Category Archives: Art Challenges

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

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…

2020 Review

I had a wonderful start to 2020 with skiing in France and Bulgaria, and little did I know when watching Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in March that it would be the last theatre visit of the year. Since we first went into lockdown in March my creative work has been enjoyable distraction and focus. As a result it’s been a productive year for my art and illustration work.

I have explored editorial illustration, children’s picture book work, and the themes of food and travel. Enjoyed the wonderful Make Art That Sells global community, and also the UK/US illustrator group that I’m blessed to be part of.

Ski Illustrations

After a day skiing in Les 3 Vallees, France I relaxed by painting ski related equipment.

This initiated the Ski A-Z book project which I have worked on throughout the year and will be in book form in early 2021.

Sharing these ski illustrations on social media led to an exciting client commission, which I will be able to reveal in the coming weeks – watch this space.

Here are my favourite ski illustrations of 2020 (that aren’t embargoed). I find that often the favourite pieces are breakthroughs in terms of the detail, materials, and/or techniques.

My intention with the project has been to demonstrate the joy and emotions of skiing and related activities in a way that is often less apparent in photographic images.

There are people who are at their happiest when skiing, unfortunately many of them aren’t able to ski at present, I hope they can feel some comfort by seeing the work and vicariously having some ski escapism.

More about this work at this link Night Skiing and TOP 9

Ski Prints

I’ve had a number of people requests prints of the ski work, so I’m pleased to reveal that I’ll be producing limited edition prints in 2021. Follow my blog for more details when they’re available. If there are ski illustrations that you’d like to be included in the selection made into prints please email me inspirebykim@outlook.com

Top 9 of 2020

Here are my overall favourite 9 pieces of 2020 across ski, travel, food and character design…

I worked hard on the first to show an expression of joy in this freestyle skiing pose. The second was a children’s book character I created for the Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children’s Books briefs. The third was a painting of juxtaposed elements of our biking holiday in Flamborough, the stunning scenery and incredible bird life.

The fourth was for an illustrated travel memoir of heli-skiing in Russia. The fifth is a conceptual illustration for Apres-Ski fun, my entry for the AOI World Illustration Awards. Sixth was my favourite piece from a number of dessert illustrations.

Seventh – the delightful feeling of calm and seclusion when enjoying some quiet time after skiing, warm and snuggly as the temperatures drop outside. I contacted Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards for a quote about the feeling of flying, and created this illustration from images that at Eddie provided. The ninth was a festive illustration/animation of steel deliveries at Santa’s Metal Workshop, commissioned by steel stockholder K Steels for their social media channels.

A particular highlight of lockdown, and since, were regular ‘Art Chats’ with my friend. We simultaneously worked on our individual creative projects on video calls. Being able to see the development of each other’s work, and to get ‘work in progress’ feedback, was helpful, I have found that chatting can help to divert the conscious mind and allow the subconscious to create in flow; the art nirvana that one can experience in particular circumstances and creative activities.

In the course of the chats my friend created an entire 2021 calendar of bird watercolours. You can see his work at

@dgrealise

For me personally good has to come out if a challenging situation, and thus I’ve made it a productive year with development of my skills and evolution of my illustration work. Here’s to a good 2021. Enjoy this short illustrated gif…

Thank you for each view, like, comment and all the support in 2020. Sharing my work gives me the impetus to continue to create, and to push myself to be able to more and more effectively express concepts visually.

It is always my mission to spread joy and inspiration so I hope that it contributes to the positive vibes going out into the world consciousness.

Read more about the key 2020 projects

Apres-Ski Illustration

Christmas 2020 Steel Illustrations

Pretty Pudding Paintings

Love After Lockdown – Graphic Novel

Bob The Balloon – Children’s Book Illustrations

Thanks so much for being here. Feel free to ‘Like’ the post if you do; and if you’ve friends who’d also be interested please share it with them.

Here’s to a great 2021. Hoping you have freedom to enjoy everything you wish for.

Find your joy

Love and luck

Kim x

Here’s are my latest posts:

Christmas 2020 Steel Illustrations

Here is the strategic Christmas illustration for Lancashire and Yorkshire based steel stockholders K Steels.

The illustration

K Steels wanted a still and animated festive illustration to reinforce the key messages ‘Great service and quick delivery’, and main steel product lines box section, steel plate and steel beam. The artwork was for use on social media and customer communication.

The animated version of the illustration

The setting is Santa’s Metal Workshop where the elves are busy unloading much needed steel. We see the edge of the production line where elves are busy manufacturing and welding. Santa is supervising and is very happy with the great K Steels steel and service.

I created the illustration and animation in the brand colours using photo montage of the wagons and hand drawn digital art on iPad and pencil in Procreate app. Watch the process from the final pencil sketch to animation in this quick time-lapse.

In addition to the illustration and gif I created a video version.

If you would like bespoke brand visuals, or have an idea that you would like to see visualised then email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com or complete the Illustration Request Form on my homepage.

This is the third successive year that I have created Christmas illustrations for the company. I’ve been working hard to progress my skills and techniques during these years.

What next?

Next you might want to take a look at these related posts…

Bali Parasol Illustrations

Apres-Ski Conceptual Illustration

And here are my most recent blog posts…

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2021.

Best wishes

Kim

Here’s my skiing Santa Christmas Greeting gif