Illustrated map of 18th Century Worcester for children

hand-drawn colourful illustrated children's map for museum educational activity by illustrator Emma Metcalfe
Illustrated map to support educational museum workshops with primary school age children

Illustrated map to support educational museum workshops with primary school age children

Here’s a recently completed commission for the Museum of Royal Worcester, a lovely illustrated map to help children image what Worcester might have been like during the 18th century.

The map illustration is large format (reproduced as a 1m x 1m floor mat) and will be used as part of schools workshops at the museum, and highlights key landmarks, as well as conveying a general sense of place.

If you are interested in commissioning a hand-drawn illustrated map by Emma, please get in touch to discuss your ideas.

Castle Howard Explorer: New children’s illustrated trail


Castle Howard were one of my first ever clients, and remain one of my favourites. It’s a magical place, and the team always have lovely, creative ideas and a real sense of fun.

I normally design a new activity for Castle Howard’s children’s trail offering every year or two. This year it was a new page of nature activities based on the Walled Garden. I’m really keen on activities which encourage children to appreciate the natural world, so this was a lovely project.

All the various activities have been combined into a new ‘Castle Howard Explorer’ booklet with a new front cover.


Follow-the-footprints-brass-rubbing-woodland-trail-for-castle-howard-by-illustrator-emma-metcalfewild-in-the-walled-garden-illutrated-children's-garden-nature-activities-by-emma-metcalfe-for-castle-howardWhere's my home, match the baby animal to its home illustrated puzzle activitiy by emma metcalfe


Therapeutic Flashcards: Using animals to help children talk about their feelings

Illustration of a swan with its signets safely on its back, represents a feeling of safety

I recently enjoyed working on this series of illustrations depicting different emotions using animals. They are for a set of therapeutic ‘feelings cards’ to be used to help children talk about their thoughts and feelings in a fun and non-threatening way.

A Therapeutic Treasure Deck of Sentence Completion and Feelings Cards (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)



The cards are designed to complement a book by the same author, Dr Karen Treisman.

A Therapeutic Treasure Box for Working with Children and Adolescents with Developmental Trauma


Museums and Heritage Show 2017: Another great show!

Children's illustrator Emma Metcalfe displaying bespoke artwork, illustrated children's guidebook and family trails
Illustrator and children’s trail and guidebook designer Emma Metcalfe at her stand at the 2017 Museums and Heritage Show

The Museums and Heritage Show seems to come around so quickly these days. I couldn’t believe it when I looked back through some old photos and found that 2017 would be my eighth year exhibiting at the show!

What I like best about the show is that it’s very friendly, with a real informal feel to it. As an independent ‘one-woman-band’ it’s all the more important for me to make those personal connections and for people to get to know me as well as my work.

Fellow stallholders are always friendly and supportive, and it’s nice to share cups of coffee and words of encouragement when it gets a bit late in the day and we’re all feeling a bit weary!

Now back at my desk, I’m keeping busy working on writing and illustrating Monks, Mischief and Marauders, my new children’s guidebook for Peterborough Cathedral to be launched in June this year.

Later in the year I’ll be exhibiting at the Museums Association Conference 2017 in Manchester. Come and say hello!


Birds, Beasts & Medieval Treasures: St Mary’s Church, Nottingham

Front cover showing interior of St Mary's Church with lion and unicorn illustrated cartoon charactersIllustrated children's trail depicting animals to spot around the church

I really enjoyed working collaboratively with Jarrold Publishing on this new children’s activity trail for St Mary’s Church in Nottingham. The trail contains two activities, a Beast Hunt aimed at younger children, and a more general trail identifying the church’s main features.

The lion and unicorn characters are based on statues in the church.

Illustrated map of the historic City of London: Dr Johnson’s House

Illustration of the City of London in the 1700s during the life of Dr Johnson

I really enjoyed working on this bespoke illustrated map of the historic City of London in the 1700s, commissioned by Dr Johnson’s House. Dr Samuel Johnson was a prolific writer, perhaps best known for writing the first modern dictionary of the English language published in 1755.

17 Gough Square (the house where he lived whilst writing his famous dictionary) is a fascinating place but rather small. I was commissioned to devise and illustrate a walking trail with the aim of  allowing visitors to extend their visit outside the house itself, and to give a sense of what the City of London was like during Johnson’s lifetime.

The trail features famous sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral and The Old Bailey, but also hidden gems such as Cutlers’ Hall, St Bride’s Church and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub.

One of the challenges in creating this trail was the rapidly changing skyline of the City of London. With so many buildings seemingly being built, demolished, extended and remodelled every day, I opted to focus in on the details of just the historic buildings, suggesting the locations of more modern buildings with simple outlines.

I also enjoyed the challenge of creating a map which echoes the visual style of maps from the 1700s.

Read more about commissioning a bespoke illustrated map.

Illustrated Roman characters: Colchester Castle

Wealthy Roman lady sitting down admiring reflection in hand mirror (circa AD 61)I was commissioned by Colchester Castle to create two illustrated Roman characters to form part of an exhibition of Roman jewellery from the Fenwick Hoard. The characters are intended to help visitors imagine the kind of people who might have owned such jewellery. Working with Colchester Castle, I created characters based on a retired Roman soldier and his wife. Their costumes and hairstyles are appropriate for the period around AD61, when it is thought that the Hoard was buried.


View more illustrated characters.

New Range of Souvenir Products for Bolton Castle

Photo of Bolton Castle range of bespoke illustrated children's souvenir notebooks, mugs & coasters with illustrated designs

Here is a new bespoke range of products I’ve designed for Bolton Castle. The products include glossy A5 notebooks, children’s sketchbooks, mugs and coasters and the designs include medieval knights, horses, shields and the Bolton Castle coat of arms.

Now on sale at Bolton Castle so look out for them if you’re visiting this summer.