#057: are we done

Postcard sent to Alistair Mackenzie, Scottish actor and younger brother of David Mackenzie, the film director.

I’ve known Al since he was fourteen. One of the loveliest, sweetest guys you’ll ever meet. Such fun, such good energy, a real gentleman, to boot.

About twenty years ago he shot to fame as Archie MacDonald, the leading character in the global hit TV show, “Monarch of The Glen”. One of the tabloids named him as “Britain’s Sexiest Man” soon after.

I’m pleased to report that Al didn’t let any of this stuff go to his head. He’s still lovely Al, through and through. Hurrah!

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here

#056: shadow of death

Postcard sent to my sister, Sarah who, obviously, is also a Scot.

She and I both had years where we faced more than our fare share of adversity… but here we are, none too worse for wear. Plenty to be grateful for.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here

#055: grievance politics cannot ever be sated

Postcard sent to Maajid Nawaz, the London-based activist and media personality.

Maajid and I met in Edinburgh in 2011 at Ted Global, we’ve been friends ever since. He commisioned a large drawing from me a few years ago, and we also hung out in New York the last time we were both there at the same time.

Maajid hosts a well-know LBC talk radio show where he manages to tick off all the right people. He is no friend of extremists- Islamic and non-Islamic alike. A champion of decency, common sense and moderation, he takes a lot of shit from the crazies on social media, including death threats. Frankly, I think he’s a national hero and should be given a Knigthhood, or at least, an MBE. It’ll probably happen eventually,

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here

#053: the hard part

Postcard sent to Ian Peter “Peeps” MacDonald, an old family friend.

Peeps is a serial entrepreneur. He was a couple of years older than me at The Edinburgh Academy, then he moved school to Ampleforth, where he became god pals with my future brother-in-law.

His dad and my dad were great friends. Peeps has worn many hats over the years, currently he’s running a Scots Highland microbrewery in Lochaber. My favorite story of his is, he was the chap who started printing famous paintings onto fridge magnets, then selling them in museum shops.

Art museum fridge magnets are pretty ubiquitous now, they weren’t back then.

As for the actual drawing: For most of my career, I had no idea where it was all taking me. Would I stay in advertising? Would I be a cartoonist? A writer? An entrepreneur? A marketing consultant? Who the hell knew? Not me.

So thirty years into it, here I am, doing my thing. Drawing pictures for clients, or drawing pictures for myself and my friends. Writing the occasional piece of copy, simply because no one else on the team can do it as quickly or easily as I can. And that’s about it.

After much zig-zagging, it seems that I have arrived, after all. I know Peeps can relate.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.


Scottish Project #036 just landed in Copengen, none too worse for wear. Thanks, Martin for the photo!

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#052: thank you for inspiring me

Postcard sent to Sondre Lerche, the Norwegian musician and songwriter. I’ve been a fan of his music for many years. I don’t know him personally, but we natter a lot on Twitter.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#051: meaning is a constellation

Postcard sent to my second cousin in Edinburgh, Martha Courier.

Martha is Catriona Courtier’s daughter. Her gandmother and my grandmother were sisters. She and my first cousin, Catriona MacLeod are great pals. We both have strong connection to Stonyburn. She’s a lovely lass, a real sweetheart, and like her mum, a bit of a bolshie and a feminist.

“Meaning is a constellation”. As in, we get our sense of meaning from more than one source. From religion, from our families, from art, from political causes, from our work and careers, it’s never ending, it’s always mutating. And if we foolishly try to get it from just one source, religion, say, or career, or science, or worshipping some pop star, it starts drying up really fast.

This explains why The Bible has so many books: one book simply is not enough.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#050: i love tacos!

Postcard sent to my cousin, Marsalli MacLeod.

Marsalli MacLeod (or NicLeoid, to use the Gaelic Feminine), is the quintessential Highland lass. She grew up in Stathnaver with her sister, Catriona, after getting her PhD in Aberdeen, she now lives and works on the Isle of Skye. Her Facebook page is awash with photos of her climbing mountains and long distace road biking around the Scottish Highlands.

Like her sister, she taught herself to speak Gaelic (Our grandfather spoke Gaelic as a first language, but he didn’t pass it on to his sons), as an act of will.

When my father, William MacLeod, passed away in 2010, she flew over to West Texas for the memorial service. For the congregation she sang a Gaelic Lament, an old one that was actually called “The Lament of William MacLeod”, which pretty much blew everyone away, including me.

I sent her the “Taco” one as a wee reference to our short time in Texas together, as it were.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#048 my life is a blizzard

Postcard sent to Neil McIntosh in Edinburgh, currently the Director of BBC Online.

Neil was the top Internet-related journo in Scotland, back in the day, when he had the tech beat with The Scotsman Newspaper.

I met him a few years later when he was with The Guardian in London, and he was the first British newspaperman to publish my cartoons for a bit; this was back in 2001 or so.

His brother is Ewan McIntosh, who I also got to know in the early blogging scene of the early 2000s. Ewan is also the recipient of Scottish Project #045.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#047: i’m so offended!

Postcard sent to Andrew Flowerdew, an old Edinburgh friend. He’s s the younger brother of Dr. Rob Flowerdew, who I was dorm mates with back in school. I got to know Andrew more during my college years, mostly during the Edinburgh Festival, hanging out with Rob and Ross Kennedy (recipient of Scottish Project #008) in Rob’s basement flat in Great King Street.

“Flowerdew” is an old Norman name that came over from France (with Andrew’s ancestors and William The Conquerer in the Invasion of 1066), derived from “Fleur de Dieu”, i.e. Fower of God. Very fancy.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.

#046: everybody is jesus

Postcard sent to Crinan Dunbar, an old school chum and now one of the owners of the Pitgeveny Estate in Elgin, Moray, near Inverness.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.


Scottish Project #032, taken from the gate of Stonyburn, the house my great grandfather built in Strathnaver, Scotland, where my cousin Catriona MacLeod now lives.

Everybody loves that gate. Everybody remembers playing with the big, red, lovely letters as children.

Read more about “The Scottish Project” here.