The SELCIE Sketchbook

On this page, Katie Forrester, SELCIE‘s artist-in-residence, shares drawings from her sketchbooks,  inspired by the beautiful, curious, and quirky things she discovers deep down in the heart of the Museum of Childhood’s book archives…


Autumn-Winter 2019

‘Earlier this autumn I was fortunate enough to make a visit to the archives to support my ongoing illustration work on Scottish folklore. I chose to look at Mackenzie’s illustrated book Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend (1917). My aim was to expand upon the bank of imagery that I have collected so far in order to enable the illustrations I make to become richer and more confident in my portrayal of the stories. Sentences such as: “The grey sea fairies have grey skin-coverings and resemble seals” and “On moonlit nights they hear the mermaids’ singing on the rocks when human beings are fast asleep…” (p.138) provide me with a more vivid picture of the settings and characters in the stories. I am then able to distil these ideas and impressions into individual images which I make into prints using linocut blocks, some of which I also include in this section of the SELCIE sketchbook’.


‘Ghillie Dhu’


‘The Black Bull o Norroway’






Some sketches & impressions


Summer 2018

The sketches below examine the illustration within British collections of fairy tales published from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The sketches explore how various folktales originating in a range of diverse traditions were appropriated for a Western audience. Katie is interested in how story binds identity to place, an idea which she pursues in her own artwork and research.


‘On the back of the north wind…’

‘The Boy and the Wolves, or a broken promise…’

‘Maiden, are you warm?’

‘The sea arose in the form of a woman…’

‘sitting in the water under the bridge at the world’s end…’




from Spring visits 2017

Katie Sketchbook 1

Katie Sketchbook 2

Katie Sketchbook 3

Katie Sketchbook 4

Katie Sketcbbook 5

Katie Sketchbook 6*

from Summer visits 2017

‘The sea so wide, and my boat so small…’



‘one by one she fed each little orphan with her golden spoon…’