From last October to March this year I had the pleasure of working with Harper Collins books to illustrate a wonderful little book - all about bees! The book is due to be released in the UK and US later this year. Here are some work-in-progress shots from my desk, featuring a small sneak-peek selection of paintings…
Some personal dolphin studies
Recently, I was thrilled to work with London-based company "Memories of Growing Up" who asked me to design a tall tower of 30 individual, characterful dinosaurs for their “Talltape” range.
“Talltape, the portable children’s height chart, helps you to keep an on-going record of your child’s height from birth all the way to adulthood. The perfect alternative to recording measurements on a wall or door, Talltape won’t get left behind or painted over – it just stays with you. As featured in the Daily Mail, New York Metro Parents and Baby London Magazine.“
Each dinosaur is unique and annotated by hand with his/her scientific name. I had a lot of fun designing it! I aimed to include a broad variety of dinosaur species, so that children can discover the wide spectrum of different types. They are all (approximately!) sized to scale in comparison to one another.
The dino Talltape is available to buy in my online Etsy shop now. Find it here!
Some months ago I was approached by UK publisher Pavilion books who asked me to illustrate 6 variations on the classic scone for their upcoming "Book of Scones".
The pocket-sized book by Sarah Clelland includes 50(!) scone recipes alongside information on many National Trust places to visit. I wasn't aware so many kinds of scones existed!
Here are my renditions of the classic jam and cream scone, chocolate "rocky road", summer fruit, festive mince-pie scone, savoury cheese, and sweet honey.
"History is best enjoyed with a scone, as everyone who’s visited a National Trust house knows. This book brings you the best of both. Scone obsessive Sarah Clelland has gathered 50 – yes 50 – scone recipes from National Trust experts around the country. And she’s written a quirky guide to 50 National Trust places to delight and entertain you while you bake or eat those blissful treats. Eccentric owners, strange treasures, obscure facts – it’s all here.
Whip up a Triple Chocolate scone while you read about the mechanical elephants at Waddesdon Manor. Or savour an Apple & Cinnamon scone while you absorb the dramatic love life of Henry Cecil of Hanbury Hall. Marvel at a Ightham Mote’s Grade 1 listed dog kennel while you savour a Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon scone.
50 of the best scones in history. And 50 of the best places to read about. You’ll never need to leave the kitchen again."
The National Trust's Book of Scones is available in shops and online now!
This month's issue of "Artists & Illustrators" includes a free pamphlet full of art-improving tips - featuring artwork by me! I was asked to create a cover design for the little guide and had free rein to have fun and add my own "flair" - obviously it turned out to be very enjoyable to do.
The idea was to create a messy, busy and energetic front cover reflecting the contents to be bursting with creative tips and tricks. I illustrated each element as an individual object before scanning and reassembling the design digitally. The single illustrations were also used as chapter headers.
The guide is beautifully designed and is indeed bursting with helpful advice - I've already discovered a few things I didn't know and plan to keep it handy for future reference.
The Artists & Illustrators February 2017 issue featuring the Pocket Painting Guide is available NOW in Tesco and Sainsburys store around the UK!
Happy 2017! Things have been quiet on the blog lately - oops! I haven't been able to post much for the last few months as most things aren't due to be published until later THIS year! Hopefully I can share more soon.
Here are some fat little festive robins I did for fun over the holidays :)
Last week's issue of Stylist Magazine featured the article "The Summer of Craft Beers" - and if you saw it then you might have noticed that the illustrations were all done by yours truly! I was asked to provide my own take on some of the season's trendiest independently-brewed beers, as well as a full opening page design with a very feminine and ornate beer bottle.
The opening title page was very fun to design and paint. The brief required it to be feminine and decorative - so of course I let loose on a very pretty, girly beer label!
All artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2016. Please do not use without seeking prior permission.
To see more from this project please visit the work section of the site.
Drawing exercise - freehand, quick, loose, no erasing - some turn out fine but others not so much, but that's OK. Here is a handful of the better studies from life and some from photos. I love drawing birds!
This week I had the pleasure of working with lovely people behind "Essentis" - a new brand created by chef Nicolas Petrucci. The brand "Essentis" shares its name with the popular biohotel in Berlin where Nicolas is head chef. Their first product is a pro-biotic and organic chilli-based sauce named "Power Sauce" and I was asked to create some vibrant chilli and mango-inspired artwork to adorn the product labels.
The initial inspiration came from my own chilli pepper painting, which I used as a base to add more colourful watercolour splashes to make it that little bit more exciting(!) and painted new mango slices to match. As you can probably tell, this was a lot of fun to do.
Essentis Biohotel - http://essentisbiohotel.de/en/
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2016
Photography (C) Essentis by Nicolas Petrucci 2016
As a little side project I've been working towards perfecting the art of "repeat patterns", which I hope will help me create a variety of decorative fabrics and products with my illustrations. Some of the first I've put together are based on this small series of pollen-dusted bee paintings. Let me know if you like them.
Fluffy Bumble Bees
And I couldn't create a bee pattern without an iconic Honey Bee. I wanted this one to be quite symmetrical to form a more uniform pattern.
