Emma Burleigh


I am an artist and art teacher who is passionate about the vibrant, glowing and mercurial qualities of watercolour and mixed media. I'm interested in everyday life, the inner life and the layers of life in between.

I'm currently developing an 'autobiofictional' graphic novel which has just received  The Laydeez do Comics Women’s Prize for Unpublished Graphic Novels in Progress.  I'm also working on a few other smaller personal and commissioned projects including a collaboration with the poet River Wolton and a Mindful Art Course Book.  

Stories and myths often inform my work and I've studied traditional narrative based paintings such as Mughal miniatures and medieval Books of Hours for their inventive compositions, jewel like colours and quirky details. Much of my work is inspired by the beauty of the natural world, and some of my work has to do with letting the dark stuff out!

I'm based in Bristol, and in 2015 I completed an MA in 'Authorial Illustration' at Falmouth University, with Distinction. I graduated with a first class BA Honours in Fine Art and English from Exeter University back in 1999, and since then I've worked as an artist, art teacher, gardener, youth worker and meditation centre co-ordinator... I teach workshops in mindful and intuitive art-making and am a tutor at The Royal West Academy in Bristol.

 I offer original paintings to buy, as well as Fine Art prints, and I sometimes undertake Fine Art or illustration commissions. This year I exhibited at The Royal West academy Open Exhibition in Bristol and was awarded 2nd Prize for Watercolour. My graphic short stories were published in The Strumpet and Trawler and my work has also featured in Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine, Aeva,  Amnesty International's Am-Unity magazine, Project Calm and Contemporary British Painting

For me making art is a contemplative practice and so my particular interest in both my teaching and my personal artistic practice is the relationship between mindfulness, spirituality, and creativity. I began meditating in 2003 to help me manage my stress as a teacher in a busy secondary school and soon started attending silent retreats. From 2010 to 2012 I lived as a member of the Buddhist community at Gaia House in Devon and my meditation practice is still very much at the centre of my life. I receive mentoring from internationally respected Insight Meditation teacher, Yanai Postelnik, and have been a long term student of Gaia House Resident Teacher, Rob Burbea.

You can find some of my work for sale in local Bristol venues such as The Royal West Academy in Clifton and Room 212 Gallery on Gloucester Road. Some of my zines can be found at Gnash in Ashburton, Devon, which is in my opinion the hands down best comics and graphic novels shop in the South West..

To buy my work just click on my "shop" tab for a full list of outlets, including online.

Reviews of my work:

  • Broken Frontier: http://www.brokenfrontier.com/emma-burleigh-my-other-mother-my-other-self-laydeez-do-comics-bczf-2018/

  • Ink Magazine: https://mailchi.mp/f8397fc086c5/ink-issue-28

Teaching and Tutoring:


I love to share my practice and my particular interest is to explore the question "How can art be used as a practice to support mindfulness, creativity and contemplation?"

 I hold regular weekend workshops in Bristol which explore meditative and reflective ways to make art. They are suitable for experienced artists and complete beginners alike. They tend to be in the mediums of either watercolour painting, art journalling, or comics & graphic narratives.

I have a PGCE in Art from Oxford Brookes University and over fifteen years experience teaching Art at GCSE, A level and Key stage three. For several years I was the Head of Art at Didcot Girls' School, as well as the Fine Art course Leader for A level at Didcot Sixth Forms in Oxfordshire. 

I enjoy helping people to develop their drawing and painting skills, and to find their voice. If you're scared to pick up a pencil or paintbrush but have always longed to, my special interest is in helping you to feel the fear and do it anyway!  

For more information on teaching and links to websites about my classes please go to the "Teaching" tab at the top of this page. 



A student painting at one of my Mindful and Intuitive watercolour workshops. Photo by Julian Barford Photography.

A student painting at one of my Mindful and Intuitive watercolour workshops. Photo by Julian Barford Photography.