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.
I had an idea to animate some of the book characters ‘excited to meet the readers’ to demonstrate the energy of the book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
I look forward, next, to simplifying my portrait and maybe using a concept to communicate more. Here’s to seeing where the future leads.
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.
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.
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…
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.
The phone is the gateway to family and friends whilst we can’t visit them.
Messages, voice, and video time together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
Here is the strategic Christmas illustration for Lancashire and Yorkshire based steel stockholders K Steels.
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 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 email@example.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.
Next you might want to take a look at these related posts…
Here are my latest illustrations for the book project I am working on The A-Z of Ski.
New illustration to demonstrate those magic, powder days off-piste. If I had to place this it would be Plan Peisey part of the Paradiski area in France.
Ski themed decorative letters featuring off-piste ski tracks, snowflakes, mountains and fresh corduroy. In the same warm colour palette as the illustrations. These will be page headings throughout the book.
X’ formed with the skis is the universal symbol for an accident. This skier is a little dazed so his friend has stuck his skis in the snow to warn other skiers, and to give him chance to recover. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine.
As you’ll guess from the letter shown here, the Ski A-Z is getting closer to completion. Follow my website or Instagram to find out more details, as soon as they’re available, about how to secure a copy.
If you need ski themed art for your project to promote your ski related venture then get in touch and let’s chat,
Thanks so much for taking the time to be here. My latest posts follow.
Here are the latest illustrations for my Ski A-Z book project.
This collage shows all the ski related illustrations that I created in October 2020.
New ski illustration for the letter ‘X’ in the Ski A-Z. I reached out to the Facebook Ski Club for ideas for this tricky letter and this jump position was a popular suggestion.
We never want to need rescuing from the slopes or the off-piste mountain areas, but if we do then we’re grateful for the care and skills of the ski patrollers.
They may go by different names in different parts of the world, but they are the ones who help us down the mountains when injury means we aren’t able to get down unassisted.
This illustration is dedicated to those individuals, these heroes on our worst ski day.
Nordic skiing’ encompasses a number of disciplines but has roots spanning thousands of years.
Whether classic or skating style, cross country skiing is a great way to explore alpine environments without the need for uplifts, allowing the skier to get close to nature. It is an energetic workout so has lighter weight clothing ranges than downhill skiing.
The lightweight skis, fixed only at the toe require precise balance which I find makes downward slopes exhilarating.
Thanks to the Facebook Ski Club members for this suggestion for the letter ‘N’.
Telemarking is also a Nordic ski discipline, something I wish I’d tried whilst younger, watch this space for a telemark illustration.
Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the mountain and spot wildlife. We like to pack a picnic and find a place to perch, ideally with a view across the mountain range, blue sky and sunshine.
Snowshoeing is a good alternative activity for those new to skiing, as learning to ski is very physical. Skiing is a sport that becomes easier as one progresses. A brisk walk or snowshoeing is a good way to stretch the legs muscles.
The ski illustrations on my previous post are also featured in the October collage, you can see them here…
Thanks so much for stopping by to see my work. I’m working on a mock-up of the Ski A-Z book, so it’s really starting to come together,
This year I wanted to use the opportunity of #Inktober to work on illustrations of travel memories. Using the prompts from #theydrawandtravel illustrating the places on the list which I have visited.
Paris – Homage to the Paris icons of La Tour Eiffel, Moulin Rouge and La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.
Paris is one of my favourite cities at any time of year. We were fortunate to visit most recently in November last year, which I have used as reference for this illustration.
Cairo – for many visitors this is the gateway to Egypt and its ancient wonders.
Here are my favourite Cairo landmarks brought into a composition – the majestic, mysterious pyramids, the stately Sphinx, the Ramses statue which looked onto to a bustling city square, and a river boat which is carrying intrigued travellers to explore the many temples along the banks of the Nile.
I was fortunate to visit first on a mini-cruise from Cyprus where I was working at the time, later on a trip from Sharm el-Sheikh, and on a work trip was fortunate to have a top floor hotel penthouse all to myself, when I attending the conference in place of my boss. A wonderful city, fabulous memories.
San Francisco – My favourite US city – first visited on a tour of California with my mum. We enjoyed the steep streets in a speedy taxi, rode a cable car were surprised by the sea lions at Pier 39. Most recent visit was en route to New Zealand with just a 24 hour stopover to enjoy the city and shops on Union Square.
The stunning golden domes of the Kremlin and the colourful tiled domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square were what struck me visually when visiting Moscow. These and the enormous imposing Hotel Ukraine, one of the “Seven Sisters” of Moscow.
Time in the city was a great experience which bookended our trip heli-skiing in Sochi.
Sydney – what struck me as we walked towards the Opera House were the brightly coloured birds. The city felt much like a Northern European city, but the birds were striking, tropical, seemingly in stark contrast to the uniformity and familiarity of the buildings. The birds which enchanted me that day were Rainbow Lorikeets.
Sydney Opera House is a stunning feat of architecture, which I hadn’t realised until close observation is constructed in creamy coloured tiles, which appeared white in the bright sun, a little like the surface the space shuttle.
I took the opportunity to attend a dance show at the Opera House, performed by a number of Australian dance companies that was an evening to support Unicef. It was a dream come true to visit this stunning iconic landmark humanmade wonder.
Rock and Rome – featuring my Rome favourites. The Forum, The Colosseum, Vittorio Emanuele II monument, brought together with the tiny Fiat 500 so loved by my Mum.
Visited Rome on three trips last Autumn to help a loved one, and ‘Rock and Rome’ became a catchphrase.
Beijing – the iconic Great Wall, the curious roof adornment that is a man riding a Phoenix, and the Temple of Heaven.
Had a wonderful trip to China with @kuonitravel and met Cherie Blair (Wife of the UK Prime minister at the time) on the Great Wall. Recalling the fascinating acoustic effects at the Temple of Heaven.
Flamborough – Here are my favourite aspects of Flamborough brought together in this composition – Flamborough Head Lighthouse, the awesome gannets at Bempton Cliffs and our biking on the coastal path, all set under that huge sky with the salty breeze.
Here’s a round up collage of these travel illustrations.
Thanks so much for being here. These are my latest posts…
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