My latest work is an editorial illustration inspired by The New York Times Magazine article, ‘The Social Life of Forests’ by Ferris Jabr.
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.
(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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
I decided early in the process that Bob would be a heart shaped balloon, as our world needs love.
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.
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 challenge then was to demonstrate Bob and Bug’s different emotions, whilst keeping the characters and colour palette consistent.
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.
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.
It was a criteria of the course to demonstrate the character in different action poses to give the character life.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks also the the many insects who landed close by me during the course, which seemed quite serendipitous.
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 email@example.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.
It’s been a tumultuous and busy past couple of weeks for most of the planet. I’m determined to keep sharing uplifting work, both new illustrations and ones from my back catalogue when they are relevant.
The situation has moved fast and already has provided reflections on gratitude, for what may have previously have been undervalued, and the situation its is a reset of perspective of who is, and what is important.
Sending heaps of kindness and wellness to all those who are unwell or suffering.
I’ve been busy adapting our home for lockdown, had to make heart wrenching strategic business decisions, as well as finding tech solutions to replace face to face demonstrations. I’ve managed so squeeze some time in for illustration, which is therapeutic and can hopefully brighten someone’s day. This art from my heart follows…
I’ve been finding the terms used such as self-isolating and social distancing as having very negative connotations, and wondered whether putting a more positive slant on staying at home might make this feel more enjoyable and therefore sustainable. Here’s an example of this work, I’ll be developing these ideas and responding the World Health Organisation (@who) Creative Brief to communicate the key messages.
Home and family are everything. Despite the restrictions we must nurture our minds, bodies and relationships all from within our home. Thankfully technology can bridge between those we love but do not live with. Our families have come together for some great multi-generation live video calls which have been a great distraction and really made us laugh.
Here are a round up of the posts from my Instagram, to uplift and reassure.
This is for all those suffering with fear and anxiety. You are not alone. These feelings are understandable in this situation, so try to go easy on yourself. Comfort yourself with reassurance that you are safe and you are loved.
If there is someone that you feel would also like to see this please share. Spread the love. 💕 #stayhomestaysafe
There can be great joy in nature and this lovely season. Flashback to this watercolour painting from last year created as a book cover design.
The bright flowers are blooming to herald Spring, the birds are singing, daffodils shine bright. The sun radiates low into the rooms to warm away winter. Beautiful weather last week made the first days of lockdown easier as the garden is springing to life and the birds are full of energy and song.
Stunning spectrums that I spotted in our kitchen, cast by a refractive book cover being hit by the sun’s rays.
Have Courage, Hold On. We are stronger than this thing. #alonetogether
I sprayed this positive quote from Audrey Hepburn in our garden, as a reminder, and for a little spray painting therapy.
Relaxing retreating in reading at the end of the day.
Watercolour and digital. You might recognise this scene from my chalet picture. Worked with a work in progress scan digitally to create this piece with a work in progress scan digitally to create this piece. #stayhomesavelives
Enjoy the Great Indoors. Whether you choose to scale your stairs for a work out, adventure to far flung places on Netflix or enjoy some Eastern philosophy on your yoga mat, wishing you a lovely day. #stayhomestaysafe
Created this house in watercolours on wet then developed this further to create the composition at the top of this post…
And finally: Only Tweet the good. Trying to only share positive and factual content. The birds are so active around our home, their beautiful song so clear in the stillness.
Thanks for being here. Stay safe, stay home and if there’s somebody who you feel would like to see my work please share the blog with them.
Intending to capture the atmosphere after a day on the slopes and feeling everything from euphoria of achievement, to relaxing relief, I painted this conceptual illustration in honey based watercolour paints. This will be applied as editorial illustration and wall art for limited edition prints.
The artwork features a live music band entertaining skiers and snowboarders, some are dancing on tables, two are relaxing in deck chairs, there’s a little romance on the balcony whilst a discussion of the day’s route tales place over a piste map, and a light hearted snowball fight is underway.
Apres-Ski – detail
And because Apres-Ski is reputed to be a party straight from slopes, whilst still wearing ski boots, it’s all happening in a ski boot. A nod to the children’s rhyme about the old lady who lives in a shoe, “had so many children she didn’t know what to do”.
I’m intending this piece as the first in an Illustrated A-Z of skiing. I’ll be sharing the work as I continue to create it so please follow along here and on my Instagram or Facebook.
I’ll be putting words with the illustrations so I’m interested to hear how Apres-Ski is across the globe so please share this project with your ski friends, and tell me about Apres-Ski in your favourite resorts.
Thanks so much for being here. If you know someone who’d enjoy seeing my work please share www.inspirebykim.com or if it sparks an idea of how my illustration can promote your brand or service then please get in touch. To discuss licensing and commissions contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bye for now and happy skiing. Have fun and stay safe. Don’t be the one who takes it too far, like the guy in the Apres-Ski illustration who’s balancing precariously one the high balcony 😊.
May all your nights have fresh snowfall and your days be blue sky ones, with the magic of sunshine. I love it most when the sun causes a myriad of tiny colours to refract in the snow crystals.
The mountains are a wonderful place for a perspective reset. They are eternal whereas problems are more transient and will pass in time. Have a good day.