own collection.

The end of the Battle of Stalingrad turns the tide of war and the Red Army begin their offensive and fight their way to Berlin, often taking revenge for the inconceivable brutality perpetrated by the Wehrmacht on Russian civilians.  Official USSR photograph of Russian soldiers in combat, WWII, 1944, Artist’s own collection.

In the drawing the dishevelled, handless Sindy doll represents the brutality often waged upon civilian populations during war as well as the memories of children at play before fate’s hand led them to their destiny.  The tapestry symbolises life preceding war, of a beautiful forest and traditions and landscapes lost forever to war.  And like the father and daughter in ‘Turin Horse’, many families met their uncertain fates together.

'Sindy and the Troika', black Biro drawing , 2008, by Jane Lee McCracken symbolises possessions left behind when people flee their homes during war or disaster.

‘Sindy and the Troika’, black Biro drawing , 2008, by Jane Lee McCracken symbolises possessions left behind when people flee their homes during war or disaster.

For further information and Luxury Archival Prints made to order by one of the best printmaker’s in the UK Jack Lowe Studio please visit my website.