All posts by Inspire by Kim

Illustration, Artworks with PR/ Marketing context. All work copyrighted. @inspirebykim

Decisions and Time Saving Tips

I’m busy working on the Ski A-Z book. Painting, writing, designing spreads and what has astounded me lately is the sheer number of decisionsi I am making every day.

Decisions about what to illustrate, where each line should be, I have a tip on this read on to see. What colour to choose, which brush – wet brush or dry, how far to dip the brush for the right amount of water, stroke direction, which colour to add for darker shades. Thousands of adjustments, choices, micro-decisions.

I am getting quicker, not that I was slow as I dip, paint, brush, dip, stroke, wet. I might apply more water to go lighter or might use the apply and and then dab to remove technique – choosing the optimal moment, to give the right impression of the fabric texture, to in effect unpick the paint (like when unpicking in sewing, but here doing it deliberately in order to add a highlight,

The right line – I have found that when drawing the right line is often between the first line and the second line. For example when drawing, if a line doesn’t look right and is overdrawn the right line will often be between the two. So I’m learning to not go so far to the second line and finding I can reduce the number of lines to get to the sketch that I want to use as the basis for my illustration. A time saving hack for my practice, And time is key at present as I steadily move towards the content deadline for the Ski A-Z book.

I’ve another time saving hack which is my lightbox – had it for long time with it languishing under utilised. It has since become a daily tool and probably the more time saving £15 I have EVER spent. Placing my sketch on the light box and painting backlit has saved soooo much time, removing the need to trace my completed sketch onto paper whilst avoiding unwanted pencil lines and rubber residue at the same time!

The process after drawing and honing the sketch was – trace, prep the reverse, trace on and then as I’m too heavy on the pencil, rub back to just visible. The light box has taken away all of these drawing stages. Happy dance – ideal for someone like me who gets bored quickly with monotonous processes.

This does mean, sadly, that I’ve not been able to work on watercolour paper blocks, but time is key at present.

Here are the latest posts from my Instagram, it’s a little less busy than normal there as I’m incredibly busy making the book. But watch this space for news on the book release plans.

Ski sun. Reinforcing the message about eye protection in the mountains they have their goggles on.

I’ve been going back to my roots for these illustrations.

I so enjoyed painting and reminiscing for this piece. Remembering sizzling hot summer days racing on the dry ski slopes.

I always enjoyed dual slalom the most of all and Summer Race League which was slalom in the morning and dual slalom in the afternoon.

The cows chewed grass just over the wall and pretty foxgloves grew by the ski lift track.

Ski Rossendale where I enjoyed my early years. If we weren’t there we were at another dry ski slope, our family travelled the length and breadth of Britain ski racing. Happy days.

Happy days ski racing in the hot sunshine. ❤️☀️⛷

Hot weather dry slope race days had a great atmosphere with friends and family enjoying the sunshine whilst watching the races.

Spectators would have their folding chairs, picnic rugs, parasols, and cool boxes of food and drink. It was a bit like beach meets skiing.

I recall fondly the camaraderie and joking when all of the racers were waxing our skis at the top of the slope.

Ice skater illustration for the Ski A-Z which will be part of a spread of other activities to enjoy on a ski trip.

It was great to be back on the ice this week after such a long time of rink closures and restrictions.

I learned to skate in a ski resort, fell in love with skating in Les Arcs, France. There was a rink by our apartment and due to growing knees skiing was painful so I skated lots that holiday.

Things don’t always go to plan and we experience setbacks. “Get up and dust yourself off”, they say. If anyone is struggling to get back up, know that there are better days ahead.

Time to go glacier skiing. I painted this alarm clock and then sewed the clock hands on to illustrate that you’ve got to start earlier for a glacier ski day in the summer months. The warmer temperatures make the snow melt and become heavy, so the early skier gets the great morning snow. See a stop motion animation of the alarm clock on my Instagram feed. https://www.instagram.com/inspirebykim/

Thinking of a powder snow day, so deep that you need a snorkel to ski.

Deep, light, dreamy snow to bounce through.

Ski illustration with a mermaid vibe, bringing together two things I love, skiing and snorkelling.

