Category Archives: Art Challenges

Pretty Pudding Paintings

Food became a primary activity and the the highlight of the day during lockdown, both in terms of preparing it and enjoying eating.

In this personal project I’ve painted a series of pretty puddings.

A sunny, caramelly Portuguese tart (Pastéis de Nata) complemented with strawberries, raspberries and sprigs of fresh mint.
Reminiscent of lovely Lisbon.

By trying to make desserts photo worthy I found they could become delightful treats to add some joy to the days. Using images of our real puddings as the starting point I designed these sweet illustrations.

Painting feels meditative for me and it doesn’t get much better than painting a pudding, purely for pleasure. It can feel as indulgent as eating the thing,

Dairy-free ice cream with fresh strawberries, wafers and a sprig of mint leaves in my favourite wavy cornet style bowl.
Painted with a bun standing in for the ice cream, which would have melted too soon.

Sometimes I have the dessert in front of me so there’s the incentive to paint until the piece is completed in one sitting, then I can enjoy consuming the still life whilst it’s fresh.

Work in progress – the painting and the prize!

As ice-cream melts there’s a lot of observation whilst eating, and remembering involved in painting them.

Berry ice-cream boules atop a wafer cone with @hotelchocolat chocolates. New painting adapted from an ice-cream I enjoyed earlier this summer.

Thanks so much for being here. Feel free to take a look around. See my new work as it’s created on my Instagram feed. Get in touch for bespoke illustrations, email inspirebykim@outlook.com

These are related posts, and my latest posts follow those.

Enjoy.

Kim x

Ice-Cream Signs

Ice-Cream Van Bag Design

My Life in Paper

Bob The Balloon – Children’s Book Illustrations

I hadn’t considered that children’s books was an area I wanted to explore, but knew that my drawing skills and illustration techniques would progress by doing the Illustrating Children’s Books course.

However, what I experienced during the intensive five week course was a wonderful journey through the process of creating characters and their world.

Book cover mock up with props

The Make Art That Sells course was a live global gathering of aspiring and professional illustrators having a wonderful shared experience towards a common goal.

I chose Zoë Tucker’s story about a balloon with wanderlust to travel the world; a feeling which I imagine a lot of people can relate to this year.

My initial concept for the characters

I decided early in the process that Bob would be a heart shaped balloon, as our world needs love.

Accessorising Bob – fun but fussy

In the story Bob the balloon lives with his best friend Bug in a lighthouse; until he’s gusted away on an unexpected magical adventure.

Bug looked out at me from a page of my character sketches

I created Bob using four small heart balloons (blue, pink, teal and purple), overlaid digitally and areas selected to give Bob’s unique colours, highlights, shadows and transparency. I added facial features to one of them to help with three quarter, side, high and low angle perspectives.

The balloons which altogether make up the character Bob

The challenge then was to demonstrate Bob and Bug’s different emotions, whilst keeping the characters and colour palette consistent.

Conveying a range of emotions and interactions between the two characters

Initially I thought that Bob might change colour with his feelings but then decided to keep the main shade of blue consistent. The real balloons were helpful in understanding the form, movement, bulging and deflation characteristics for Bob.

Animation frames for Bob bouncing on a river, studying the globe and observing a ladybird which Bug is drawing.

Whilst considering the character motivations I felt that Bug’s fascination with the balloon (Bob) may have been due to physical limitations, maybe she wished she could be light and rise off the ground. I experienced such yearnings after major knee injury, so could relate to these feelings. Therefore I developed Bug’s character to represent a person who is assisted to move around using a wheelchair, whether this be temporary (due to injury), or ongoing.

Character poses for Bug, using her imagination.

It was a criteria of the course to demonstrate the character in different action poses to give the character life.

Lighthouse inspired by Amsterdam architecture and a love of gardens.

The culmination of the course was a double page spread (16 x 10) inches of a scene from the book. I chose to represent a sunset scene where Bug is telling Bob stories of far away lands in her cosy nook bed. I made a pop-up book to include in the scene and made it cast a shadow on the wood panelling behind Bug. I added my watercolour paintings as wall art and soft furnishings. The globe form is inspired by a garden ornament at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire.

