The unusual way Dorset towns shaped renowned artist’s latest creations…

A WEST country artist – who illustrated the BBC Pointless book and frequently contributes to Private Eye – has unveiled his latest collection, featuring characters who pay an unusual tribute to Dorset.

Moose Allain, who boasts more than 135,000 followers on social media platform X – formerly Twitter – is releasing the next set of his Townsfolk series; original paintings of creatures he creates.

And the new roster includes residents with names such as Sturminster Newton, Fifehead Magdalen, and Sandford Orcas.

After completing drawings for the Explodapedia series of children’s science books, Moose said he had some free time in the run up to Christmas.

So, the 60-year-old started drawing brightly-coloured characters, and thought they deserved Victorian-sounding names.

“I started to play around with making them up, when I suddenly recalled the lovely place name Compton Pauncefoot, in Somerset, which felt just right,” he said.

“I started scouring the map for more of these ‘double barrel’ place names, and of course the place is rich with them.

“I sit with the character and the list and think, right, who do you look like? Of course, you’re a ‘Sturminster Newton’.

“We called them Townsfolk because for me they are all the inhabitants of a fictional place and obviously their names are also towns.”

Sturminster Newton and Stourton Caundle, by Moose Alain

Sturminster Newton and Stourton Caundle, by Moose Allain

Being based in the Devon countryside is a far cry from Moose’s initial career path, in London.

In 2006, he gave up a successful architectural career in the capital to start an art business in Exeter.

He’d previously been involved in community consultation, writing reports for the King’s Cross and Olympic Park projects.

“I enjoyed my job up to a point,” he said. “But I ended up in a middle management role, hardly doing anything creative. “I just couldn’t imagine doing that for the rest of my life.”

So, in consultation with wife, Karen, the couple decided to take the plunge and move west.

“Karen was incredibly supportive of me giving up my steady, well-paid job to spend all day doodling,” Moose went on.

Karen, also an artist who shares photographic content as @thebaronski on Instagram, now handles the business side of their art company, allowing Moose to do the “fun stuff”.

“I think I do all my drawings for her really, she inspires me and guides me,” he added. “I am the luckiest person.”

The couple live with their dog, Nutmeg, who came from Sherborne and often return to Dorset – which Moose enjoyed during frequent visits to Weymouth and Rinstead Bay for family holidays.

Online, with more than 135,000 followers, Moose is a bonafide Twitter celebrity.

Sandford Orcas, by Moose Allain

Sandford Orcas, by Moose Allain

One of the site’s early pioneers, he quickly realised the platform could be a medium in its own right.

“It became a great repository for all the little thoughts, jokes, bits of wordplay, and cartoons tumbling around in my head,” he said.

“I occasionally write stories ‘live’ on Twitter – making them up as I go along – and it feels almost like a live performance.

“Sometimes a tweet will instigate all sorts of brilliant replies, like when people told me their local name for woodlice, or people revealing their slips of the tongue and brain melts.

“Those days are the most fun. I’ve made great friends and all sorts of collaborations over the years. It’s been amazing.”

For more information on the Townsfolk series, visit or follow Moose on Twitter.

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