Thank-you!

Thank so much for reading, I really do appreciate the support. Have a wonderful day and may you find joy and love.

Kim

Extreme Skiing Book Illustrations

I’m celebrating my work being published in a brand new book by an Extreme Skier in the United States. I was commissioned to create 24 bespoke illustrations for the book. It is wonderful to see my work in print.

I’m delighted to be able to now share the story of the extreme skiing illustrations I created this winter for the new book of Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur – 30 Years In A White Haze.

The Work

I created 24 illustrations in November and December 2020 for the third book of renowned US extreme skier Dan Egan.

Having seen my ski A-Z work, the US Hall of Fame skier Dan Egan, star of many of Warren Miller’s breathtaking ski films, asked me to create illustrations of his ski life for his third book.

It was fabulous, and a great distraction from lockdown restrictions, to be able to spend time vicariously in mountainous environments, creating high-adrenalin action art for 30 Years in a White Haze.

Anyone who knows my work knows that I’m a huge fan of colour, but I accepted and relished the challenge of conveying the excitement and thrills of Dan’s extreme skiing career, in black and white tones. It was key to show energy, movement, big air and Dan’s likeness in the artworks.

The Illustration Process

The Back Story

When I was growing up, our ski club, at the artificial ski slope in Rossendale, Lancashire, (England) used to hold Warren Miller film screening events each year. I loved the films and was in awe of the jaw-dropping stunts; so I was honoured when Dan asked me to create illustrations for his new book.

The Illustrations

With just a few weeks to go until the day that the book would go to be published I created 24 bespoke illustrations.

I worked in black and white tones of watercolour paints, and sometimes digital art, to capture and represent the excitement and thrills of extreme skiing.

Dan originally asked me for 15 artworks, I’m pleased to say that he liked the work so much he commissioned a further 9 pieces, it meant long days working, but it was fun. “Wow. The illustrations are amazing! You up for few more? “, Dan said.

Dan commissioned work from 4 other illustrators for the book. This investment in fresh ski art is wonderful. Art can cross boundaries, Dan was in New Hampshire, US and I was in Sheffield, UK, yet we were able to work together across the miles.

This short video gives a flavour of my extensive work for the book and the process.

Illustrating Skiing

I’ve skied since I was five years old including racing, teaching, and later promoting ski holidays. In January 2020 after a day skiing in Les 3 Vallees, France, I started what has now become a considerable project – the Ski A-Z, an illustrated glossary of the sport, that I hope will be published during 2021. It was this work which Dan saw on Linked In and prompted the work for his book.

My ski illustrations are intended to resonate with avid skiers, and attract new people to the sport, by demonstrating the exhilaration and joy of skiing. Through my work I want to encourage people to find and feel joy, to feel uplifted and inspired.

The Work In Print

I’m incredibly proud to see my work in the book. Every time I turn a page and see another of my illustrations the feeling is magic.

I’m so enjoying the reading the book. This sums it up…

“Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur’s Thirty Years in a White Haze is not only a story about Dan Egan’s worldwide adventures and the evolution of extreme skiing, but also a visual tour through the history, places, and relationships that help define both Egan and the sport of skiing.

To capture the joy, craft, and diversity of people and places readers encounter in the text, the book features custom illustrations sprinkled throughout the story. Egan called on the help of talented artists and designers to make this mixed media presentation come to life.” Said the ‘White Haze’ team.

Get A Copy

Dan said, “The book’s available on Amazon, on Barnes and Noble, on all the big retailers. It is also available at white-haze.com and if, of course, if you just Google ‘Dan Egan White Haze’, it pops right up. Shortly we’ll also have the audio book and the Kindle book. Next Fall, we’re going to release a special limited edition hardcover copy of the book. The book’s really special, you know, it has a lot of different elements in it. Of course, it has our story in it but each chapter opens up with beautiful illustrations.”

Unfortunately for many people in the UK and Europe there isn’t presently the opportunity, to ski the mountains; Dan’s book is a great way to get a ski fix until next being able to enjoy the slopes.

Thank You!

