Arran illustrator brings Sam the Skull vividly to life

Jill Hargan with a copy of her new book, Sam the Skull.

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By Colin Smeeton

Arran artist, and now book illustrator, Jill Hargan, has just had her first book published.

The book Sam the Skull is based on a popular and well-known Glaswegian song of the same name and is full of Glasgow references and humour.

Jill drew the illustrations for the book during lockdown and having finished the drawings she made contact with the author of the song, Harry Hagan, who penned the catchy song in the 1980s.

Harry gave his blessing for the project and was delighted to hear that, once costs are covered, all profits will be donated to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

The book is vividly illustrated, easy to read and will bring a smile to anyone’s face, particularly those that remember it from their childhood.

It was, however, a labour of love for Jill, who said: ‘I discovered that drawing is the easy part, publishing is hard. Once I had completed the illustrations and coloured them in with watercolours, I had to find someone to insert the text.

This was a challenge as the text has to be placed professionally, using the right font, format and other issues.

‘Thankfully Clyde Studios in Saltcoats helped with this and after revising and re-revising we finally have a finished version.

‘It’s a great book to be read with young children or by older ones. It is available from me for £7.99 and in shops around the island.’

Jill has also been the featured artist in the Brodick Library’s exhibition space for the month of June.

Along with her oil and watercolour paintings of local people, scenes and events, some of her illustrations of Sam the Skull will also be on display.

Sam the Skull also recently featured in the Arran Folk Festival when Colin Guthrie performed a rousing rendition of the song to an appreciative audience, who later snapped up copies of the book.

Anyone who wishes to secure a copy of the limited print run can contact Jill by email on

Colin Guthrie performs a rendition of Sam the Skull during the Arran Folk Festival.