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.
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.
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,
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.
As ice-cream melts there’s a lot of observation whilst eating, and remembering involved in painting them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
These are related posts, and my latest posts follow those.
Last week, before the world shifted on its axis, I worked on further illustrations for my intended A-Z Glossary of Ski. The previous post A-C can be found here.
Thinking of everyone at this time. We are all existing in a new uncertain era. Whatever brings us joy can be our elixir for hope and positivity so if yours is skiing, or you want some escapism, then read on…
This work seems less relevant with so many ski areas closed, but as I’ve already completed it, here it is. I asked on my Facebook Page and the consensus was to continue to share this work. Follow this blog to see more.
D for Drag Lifts
Next up is D for Drag Lifts. There are the solo kind – button lifts and pomas, and the more challenging t-bar. The t-bar can be romantic but if boot buckles get stuck together or there is a significant height difference it can be a battle to stay on the lift all the way to the top.
One of my closest friends was tiny so the poma lifted her off the snow, and she would be literally sitting, holding on, rotating. We would see her and hope that when she got to the top she’d be facing forwards.
B is also for Bindings
This idea kept popping into my head so I backtracked to letter B, and in addition to the Piste-Basher artwork I created this technical illustration to demonstrate ski bindings.
These vital pieces of ski equipment save your legs, and knees, by releasing in the event of a fall or irregular force.
I used hand drawing and then digital techniques to make this piece on paper and iPad and Apple Pencil. Creating some fun pink and yellow screwdrivers in the process.
Piste Off – Jumping on to S for Signs
This was one of the ideas I had for ‘S’ for Signs for the A-Z of Ski, a play on off-piste, which sadly is internationally appropriate, and how many skiers are saying that they feel online.
I’d next intended to use the letter ‘E’ for Extreme Skiing and maybe eating and adventures when I work on this project. I’m open to suggestions. What’s your favourite extreme skiing memory? Share your memories in the comments, would be great to read them, alternatively email me.
I’ve had a good number of requests for prints of ski illustrations. I’ll be exploring selling these as downloads for print at home, with global logistics in mind. More on this soon.
Regular bright cheery doses of inspiration emerge on my favourite social media Instagram, also on Facebook and my art movies and animation on YouTube.
And finally: Smile
Smiling causes the brain to release endorphins, triggering positive feelings, this lowering stress levels and enhancing your mood.
Follow the arrow directions on the diagram to trigger better feelings. Even pretend smiling has positive effects. Repeat whenever you feel blue.
If you need creative communications solutions, crisis management support, or visual content, get in contact.
Stay light, stay home, keep finding ways to feel joy.
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
Been busy painting for #matseditorial2020 Make Art That Sells assignment about reducing meat in the diet, and its benefits for the environment.
Completed this editorial assignment for @makeartthatsells
I’m pleased with the outcome, although I’m uncomfortable being prescriptive, but that was the nature of the brief.
This is stage 1 to create a number of icons and to illustrate the concept of optimism.
I then moved on to thinking about the composition and how to communicate the tone of the article.
My preferred concept at this stage was this advertisement style editorial illustration rough.
I found that working with the elements on tracing paper allowed me to play around with the composition without having committed to drawing on the normal paper. I was then able to scan this and arrange it within a client document for discussion/ approval, before the next stage.
In addition to the final editorial illustration at the top of the article here is an animated gif of my editorial illustration.
Interesting brief from which I learned a great deal. I enjoyed it more than expected by finding what I could enjoy in the subject matter.
I most enjoyed painting the tractor and vegetables.
This post is an illustrated travel feature from my heli-skiing trip to the Caucasus Mountains of Russia. I have illustrated my account in artworks created in watercolour paints.
Heli-Skiing in Russia
By Kimberley Kay
As the Russian ski guide, Jonanin, adjusts my avalanche detector I pray I won’t need to use it. He tightens the straps across my chest and I realise I am not breathing.
Jonanin asks if I am okay – at least that is what I think he asks, I can’t hear him over the deafening roar of the helicopter rotors. I give the required ‘thumbs up’ – although I am sure that my eyes belie the fact that I am far from ‘okay’.