And just for fun, a FAT bumble bee!
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2016
A second batch of UK wild animal watercolour studies - this time its the squirrel.
The introduced US Grey Squirrel vs the resident British Red Squirrel. The grey has become the most widespread out of the two and is now the dominant species. (Luckily for me I live in the North where reds still survive, but I love both kinds!).
I also took a little time to try a softer style...
Images and artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2016
For more wildlife illustrations visit the Play section
I was glad to finish some paintings from one of my own personal projects this week - the first in a UK wildlife series, the red fox. I am aiming for a slightly more traditional, non-fiction approach with these but that still has my own contemporary style. What do you think?
A collection of some of the initial loose sketches:
And then some of the more refined sketches, exploring various positions
and face styles:
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2016
This week I received a wonderful surprise in the mail from the lovely team at DK publishing. Back in August I was asked to illustrate a pair of fitting ingredients for the cover of their new book "Cook Healthy & Quick". The only request was that the paintings were soft so that they wouldn't overpower the photography. I actually finished four pea pods in varying ways so that they could choose their favourite. This was my first time working for Dorling Kindersley and they were lovely to work with.
Seeing my work on the finished book cover is fantastic, and I'm incredibly pleased with the results!
My lemon illustration was also used in its entirety on the reverse side of the jacket.
The book is a new release this month (January 2016) and is packed full of excellent healthy recipes.
To see more from this project visit the "work" section.
Radio Times magazine recently asked me to create another spot illustration for their radio listings. This time it was for BBC Radio 4's "Natural Histories Live: The Big Story".
"Lions, sharks, whales and apes are four well-known A-list groups of animals that have got under our skin, enthralled us with their wildness and inspired literature, film, myth and legend. But so have cockroaches and fleas and the much lesser-known burbot and mandrakes. Radio 4’s Natural Histories series has brought 25 groups of animals and plants together across 25 episodes to tell the stories of nature’s influences on human culture from across the globe. The Big Story, a special live event presented by satirical comedian Rory Bremner and Natural Histories presenter Brett Westwood tells a story of the earth from dinosaurs to people. With comedy, music, readings and discussion all recorded live in the spectacular Hinze Hall of the Natural History Museum, this programme tells a uniquely Big Story of 100 million years’ worth of natural history."
Being a huge lover of nature and natural history in general, as well as being a big fan of the Natural History Museum in London, I was obviously very pleased to work on this one. I was full of ideas but also had the challenge of fitting it all into small, narrow dimensions, (and a tight deadline)! After narrowing the ideas down, here is the finished piece.
The following are some of my rough sketches where I was working out the composition!
The Radio Times Christmas Issue is now on sale around the UK.
"Natural Histories Live: The Big Story" will air on December 23rd, 8.00 pm on Radio 4.
You can also listen to all 25 episodes of the "Natural Histories" radio show on the BBC iPlayer Radio website.
Artwork and Photography (C) Amy Holliday 2015
A simple logo design for a new small business in Denton, Texas, called "Sassenach's Honey". Made using my existing honey bee illustration with a delicious honey-effect font.
I was very surprised and excited to hear that Angus, the Lord Snizzort of Trotternish himself has his first fan-creation! This incredible costume was created by Olivia Laking of Madoli Design. The details are spot-on!
Angus is the main character in a book I illustrated last year for children's author Kelly McGill.
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2015
Angus Lord Snizzort of Trotternish (C) Kelly McGill 2015
Angus stage costume by Olivia Laking. For more info visit www.madolidesign.co.uk
A quick painting of a seasonal critter... hope everyone has a great Halloween!
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2015
Shortly after I created some fruity illustrations for California Fruit Wine Co.'s labels, a second batch was needed. This time it was "Pumpkin Spice" and Cranberry, whose flavours have just been released for the Fall/Autumn season. Yum!
Way back at the start of the year, I was asked to create some fruity label illustrations for the fabulous California Fruit Wine Co. The San Diego winery is the pioneer producer of all natural wines handcrafted from fruits other than grapes.
I illustrated each fruit separately and then placed pairs together where needed, working within the format of the labels. The style of the series is based on my own pineapple illustration (you might recognise!) from last year.
A little experiment with a simple subject matter, the humble but super healthy avocado fruit. A lot of people believe the majority of my work is made with watercolour and ink, yet this is not the case as I usually don't use any ink. So! I thought I would give ink a go - here is a comparison showing the two techniques on different illustrations of the same subject.
Here is my regular go-to technique, simply graphite and watercolour:
And below are more avocado studies, this time using watercolour and ink:
I really enjoyed using the ink with my watercolour - surprisingly it is also a little quicker to complete than my usual graphite and watercolour technique. It does seem to create a different overall look to the illustration, perhaps a more fun, sketchy vibe than the traditional, more polished feel the graphite exudes. I will definitely continue to experiment with more watercolour + ink illustrations.
Do you have a favourite out of the two styles? Let me know your preference in the comments! :)
Artwork (C) Amy Holliday 2015. Please do not use without permission.