Embrace the coming months with Daniel Howden’s autumnal-themed linocut series

Starting the series after a period of intense stress over the pandemic, the Manchester-based artist found solace in creating work entirely of his own volition.

28 September 2022

Leaves crunching beneath your feet, that sudden chill in the air and night coming at a sharp 6pm; it’s safe to say autumn is well and truly upon us. And while heavily satirised (think pumpkin spiced latte shaming) there really is something quite comforting about the shift from T-shirts to warm jumpers, the slow trickle of Halloween party invites and nights in front of the TV.

It was at the onset of autumn last year that printmaker Daniel Howden set himself on the lengthy personal project – an autumnal themed series of eight to nine linocuts. While this may not initially seem like such a grand task, from previous interviews with Daniel, we’ve come to realise just how meticulous and prolonged his craft it is; one linocut can take 30-90 layers to achieve the right tones and shadow.

Interestingly, only a few of the pieces have a direct autumnal reference – a pumpkin patch, a line of scarecrows. Instead, it’s the tones, colour and shadow used by Daniel which evoke the feelings and sensations of the months that sit between summer and winter. Pale blues, deep orange, the shadows of trees absent of leaves, all slightly dulled by the reduced sunlight. Riffing off his own experience of the viral ‘Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall’ meme, the representation of autumn is a personal one and, “to help capture that, I tried to embrace the marks and mishaps that often occur when lino-ing – working with sugar paper and smaller slabs helped provide an intimacy to some of them, too.”


Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2022

The project began after Daniel was given a substantial amount of leave from his part-time job due to “intense stress”. Moreover, over the whole lockdown Daniel tells us he had just one or two commissions come his way. “It was quite a dark time where I seemed to flip-flop between packing it all in on a fortnightly basis and just getting a regular job,” he details. “Truthfully, I didn’t feel like an artist anymore. It can be tough when work isn't coming in – you can’t help but feel a little redundant.” And so, the project arose out of the desire to cheer himself up.

One element that helped to improve Daniel’s mood was the lighthearted nature of the project: craving an inflatable monster truck, considering a pumpkins positioning or rubbing a Halfords facade with the back of a spoon. When completing the series, it was also its subtle humour – and slight irony – that jumped out to the artist. “The idea of investing months of my life in tasteful scarecrow art and elevating such dry, confused subject matter into grand prints that might proudly hang in someone’s living room was very funny to me.”

It’s this very scarecrow piece that remains with Daniel, mainly for what it represents. “It was the type of print I’d been wanting to do for a long time, something silly but kind of beautiful too. That’s the sweet spot,” he shares. Containing 152 individual registrations and seven editions, Daniel inked the artwork 1,064 times, placing it down without ruining any. If that’s not dedication, we don’t know what is. Overall, Daniel’s beautiful and scrupulous autumnal series shows that, sometimes, taking a step back and looking after yourself will end up resulting in both a rewarding and fruitful, creative period.


Daniel Howden: Artificial Waterway (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2021)


Daniel Howden: Ten to Ten (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2021)


Daniel Howden: Inflation (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2022)


Daniel Howden: Timbook 2 (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2021)


Daniel Howden: Thumbnail of: Table (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2022)


Daniel Howden: 2017 (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2021)


Daniel Howden: Vice De, Seatbelts (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2020)


Daniel Howden: scan (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2022)

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Daniel Howden: Economies of Scale (Copyright © Daniel Howden, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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