Tag Archives: mountains

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

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.

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:

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.

Signup to see new work as it is available. Please ‘Like’ if you do, and if there’s someone who you think would enjoy seeing the art and illustrations please share a link with them…

I think you’d really like to see this illustration. Take a look.

Many thanks

Kim

A-Z Ski Glossary

I can now reveal my new project, the A-Z Ski Glossary illustration project. This will become an illustrated book, you can follow along as the work develops over the coming months. Here’s my creations for A-C.

A is for Apres-Ski and Alps

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.

The painting in progress

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.

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.

There’s a bar and snacks for refreshment and an open fire to take the chill off as the sun sets and the party goes on into the evening.

This will be applied as editorial illustration and wall art for limited edition prints email me for an order form at inspirebykim@outlook.com

B is for Basher, Piste-Basher

Predominantly nocturnal machines they are responsible for grooming the pistes. I love to feel the corduroy they create.

They make the glide magical and the speed exhilarating. It’s a treat to see them in the daytime and enjoy their fresh track with short swings turns. Also referred to by the brand Pisten-Bully.

This piece was inspired by when I was lucky enough to drive a piste-basher. It was challenging and fun.

C is for Chalet

Chalet – a wooden house with overhanging eaves, common in alpine regions.

Copyright Kim 2020

After a satisfying day on the slopes in the fresh air and cold it’s lovely to snuggle up and get warm. In the mountains it feels easier to disconnect and go offline with a good book or watch a movie undisturbed. Get comfy and unwind. There are a number of things which begin with ‘C’ in this illustration.

Here’s a little chalet video..

Posts which relate to this are:

You can follow my website to see the next instalments of the A-Z Glossary of Skiing and my other visual communications projects. Just pop your email address into the subscribe box.

if you like instagram you can see my work as its created at https://www.instagram.com/inspirebykim/

Thanks for being here. Stay safe on the slopes and enjoy!

Kim