So a big thank you to Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur for this amazing opportunity, I am very grateful, and will treasure the book.

To be able to produce commissioned illustrations on a theme which is so much part of my existence was a wonderful opportunity, especially having seen Warren Miller films from such an early age.

Thank you to my husband for his support and being a helpful sounding board during this project. Thank you to my Mum and Dad for their dedication to our skiing and the wonderful mountain experiences that defined our upbringing.

Thank you to everyone who follows my work and supports with Likes, Comments and Shares, it really does mean a lot and makes it possible to keep going.

I’m delighted now to be able to speak about the project and show the work. If you’d like to know more please get in touch.

Bye for now

Kim

Latest blog posts…

Avalanche, Zest and Zen

The latest illustrations for the Ski A-Z book are for the contrasting subjects of Avalanche, Zest and Zen.

Avalanche Essentials

Avalanche Kit Essentials – new page illustration on a serious subject for the Ski A-Z book. This will follow the lighter mood Apres-Ski illustration.

Training for Avalanche scenarios is advisable as part of a tool kit of knowledge and equipment.

Concept inspired by the @actionman_official toy kits that my brother had when we children.

Illustration prompted by the many people who tragically lost their lives in avalanches this season.

Zest

The exhilaration, full body workout, fresh air and stunning scenery makes skiing a fabulous way to switch off from the daily grind, to get new perspective, and to revitalise the spirit.

Ski illustration on a citrus theme for @makeartthatsells Bootcamp, doubling up for the Ski A-Z.

I love the idea of skiing through beautiful citrus flowers that have fallen. Really enjoyed creating this piece.

This is a truly multimedia piece, the mountains are sewn using free motion embroidery techniques (on my trusty Bernina sewing machine) and there’s watercolour and digital work.

Zen

Z for ‘Zen’ in the Ski A-Z book.

Zen mountain meditation to illustrate time to enjoy restorative calm.

I find that after the exhilaration of the day on the mountain there is a quiet satisfying stillness. It’s like the vibration of the body is calmed; and the muscles are relaxed, soft and numb feeling, in a good way, after the dynamism of the sport.

Painted in watercolour, metallic inks, and with diamanté jewels.

I’ll be completing the Ski A-Z book in the coming months, follow to see the project progress to fruition.

Here are the latest posts… thanks so much for being here.

Citrus Sport Illustrations – Journal Design Concept

I thoroughly enjoyed my latest project to design a journal concept. I developed the ‘Joynal’ concept – a lovely book in which to note and track fun times, and joyful days.

The Brief

The starting point for the brief was a citrus and candy colour palette which we were then asked to develop into a journal concept. The brief was from Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells (MATS) Bootcamp for illustrators. I study with MATS as I can feel progression in my work during the course of a project.

My colour palette design created from the colour prompts provided

My ‘Joynal’ Journal Concept

Here’s my final journal design, inspired by Lilla’s advice to “create a journal you would love to own”. The journal design features fabulous female characters enjoying favourite activities and sports; with the citrus concept running throughout in the form of orange, lime, grapefruit and citrus flower iconography.

I’ve been creating many ski illustrations in recent months, so I’ve been keen to explore illustrating other sports, and this was a great opportunity to do so.

The idea of skiing through fallen citrus blossom is just blissful, and I’m looking forward to getting back to tennis and swimming after this lockdown. Cycling is presently a great escape from the routine of home; the countryside and big open skies are so refreshing.

My Journal Design Concept – Available for License at the time of publishing

The journal pages will be unlined coloured paper which can take some watercolour painting. To accompany the book design is a wipe-clean bookmark concept on which to write intentions, goals, or a bucket list; with a pretty, colour coordinating, tassel. The journal concept includes a dry-wipe glitter pen and citrus heart paperclips.

Things To Spot

Favourite elements to spot are the sea turtle, stingray, embroidered mountains, grapefruit sun lounger, the orange slice bike wheels, and the pink grapefruit heart motif.

How It Was Created

It was fun to explore for the brief, and I was very at home with the colour palette as it has a number of my favourite hues.