Bug is telling Bob stories of faraway places.

By conveying emotions that draw the reader and child into the narrative, they will care about the characters. I wanted to demonstrate the connection between the characters and to give them a place to exist which is in a consistent style and medium.

The final task was to create the book cover, important for point of sale marketing whether viewed on a book shop shelf or as a tiny thumbnail on Amazon.

Bob flies through the travel themed cover design

Thanks to Make Art That Sells, art agent Lilla Rogers and children’s book author/art director Zoë Tucker for a fabulous course and the wealth of informative content, sketch prompts, and weekly assignments. I felt my work shift forward enormously during the five weeks. I invested a lot of time, was determined, and am pleased with the outcomes.

How the final book would look.

Thanks also the the many insects who landed close by me during the course, which seemed quite serendipitous.

Grasshopper, beetle and ladybird.

Mediums used include inks, gouache, watercolours, cut paper for the pop up book, and digital techniques.

I am open to illustration projects, editorial and children’s book illustrations so please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks for being here and following my work. I’m creating new work all the time so please pop back soon or head over to my Instagram space to see work as it is created. My latest posts follow and a link to an illustrated children’s book that I created a few years ago.

Thanks so much.

Kim x

The Dog Who Wanted To Fly – Illustrated Children’s Book

Snowy Children’s Book Illustrations

Building on the Reaching For The Stars artwork (image below) featured in the previous blog post, I explored the character further.

Reaching For The Stars

I set myself the challenge of creating the same illustration from a top down perspective, with each of the animals in the correct order and corresponding position to the original illustration.

Here’s the resulting painting of the animal tower and young Jelena reaching for the stars, supported by the animals as snowflakes fall from the sky. Jelena believe her late mother to be amongst the stars; the animals assist her in her goal to reach closer to the stars.

In order develop the character further I created a page of illustrations of Jelena’s accessories.

I then thought about how she would move, painting different poses that she would move through in a children’s book story.

This work grew out of the Ski A-Z Book that I am working on. You can see this work at these links.

Apres-Ski Illustration

Technical Ski Illustrations

A-Z of Ski – E for Exhilaration 

Thanks so much for being here on my website. I’m posting new work as its created on my Instagram feed so you might like to follow my work.

Here are my latest blog posts…

Bye for now.

Kim

Horse in Tulips

I decided to paint this Horse in Tulips after @mchorpash asked last week what was the hardest thing to draw, to which I said ‘Horses’. Seeing this majestic horse on our walk this past weekend made it the perfect opportunity. A weekend also filled with bountiful tulips for our wedding anniversary encouraged this composition painted … Continue reading Horse in Tulips

REACHING FOR THE STARS – CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATION

Children’s book illustration for the culmination of Jelena’s journey through a winter wonderland, to reach the stars.

“Grandma said Mummy is polishing the stars, so that they shine on me.”

My character Jelena (meaning Bright) is helped by the mountain animals to go closer to the stars, where she believes her late mother to be.

I’m delighted with this latest work. I can feel the progress, enjoyed painting it and am pleasantly surprised with the final piece. It’s already framed and on our wall.

Illustrated children's book page. Little girl Jelena lifted up by alpine wildlife.

Having lived with the next generation effects of childhood bereavement I wanted to create a work that speaks to children, and the child inside the adult, who lost their parent.

Jelena realises through the narrative that she is not alone, and is reassured by the support and kindness from her new animal friends.

The stars are so bright and you can see multitudes of them above the mountains, as there isn’t the light pollution. It can be breathtaking to walk at midnight in the snow and gaze up in wonder.

I created this painting for the Make Art That Sells #matsprep assignment. The inspiration for the mountain setting is from the Ski A-Z book that I am presently working on.

How This Piece Was Created…

I painted the alpine wildlife that we see when we visit the French Alps, and the Vanoise National Park.

I have often seen deer, foxes and wild boar whilst driving the mountain roads at night. The marmots we see emerging from hibernation in the spring, enjoying eating crocus as the snow melts away. I once encountered an imposing bouquetin at high altitude by the glacier near Val Thorens. We would also see herds of bouquetin grazing and fighting on the slopes of Champagny Le Haut. Mountain hare tracks can be seen from the chairlifts indicating their nocturnal presence. Whilst driving by Lake Annecy a family of five wild boar crossed the road ahead of us, parent and their young, so cute.

