North Berwick Harbour Trust, North Berwick
“My latest project with Tom was the design of a ‘compass point’ to be installed on a plinth at the viewpoint in North Berwick harbour. This was commissioned by North Berwick Harbour Trust. The functional part of the plaque is to accurately show visitors the location and names of the many islands which can be seen from the viewpoint. The illustrative part of the plaque is to show the recreational aspects , commercial activities and the local wildlife, all within the functionality of the plaque. Tom rose to the challenge of technical accuracy and artistic expression and the result is an impressive plaque , 525mm in diameter which has been widely admired.”
Dr Hugh MacKenzie, Trustee
North Berwick Harbour Trust.
Monumental Inscriptions : ‘Mortlach Church, Churchyard and New Public Cemetery & Cabrach Church and Churchyard.’ (Published by The Moray Burial Ground Research Group),
“When Thomas was asked to provide church and burial ground plans in order to help family historians trace individual memorials at the burial sites at Mortlach & Cabrach, he undertook this project with a high degree of professionalism. Indeed, without Thomas’s skills our voluntary group would have been hard pressed to produce the required illustrations to such a high standard. Using a combination of a large number of site photographs, drone images, existing council plans and sketch plans, alongside frequent and patient dialogue, Thomas was able to expertly compile the plans accordingly without having physical access to the site. Since the project began, Thomas has been in constant email, computer and telephone contact with both Helen and myself, whereby nine superbly interpretive plans have come to life. These evolved through a multiplicity of drafts, which were necessitated due to the relatively high standard of accuracy being sought. It is worth noting that the plans also included the typology of various types of memorial such as previously unrecorded buried stones, the representation of which Thomas gave careful consideration to. Throughout the project, Thomas demonstrated a great attention to detail whilst rapidly providing draft plans for our appraisal. We would therefore have no hesitation in recommending Thomas to other prospective clients as an illustrator of the highest calibre.”
Keith Mitchell FSA Scot & Chairman MBGRG
Helen Mitchell FSA Scot & Field Co-ordinator MBGRG
‘In Search of ‘Old Bill’. The Life of Thomas Rafferty, the Inspiration for Bairnsfather’s Greatest Creation.’ (Published by Brewin Books.)
“Thomas edited my research on a Great War soldier, Thomas Rafferty, a relative who happened to be the inspiration for Captain Bruce Bairnsfather’s famous cartoon creation, ‘Old Bill’. Thomas’s editing of my original manuscript provided a convincing and engaging narrative of Rafferty’s life, enabling the publication of the book, ‘In Search of Old Bill’. Without Thomas’s input, which was both inspirational and diligent, this would not have been possible.”
John Pimm Belcher, Certificate H E Birmingham University, War Studies.
The Coastal Communities Museum, North Berwick
“Thomas Small is a talented and versatile graphic artist. His background is in archaeological illustration but when he was asked to design two-metre high, semi-transparent panels to show representations of the history and heritage of the local coastal region, he rose to the challenge and produced six dramatic and distinctive panels to illustrate the theme. He surmounted the significant technical and artistic challenges, which this unusual project presented, and I would not hesitate to recommend him to other clients.”
Dr Hugh MacKenzie, Trustee
The Coastal Communities Museum, North Berwick.
Edinburgh University Degree Course
“I am teaching an Archaeological Illustration course at the University of Edinburgh which provides students with a foundation knowledge on the theory and practice of creating visuals to record, analyse and present archaeological sites and artefacts in both an academic and public context. I recently invited Tom to give a class to our students, [Spring 2017, and subsequent years], where he spoke about his work and taught them some of his digital techniques as part of a dedicated workshop. I was particularly interested in having Tom talk to our students given the diversity and quality of his skills and experience, and the students really enjoyed discussing and learning from him. I particularly value Tom’s work generally: it demonstrates that archaeological illustration is not simply about following visual conventions but is principally a reflective and creative process that can really influence academic thinking and contribute to public engagement.”
Dr Guillaume Robin
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Society for Libyan Studies
“As an archaeologist involved in academic research, I recently required the services of a competent illustrator to produce a large number of drawings for a book on North African rock art. For a publication on rock art, the accuracy and clarity of the illustrations are crucial, and the illustrator’s role is very important. The work presented a number of challenges, which demanded exceptional observational skills and an ability to intelligently interpret often ambiguous visual imagery in order to create digital reproductions of complex rock engravings. In addition to the drawings, Tom assisted me in setting up a Geographical Information System (GIS) programme for analysing my research data, and in developing a series of spatial distribution maps based on these analyses.
Throughout the project, Tom has showed outstanding dedication and professional capacity. He has approached the various challenges of the work with patience and intelligence, enabling him to deal effortlessly with a large volume of material and manage his own time effectively. He has taken the initiative for devising appropriate solutions to specific issues and, through his attention to detail and interest in the material, he has offered valuable new ideas for interpreting and presenting the rock art. As a result of Tom’s input, the book will be beautifully illustrated, and make a significant contribution to other researchers in this field.”
Dr Tertia Barnett
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Forestry Commission Scotland
“Small Finds & Design helped me to illustrate two forthcoming Forestry Commission Scotland learning resources: The Picts and Recumbent Stone Circles (both published in 2015). For the former we needed to illustrate Pictish symbols and scenes from a variety of carved stones. Tom developed a simple style that informs a child’s understanding while retaining the authenticity of the original carvings. For the latter we needed a series of illustrations that could be used to explain the various mechanisms of the solar system (such as the phases of the moon) and describe the possible use of a recumbent stone circle as a celestial compass. Tom’s use of bold line and colour (and eye for perspective) really helps to convey some pretty complex concepts. It was a pleasure to work with Tom in what was a beneficial and collaborative creative process – and FCS would not hesitate to ask Small Finds & Design to help us again!”
National Trust for Scotland
“Tom’s archaeological background meant I was reassured that he could develop sound illustrations from the site evidence available. His attention to detail and patience is invaluable and I found him really open and positive to work with.”
Interpretation Project Manager (NTS)
Graphics Archaeology Group (GAG) of the CIfA
“As a member of the GAG committee Tom has made a useful, positive and relevant contribution to the Group committee discussions and has been able to suggest alternative approaches to successfully resolve issues. Tom has been an enthusiastic proponent of the revision and upgrading of the GAG website, (www.gag-cifa.org), and consequently took on this role. This has been one of the goals of the group for some time, but it is due to Tom’s diligence and drive that this has finally been achieved. The redesign, indeed reconstruction, has proved to be clear, smooth and popular with the group members. It does what it was intended to do in a much cleaner, much clearer way than any previous site set up and managed on our behalf. I would happily endorse Tom and recommend him to others seeking similar work”