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”

Landscape Art #3 – Ink & Watercolour Paintings

I’ve been taking inspiration from some incredible work from China and Japan. Ink is something I used heavily as a cartoonist, but I’d never gone into ink painting…

This ink painting style’s looseness makes it very meditative. Details aren’t as important as flow, so painting feels less intentional and more impulsive. Continue reading “Landscape Art #3 – Ink & Watercolour Paintings”

The 4 Steps I Took to Build My First Website

These days, every respectable business venture has its own website. Social media is an important tool, but the giants are always shifting. You need a stable base. This article offers guidance on making a completely customisable website with WordPress (free software). 

  1. Learning HTML & CSS

There are plenty of options available for someone who wants a quick and easy website without having to learn to code. These sites often offer some customisation options, but if you invest the time in building your own website, your options are endless. Continue reading “The 4 Steps I Took to Build My First Website”

Editorials – Cromarty Oil Transfer

High-risk oil transfer operation to be carried out against wishes of local dolphins.
Important environmental sites to be risked for ship-to-ship oil transfers.


A local issue, this time. Staying in Moray, I’m right on the doorstep of so many serene places. A lot of people move here just to neighbour the local dolphins. Unfortunately, permission is being sought to carry out ship-to-ship (STS) oil transfers in the waters nearby. STS transfers are particularly prone to spillage. If the license is granted, roughly 400,000 tonnes of crude oil will be transferred in the Moray Firth each month. Things may get messy.

Editorial Illustrations

What I love about good editorial illustrators is their ability to capture so much of a situation with so little – a single image.

Over the past week, I’ve been testing my own simplification skills and building up a new portfolio. Coming at art from this angle is refreshing after so much landscape painting. The process involves brainstorming a huge number of ideas, then cutting and combining until you’re left with something small, but so dense.

Here are the three illustrations I’ve finished so far:
No. 1 was tailored to this article on the junior Doctor strike:


DocStrike Continue reading “Editorial Illustrations”