I also painted a Eurasian brown bear which lives in the Caucasus mountains of Russia, where we skied over bear tracks in the snow. Next to our hotel was a woodcarver’s yard where he whittled life sized bears from huge tree trunks. I chose a small carved bear as a souvenir of the trip. To read about heli-skiing in Russia click here.

Collage of the animal paintings

My first composition (below) felt predatory, I needed a less confrontational arrangement of the elements.

Therefore I chose a tower of animals, united in assistance for the story’s main character, painting them in a less literal style for the final artwork.

A3 Painting in progress, using masking fluid, watercolour paints and acrylic gouache.

I’m determined to keep learning and growing my skills through study of theory and techniques, practical art and colourful exploration. You can follow my blog to see work as it develops and the projects progress.

My intention is editorial illustration work, ideally the cover of Flow magazine, and commercial artwork for ‘change for good’ marketing campaigns. The big dream is an interactive art TV programme.

Here are my latest blog posts…

If you would like artwork to support a positive project please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks so much for being here.

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Many thanks

Kim

Painting on Location – Renishaw Hall

This beautiful view on my visit to Renishaw inspired me to paint.

I wanted to give a sense of the house and garden without being too literal.

I love to paint in the gardens but this is the first time it’s been dry enough to sit since lockdown restrictions lifted and the gardens reopened.

Here’s my watercolour, mostly painted on site and then completed in our garden.

See photos of my visit to beautiful Renishaw Hall Gardens on my Instagram. Blooms, boomerang videos and pollinators.

It’s a stunning place to visit in North-East Derbyshire.

I painted this floral watercolour at Renishaw Hall last summer.
This was the same day but a much softer piece. I like them both.

Which gardens do you love to visit, and why? Please comment, I’d love to know.

Here are my latest posts. Thanks for being here. Please ‘Like’ if you do and share with friends who may enjoy my work.

On the roof at Renishaw Hall

Love After Lockdown – Graphic Novel

I created this graphic novel page for ‘Make Art That Sells’ June Bootcamp Assignment.

As Lockdown restrictions are easing wedding planning can recommence for the couple’s big day. This opening image sets the context for the story.

I painted all of the elements in the story in Kuretaki watercolour paints and brought them together digitally for the A4 piece.

The MATS bootcamp brief gave photo portraits and a selection of items to spark a story. I’ve used these characters and woven the items together in a simple narrative with destination wedding and travel themes.

Here’s the final piece, intended as an A4 page. Zoom in to follow the narrative and see the detail of each of the artworks…

The rose farm poster is a small detail in the finished graphic novel but the A4 painting was one of my favourite pieces from the project, and the painted roses were then used throughout the final page.

These close up profile portraits were challenging but enjoyable to paint. I wanted to capture the joy of the wedding, and the relief and positivity after the uncertainty of lockdown.

MATS course leader Lilla Rogers gave an image of Issa Rae. I looked online for a joyful looking male to be her groom and chose an image which I later determined to be Jay Ellis. When I researched Jay Ellis I couldn’t believe it when I read that he co-stars with Issa Rae in a popular HBO TV programme ‘Insecure’. How bizarre a coincidence is that choosing them, when they are cast together romantically on TV!

This is my padlock inspired by the work of Alphonse Mucha, and also Hector Guimard’s Paris Metro designs. Playing with the idea of lockdown, and being locked together in love.

Catalina Island was prompted by a postcard in the initial brief. I enjoyed exploring the island virtually thanks to YouTube videos, and painted this scene for the location of the wedding.

I then developed the work into an animated video. Follow this link to see an animation of my graphic novel, which is over on my YouTube channel. Watch it here.

Thanks for being here. I’m developing my portfolio but presently have some availability for commercial and editorial illustration, and promotional work.

See my recent posts at these links.

Bye for now.

Kim

Beach Bag Illustration

Beaching can be a state of mind. For the past few years I’ve found that having a beach bag available for when relaxing in the garden can help transport oneself to the relaxation enjoyed whilst relaxing on holiday.