We climb away from the ramshackle village of Kransnaya Polyana. The peeling paint of the houses and the rusty roofs shrink to miniature as I peer through the window. The helicopter has seen better days, the interior is basic and dirty – I wonder whether the helicopter or the ski descents of the Caucasus Mountains pose greatest risk to my existence.
I have skied since I was five years old – but I know that the heli-skiing will be more challenging than any piste or slalom course I have ever encountered. I knew this when I booked the trip last October, I knew it when I boarded the plane in Moscow to fly south – I hope I have the mental strength to overcome the physical challenge.
Nausea set in at breakfast – I ate what I could stomach, knowing I would need the fuel – but recalling the smell of the dill laced fried eggs makes me wince once more.
We soar towards the mountains where Russia borders Georgia, near the Black Sea. I spot the shadow of the helicopter projected onto the snowy canvas. We are flying level with the mountains – it feels close enough to catch a rotary blade on the jagged granite rock – time to get a grip and calm down.
Twenty minutes later the helicopter begins to slow and hover – my heartbeat quickens and my mouth is dry. On the guide’s signal the skiers one by one jump from the doorway disappearing out of sight. I pull my goggles over my eyes, thank my former self from having the foresight to invest in a helmet, then I jump. Jumping in ski boots isn’t easy – they are rigid and can hyper extend your knee. I break through the icy crust into the soft sugary snow beneath. The lead guide’s advice front of mind, “stay low so that you don’t get sucked into the rotors”. I crawl across the steep slope to the rest of the group, digging my boots in to keep me from falling. The power of the blades whisks up the air. I feel like a commando – it feels hardcore and I like it. What an adventure!
Immediately the guide signals to the pilot, the helicopter rises and banks away – the noise goes with it leaving silence. The isolation of our location sinks in – we are aloft the landscape with peaks around us 360 degrees, the mountain slopes shimmer in the sun – looking like they have been draped in fondant icing.
My consciousness returns to my situation, knelt at the top of a slope – I look down between my boots and the world drops away almost vertically – oh my… I peer forwards to see over the crest of snow in front of me and see a valley that tumbles away as fiercely as the first. I start to feel my body go heavy as the reality sets in. I dig my skis into the snow at 45 degrees – the only way to clip into the bindings on such an incline.
The guide signals the off and drops over a cornice – I point my skis downwards, taking a deep breath. I focus what lies immediately ahead as I don’t want to become overfaced by the scale of the location.
These are the kind of conditions when people die – loosing their grip and ‘rag dolling’ down the slope until hitting the rocks below. I grip the icy incline with the edges of my skis determined that I will not fall.
Narrowly missing a crevasse brings home to me my naivety about the mountain conditions – I conclude that I have a better chance of surviving staying close to our French guide, Marc. I put my faith in him. And with the helicopter nowhere in sight or earshot and Marc and Jonanin holding the radios, the only means of hailing our ride home, who else can I count on.
I follow Marc down the steep slope my skis juddering on the ice as I fight to stay in control and ensure that I am attacking the mountain and not the other way round.
As we continue to descend the icy surface is then snow, and my skis glide on the surface, I relax and take in the view. There are only mountain peaks as far as I can see, that and the blue sky, I feel like I’m literally on top of the world. It feels like I’m a bird, flying.
We encounter the path of an avalanche – which has thundered down the mountain leaving behind a barrage of boulders of snow. I stand contemplating my descent.
My mind is telling me repeatedly that I can’t do this, as I hear the thoughts my body feels heavy and clumsy. I feel fear coursing through my muscles – debilitating and dangerous. I fight to change the thoughts, to believe I can ski this terrain. Before I have chance to think better of it I point my skis downhill.
Picking a route through icy avalanched snow blocks is like skiing through a collapsed building – very different from the perfectly groomed pistes where I normally ski.
I traverse to an area untracked by the avalanche – the snow is suddenly soft and my knees come up to my chest, throwing me forwards unexpectedly – my helmet hits the snow. The momentum, and the smooth surface of my helmet, means my legs flip quickly over – my helmet hits the snow again – once more the momentum ‘flick flacks’ my body over and I land on my skis. I laugh as I brush the snow crystals from my goggles – I had executed a double front somersault and skied out of it – I’m feeling awesome.