Watercolour icons and hand lettering

The illustrations were created in watercolours, free-motion embroidery on textiles that I have previously dyed/printed, and digital drawing in Procreate. Compositions were worked out on rough sketches.

The hand lettered journal and bookmark titles were created in watercolours and are embellished in the lace effect pieces that I created on my trusty Bernina sewing machine.

Additional Citrus Themed Outcomes

During the course of the project I created these two zesty refreshing citrus themed pieces. They remind me of hot sunny days, holidays and beach resorts (UK and overseas).

Citrus Ice Lolly Spot Illustration
Citrus and Candy Cocktail Spot Illustration

Products and Tools

These were those used in the project and which I am happy to recommend:

Kuretake Watercolours, Dr Ph Martin’s Liquid Watercolours, Arches Cold Pressed 300gsm Watercolour Paper, Colourcraft Transfer Paints, Bernina sewing machine, and Procreate app on the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

And finally

I really enjoyed the journal brief, citrus prompt and colour palette. Thanks so much for a great brief Lilla. If you’d like to see all the Journal designs created in response to this brief you can see them at this link…

If you’d like bespoke art or illustrations, or to license existing work please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks so much for being here. Please share with friends who’ll enjoy these illustrations.

Have a zesty, zingy day with plenty of what you love

Love and luck

Kim

Latest Projects

Extreme Skiing Book Illustrations

I’m celebrating my work being published in a brand new book by an Extreme Skier in the United States. I was commissioned to create 24 bespoke illustrations for the book. It is wonderful to see my work in print. Illustrations by Kim for new book 30 Years in A White Haze by Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur #30yearsinawhitehaze

Ski A-Z Cover Design

I’m delighted to share that I’ve completed the Ski A-Z book cover design which I’ve been developing over the past month.

The Cover Design

It’s a bright, bold design with three cover stars supporting the title letters in a mountain setting, The book will appeal to both those wanting to find out more about the sport, and to seasoned skiers.

Here’s the cover mocked up on a coffee table setting with ski themed props to bring the book concept to life. Notice the ceramic snowflake as a coaster for the edelweiss coffee cup.

The Book Concept

The Ski A-Z book concept – a practical, informative, fun, illustrated glossary of skiing with hints, tips and advice.

It’s the kind of book that you’d recommend to the friend that wants to get into skiing, it’s a gift for a ski lover, it’s a conversation starter for an evening in the chalet during your holiday.

The Design Process

I created the background and skiing characters in watercolours and ink, used a glue gun to give the letters texture and composed it digitally in Procreate.

My mini model Bruce posing for this character’s painting.

I had an idea to animate some of the book characters ‘excited to meet the readers’ to demonstrate the energy of the book.

Watch This Space…

Watch this website, my Instagram or Facebook page for updates on the project.

Here are posts about my latest work. Thanks so much for following my blog. Please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues who will enjoy it.

Enjoy!

Kim

The Social Life of Forests – Editorial Illustration

My latest work is an editorial illustration inspired by The New York Times Magazine article, ‘The Social Life of Forests’ by Ferris Jabr.

Final illustration created with cut paper, watercolour, inks and digital.

The concept demonstrates the fungal networks through which trees can ‘communicate’.

“Carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones can pass from tree to tree through these subterranean circuits.” Reported Ferris Jabr on the research findings of Suzanne Simard.

The Creative Process

After some Internet research on fungus I left home to see what I could find. The collage shows just some of the varieties I saw on two fungus spotting research walks.

I was surprised how much more there was to observe in forests when I looked closely.

Through rough illustrations I played with concepts and compositions. At the rough stage I explored a map concept, but decided to settle with the ‘above and below ground cross-section’ scene for the final piece. Can you tell that I like alliterations?

I painted elements for the final piece in watercolours.

Watercolour on 100% Cotton Paper

(This concept was explored alongside more general concepts for communication, the illustrations created are shown in this previous blog post. Connectivity, Love and Partnerships)

I used the paintings along with carefully cut crinkled paper, all assembled digitally in Procreate app,

Finally I created a 14 second animated version of the illustration. See more of my art ‘movies’ here.

