Alan McGowan was born in East Kilbride, near Glasgow, in 1964. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and did a post-graduate at Newcastle Polytechnic.
From 1987 to 1996 he worked mainly as an illustrator producing drawings, paintings and portraits for The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Independant, Orion Publishing, Canongate Books, McMillan publishing, Scholastic press USA, and many others. During this period he also taught illustration, drawing and printmaking at The University of Northumbria, and as a visiting lecturer to Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee, Edinburgh College of Art and Hull School of Art.
In 1997 he produced a suite of large scale charcoal drawings as illustrations to “Faust” by Goethe (see picture gallery for images) which was exhibited and toured within the UK.
Since that time he has been more actively involved in exhibiting painting and his works appear in private collections in the UK and in the USA, Norway, Switzerland and Ireland. He is currently based in Edinburgh and his work is represented by Gallery Heinzel in Aberdeen.