Months of lovely warm, sunny weather for most of lockdown have been ideal for garden beaching. I used the pretty colours of Inktense and my travel industry know how to illustrate the contents of a beaching, at home, bag.

Creating outdoors
Detail…

Here are my latest posts…

@baliparasol @derwentartofficial

Thanks so much for being here and taking the time to look at my work. I’m building my illustration portfolio. If you need bespoke art of illustrations to support a change for good project, please get in touch.

beach #holidayathome #staycation #travelinyourmind #illustration #beaching #illustrator #editorialillustration @makeartthatsells #theydrawandtravel #vacation #holiday #ink #inkart

Horse in Tulips

I decided to paint this Horse in Tulips after @mchorpash asked last week what was the hardest thing to draw, to which I said ‘Horses’.

Seeing this majestic horse on our walk this past weekend made it the perfect opportunity.

A weekend also filled with bountiful tulips for our wedding anniversary encouraged this composition painted in Acryla Gouache and metallic watercolour.

I enjoyed painting this work whilst video chatting with my good friend @dg_realise who was painting beautiful birds.


I’m pleased with the painting. Hoping I can identify the owner to show them the painting.

horses #tulips #illustrator #illustration #lovehorses #horseart #makeartthatsells #wipsandblooms #💐 #flowers #art #artistsoninstagram

Here are my latest posts…

Thanks for being here. Have a lovely day.

Kim

Ice-Cream and Fab Lolly Sign Designs

I’ve created some garden sign designs of ice-cream and ice lolly nostalgic summertime themes.

Ice-Cream painted sign. The wonderful, iconic 99 ice-cream, here in a tasty wafer cone, with chocolate at the end. 😋 Poster design to enhance the garden shed.
Adding some fun summer icons.

The second design, with the same colour palette, again in acrylic paints was themed on the Fab ice lolly.

Nice weather meant it was possible to get outside and paint.

Have a Fab day! Fab ice lolly themed poster art. Enjoyed painting this piece. Please scroll sideways to see the work.
Research was fun, and tasty 😋. The fab lolly is a product which is still going strong after more than 50 years!

Here is a related post…

Hot Days Eating Cool Ice-Cream

Here are my latest posts.

Thanks for being here. Please take a look at the work. You might want to check out my portfolio or might have an need for a bespoke artwork.

Bye for now.

Kim

H in the Ski A-Z Book

Here’s the latest instalment in the Ski A-Z Glossary book I am presently working on…

H is for Hot Chocolate, a delicious comfort for snow lovers if all ages on a cold day, Warming up with a cup of hot chocolate in a mountain hut, with a log fire crackling, is a treat that revives the spirit for the skiing ahead.

H is also for Hot Tub. Warming the muscles at the end of the day in a hot tub is a soothing way to relax. These can often be found in a hotel spa, but a warm bath with salts can be as effective, although less sociable.

I’ve combined the two to create this fun Hot Choc Hot Tub illustration.

H is for Helmet – an essential piece of ski kit especially for skiing fast and when venturing off the marked pistes. Ski helmets are warm and cosy, sometimes too warm, so those with air vents which can be open or closed are a helpful solution.

H is also for Heli-Skiing, when a helicopter drops you off on a remote peak and you ski on slopes that would otherwise be inaccessible. I previously shared an account of heli-skiing in Russia. This travel memoir will appear in the ‘H’ pages in the Ski A-Z book. Here is the link if you’ve not seen it.

Heli-Skiing Travel Memoir

Editorial Illustration

Next up will be ‘I’ – so watch this space and Follow, if you’re not already doing so to see the new book content as it is created.

Thanks for being here. These are links to the previous ski artworks and content…

Apres-Ski Illustration

Technical Ski Illustrations

A-Z of Ski – E for Exhilaration

Thanks for being here. Please Like and Share so more people can enjoy the work.

If you need bespoke illustrations for your project you can contact my by emailing inspirebykim@outlook.com

Here are my most recent posts…

I hope you enjoy seeing the work. I’m making new art all the time so watch this space.

Bye for now