This is the New York Times Magazine article, for if you’d like to know more about this fascinating way that trees communicate – The Social Life of Trees by Ferris Jabr.

The brief by Lilla Rogers, of Make Art That Sells, was for Editorial Illustration Live 2021.

I’m presently busy working on the Ski A-Z book, so watch this space. My latest posts follow.

Thanks so much for your support. Have a great day.

Kim

Self Portrait Progession

As I needed a new profile image I painted a fresh self portrait. As an illustrator it doesn’t feel appropriate to use a photograph for professional social media profiles. It’s an opportunity to give a sense of myself and my work.

Watercolour on 100% paper February 2021

Lovely illustration agent, and teacher, Lilla Rogers reviewed my Instagram feed in November and seeing the following portrait gave some advice which I’ve now had the opportunity to put into practice.

Watercolour – November 2020

As I’m developing my illustration skills my self portrait timeline is a measure of ongoing artistic development. I’m sharing this as I’m pleased with the progression, and to bare my past work in the hope that this inspires people to keep practicing at whatever you wish to improve. The portraits below go gradually farther back in time.

Watercolour on canvas – September 2020

A self-portrait can possibly be seen as self-indulgence but a lot can be learned by learning to observe and portray the features. As it’s face one sees most often, although in reflection, and it’s always available as a subject it’s a helpful subject to draw or paint.

Ink on paper – December 2017

Learning the techniques, materials, surface, observation, brush dexterity and choice of hues all plays a part in this progression. I find myself using a range of brush sizes, tube and cake watercolours, and am very surprised that I am often holding a magnifying glass to paint tiny details.

Charcoal on A1 size paper (huge) – July 2016

I use the mantra – Practice Makes Better, as I don’t believe in perfect; and I think that the pressure of attaining perfection can stifle experimentation, and thus can also inhibit progress. So I practice, practice, practice…

Acrylic paints on Canvas – March 2016

I look forward, next, to simplifying my portrait and maybe using a concept to communicate more. Here’s to seeing where the future leads.

Watercolour on paper – February 2016

The below is a bit of an anomaly, I feel it’s quite good compared with some of what came after, but no path is ever completely straight.

Markers on Paper, Then Digital – February 2016

I’m sharing this because everyone has to start somewhere, and is a beginner at the start of a new endeavour.

Enjoying the journey, whilst developing is, in my opinion, a wonderful exploration. I wish you luck in your creative practice and those activities at which you’re determined to get better. What is it you want to develop skills at? I’m interested to know how you motivate yourself forwards?

Here’s to a creative 2021, hopefully one where we can all enjoy more freedom.

Bye and sincere thanks for being here.

Kim

Cosy Decor and Sweet Treats

I’m presently working on a number of concurrent projects, here are a few fun creations which I’ve instinctively wanted to create for my own enjoyment.

There is cosy decor and sweet treats in this post so I hope you enjoy it.

Belgian Waffle and Berries

The latest in my Pretty Puddings series of paintings. Since last summer I’ve been doing art chats with my friend, we create art whilst chatting on Zoom. It’s a lovely way to connect through these difficult times.

A delicious delightful sunlit dessert painted in watercolours. And yes that strawberry was immense.

Relaxing Reading Space

Home decor painting based on a space that I curated at home. Featuring my favourite furniture items the yellow Art Deco chair and my mid-century teak G-Plan Astro table.

Painted in watercolours on 100% cotton paper.

Gingerbread Gift Box Birthday Cake

My husband likes cake and also gingerbread so I brought the two together for his birthday. The chocolate and vanilla tiered cake was ‘bursting’ out of a gingerbread box with gift ribbon and bow.

I made cardboard templates for the gift box and lid, which I built using ceramics handbuilding techniques learned at The Art House in Sheffield.

I used the Mary Berry gingerbread house recipe and adjusted the quantities to suit my plan. Fizzy Rainbow Belts from M&S worked well as gift ribbon and present bow.

This latest gingerbread build follows the two storey ski chalet I made at Christmas.

