Linocut Printing In Gardenstown

Oatcakes in the Cloister
Oatcakes in the Cloister
I spent a weekend learning the art of linocut printmaking from the masterful Bryan Angus in his Gardenstown studio. Inspiration came from the rugged coastline and my short-but-sweet time travelling.


 The town itself is an incredible place – a maze of idiosyncratic homes emerging from the coast’s red sandstone cliffs. The sea sloshes in front of people’s doorsteps. It’s a small town with few amenities, but so much character.

I found working in lino very strange compared to the usual brush or tablet artwork. It’s a very satisfying process, though, and one you can get completely lost in. Carving away your image, you slip into something of a trance. When you finally peel the freshly inked paper from your carved block, you get a print that’s always subtly different to any other – each one unique.

A few prints are available to buy here.

Do you work in lino? Or is it something you’d be interested in trying?

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Five Watercolours and Some Lightning

Five finished watercolour landscape paintings, by Ben Harley.

The difference between making art and making a living through art is immense. Two weeks ago during a storm, lightning struck my home and fried the electronics. I’ve had to live without internet or even a computer till now. And while there were days I was dying for a meaty slice of netflix, or some delicious youtube vids, mostly I was relieved. Continue reading “Five Watercolours and Some Lightning”

‘Vaccine Scare’


Vaccine Scare: preventable diseases are taking a heavy toll on Kerala.
Vaccine Scare

I did a recent piece based on an article in BBC Trending, exploring the anti-vaccine movement in Kerala. Preventable diseases, like diphtheria, are on the rise, while much of the vaccine fear is being spread by alternative medicine ‘doctors.’

Custom photoshop brushes used for illustration by Ben Harley.
Custom brushes used (left-to-right): sandy pebbles, watercolour stroke and woodgrain. Click to enlarge.


Thanks for keeping up! Thoughts or questions? Leave a comment.

Illustration Friday 2 – ‘Nose’

'Toucan Run' - contribution to Illustration Friday for the prompt 'Nose.'
Toucan Run

I took part in Illustration Friday again this week – the prompt was ‘nose.’ Who has a bigger nose than a toucan??

And painted this week:

Ink and watercolour - visible for miles around, the hill is near-constantly shrouded in mist.
Cluny Hill

This hill’s visible for miles around, nearly constantly shrouded in mist. I happened to be cycling by yesterday and stopped to whip up a sketch. Later, after the sketch and a rough painting, I made this, trying to keep it as loose as possible. I find Nujabes really helps with that.

How I Use Custom Brushes to Create Rich Textures in Photoshop


Logo3-Portrait-GIF-300pxI love simplicity in my work. I make it my goal to show what I need to as cleanly and precisely as I can.

That being said, I feel something’s lost when you get too abstract. A lot of simple ‘vector’ style artwork looks lifeless to me. Functional, stylish, but lifeless. I try to get away from this. Working in Photoshop, I like to use very simple shapes to map out an illustration before adding grit with some homemade brushes. Let’s take a look at that process. Continue reading “How I Use Custom Brushes to Create Rich Textures in Photoshop”

Illustration Friday – Wheels

Old Fires: a piece for 'Illustration Friday.' The prompt was 'wheels.'
Old Fires

This week I took part in Illustration Friday – a weekly competition/practice session for illustrators. The challenge’s prompt was ‘wheels.’ Starting out, my mind went straight to the invention of the wheel – cavemen (not really) hammering away at stone to build the tool that’s taken us so far… I had thoughts of the rotating wheel space station, too: a design futuristic by today’s standards, never mind the stone age.

Ultimately, though, I settled on something less ‘marvels of technology’ and more autobiographical. I’ve had my eye on double exposures for a while. I wanted to see how it’d look to project fond memories onto the dreary morning cityscape – a cycle route to work.


How I use Pinterest to Generate Inspiration

Like most artists, my creative drive can fluctuate wildly. We all want to be productive, but not at the expense of doing good work. Inspiration tells us we’re onto something, but does inspiration have to be something we wait for?

I’ve recently found Pinterest to be a great tool for making artwork. It allows me to see the work of so many inspiring artists and to group it all together in one space – I make inspirational moodboards.

My landscape painting inspiration.
My landscape painting board.

Continue reading “How I use Pinterest to Generate Inspiration”

Landscape Art #4: refining the style

I’ve been taking inspiration from old masters of ink painting, particularly Fu Baoshi. Fu Baoshi produced an incredible mass of work in his lifetime (1904-1965) and played a large role in crossing Chinese painting tradition with that of Japan. See some of his work here, and check mine out below.

Continue reading “Landscape Art #4: refining the style”