Torn between art and science Ian studied for a degree in physics and a PhD on the physics of thunderstorms, all the while drawing, painting, and undertaking occasional illustration and graphic design work.
Ian works primarily with the traditional etching techniques of sugar lift and spit-bite aquatint, building up the image in layers of tightly-controlled drawing, and more abstract, loose, semi-random marks which mimic the natural textures of the landscape. While working on the etchings he finds a constant tension between his natural tendency towards realism and finely rendered detail and a desire to simplify and abstract the image to achieve a looser rendering that maintains the energy of sketches made out in the wild.
His academic research in climate science has involved field work in the extreme environments of both north and south polar regions. The landscapes of these remote, harsh, but beautiful regions has inspired many of his etchings, as have the hills and moorlands around his home in the Pennine Hills of West Yorkshire.