Art for well-being

I thoroughly enjoyed creating these and to be distracted by creating is wonderful respite from all that us going on, painting presently feels very meditative. I find that my breathing slows, I relax and I know when I’ve found the sweet spot of art when I find myself singing. I’m grateful that despite being in lockdown there aren’t restrictions on creative materials or home based art activities.

I’ve been listening to the wonderful Creative Pep Talk podcast which is insightful and inspiring. It’s great to listen to when making, it can help distract the conscious mind, so I can create with my subconscious mind instead. I’m interested in hearing other people’s experience of where mentally they find they make their best work and/or feel most in flow with the creative process. Feel free to comment below about your experiences.

If you’re interested in see my previous gingerbread builds and sweet pudding paintings they are at these links…

Chalet in Gingerbread

Gingerbread Adventures

Pretty Pudding Paintings

Here’s my review of 2020

2020 Review

And here are my latest posts.

Thanks so much. Enjoy whatever makes your heart sing.

Kim

Connectivity, Love and Partnerships

These editorial illustrations are prompted by the #matseditoriallive ‘Communication’ brief. I hope you enjoy seeing them.

My latest watercolour work for a project about connectivity, poignant at this time whilst we cannot meet and be with loved ones.

Connectivity

The phone is the gateway to family and friends whilst we can’t visit them.

Messages, voice, and video time together.

Partnerships

A sweet concept for the illustration prompt ‘partnerships’.

I saw a couple riding their bikes holding hands in Spain, I was enchanted, so romantic and implies such a close bond.

My husband and I love biking as it feels so free and open to the air and weather. It’s rather a muddy activity with the current ground conditions though.

Love through letters

Love comes through the letterbox, whilst we cannot meet in person. Holding something that a loved one has written and held can make us feel closer, and can reduce the miles between. Royal Mail carries the love between us and helps it flow.

We will hug again

Lockdown 3 is teaching me that I love hugs. I look forward to when it is safe and legal to hug all the people I love (not all at once).

These ladies are two beautiful souls.

Love friends

I’m confess, I’m missing my friends. Made this watercolour animation where the love travels like a balloon caught on the breeze to go safely between us across the distance, and above the restrictions of lockdown 3.

There will be so much joy when we can meet and spend time together, and can be in the same place.

Making ‘love’

Creativity is such a blessing at this time. I find drawung, painting, and sewing feed the soul and help self expression, and can calm emotions.

I painted my sewing machine, and my favourite sewing equipment in the same colour palette.

I hope you are managing to connect with those you love, and that you’re doing ok. Aren’t these such strange times we are living in!

Thanks for your support; making the work is keeping me going. I’m determined to refine and reduce the space between what I conceive and what I create.

If you like the work please give it a ‘Like’ and share it with those to whom it might be a comfort. I’m grateful for feedback and shares as it really helps me to keep making new work if I feel it is making some kind of positive difference.,

Here are my most recent blog posts. Please pop back soon, some exciting news is imminent.

Many thanks

Kim

Thank you for reading to the end.

Have a lovely day.

Chalet in Gingerbread

My final creation of 2020 was a two storey chalet with balcony in gingerbread. This was continuing the Ski theme which was key for my work in 2020.

The chalet had an overhanging roof, shutters, chimney, a log pile, and sugar windows in warm hues.

The Design and Construction Process

The chalet was based on one which I painted earlier in the year.

I drew the chalet design and then determined the pieces required before cutting card templates for each piece.

Once all the panels and components were baked and beautifully golden the construction could begin, with edible glue and royal icing to hold in place.

LED fairy lights, paper skis, poles, and a painted background completed the scene. I added snowflakes using the Procreate snowflake brushes that I’ve made.

Skis in place.

Gingerbread construction is a lovely thing to do, I find ceramic hand building techniques useful in this process.

I used the Mary Berry recipe for the dough, I’ve used this before to make two gingerbread houses, and a gingerbread car, each time using my own templates.

See the stories of those in the links at the foot of this post.

I completed the house on New Year’s Eve, and so the year closed. A challenging but creative year ended. See my highlights of 2020 at the link below.

2020 Review

Previous Gingerbread Projects

Gingerbread Adventures

Happy Christmas Illustration

Thanks so much for being here.

Kim

Recent Projects…