We must have covered 3 kilometres already. The snow is heavy now – it’s April after all. I pull on my strength, my resolve and my determination to ski the run of my life.
And then I am down, joining the guide as one by one the group arrive and gather for the helicopter pick up. To fly us another mountain to ski.
I peel my helmet from my head and survey the slope I have conquered. As the pain in my legs subsides my breath slows and I feel an overwhelming sense of achievement. I look up at the mountain so silent and still, yet so dangerous – an unpredictable opponent.
We all stand at the foot of a deep gorge waiting for our pick up. There is tranquillity in being so far from the busyness of the world. The only other sign of life are bear tracks. I scan the slopes to ensure that there aren’t any bears planning to bound down for an easy lunch. We wouldn’t stand a chance the snow here is too heavy to run or ski on.
The helicopter is now heading straight for us. Although we have to stay squatted down my instinct is to bolt.
Three more heli drops later I savour a bottle of cool water – such exertion in spring temperatures makes me feel like I have had a sauna with my ski gear on.
As we leave the snowy wilderness behind the foliage seems greener than before. It feels like we are flying through the seasons – from winter to spring. The day is warm so I choose to walk the two miles back to hotel. The houses I pass indicate the simple lifestyle of the residents which contrasts uneasily with the extravagance of our morning’s pursuit.
Back at the hotel I relax in the sunshine, my exerted muscles soothed by the sun’s warmth. My perfect day – a great morning skiing and then being able to get my bikini on and enjoy the sun in the hotel garden. I wear a smile inwardly and on my face – I have pitted myself against nature and survived – with some quite fun acrobatics.
Thanks so much for being here. This post is a departure from my usual posts which are about my art process. If you’ve enjoyed the post please comment and/ or Like it. If there is someone that springs to mind who would enjoy it please share it with them, it’s my goal to reach people through my work.
I regularly post new work, but not so frequently as to bother you. To see more you can follow this blog. To see more regular updates you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @Inspire by Kim
I’ve been reviewing the past 12 months and evaluating my favourite work.
Best 9s are a great way to do this. Here are my Best 9 of the year. Work that I feel pleased with as they broke new ground in terms of skills and technique progress.
It’s been great to apply art to commercial illustration briefs and to monetise my practice, as above.
Here are my painted Best 9. A real break through this year was the workshop that I did in Rotterdam with Helen Dardik. The techniques Helen shared, and the products she’s uses, are a real revelation. With practice and care my painting skills are building.
Fabric and Textiles Best 9 – I enjoy the colours and textures that I create on fabrics. Florals and birds were key themes of my work in these mediums this year.
Here’s to 2020. I’m excited to see what emerges this year. I hope your have a great year.
Please like my post, if you do. Thank you so much.
I’ve been busy working on these bespoke Christmas illustrations. It was important that the illustrations were on brand and in line with the style of the company logo, website and social media channels.
I created two commercial illustrations in line with the brief for K Steels to use on social media. The illustrations reinforce key product lines and service messages.
The illustrations included photographic elements, cut paper and digital art using the K Steels brand colour palette.
Hoping that you and yours have a truly wonderful Christmas.
For more information about bespoke communications solutions for your business or organisation visit the following link:
Please Like my post if you do, and share with organisations who would like am on brand illustration. Thank you so much.
Great days start with great mornings so I wanted to create a positive, inspiring breakfast cereal in response to the brief: Create a fun sized design concept and packaging for a new cereal product.
I wanted to inspire and uplift women through a positive, confident image of a female pilot. She already has three stripes so she’s doing well; metaphorically and literally she is flying high.
Here are my rough drawings whilst brainstorming ideas for the box creative…
The character was further inspired by the aviation PR work I’ve been busy enjoying in recent weeks, thanks to my client in Florida.
I thought that aeroplane shaped breakfast cereal would be fun and novel. This idea was warmly received in consumer testing, with enthusiastic feedback.
I later added the fruit, and additional cereal aircraft, into the bowl for the final iteration.
Once I had the character idea I felt the breakfast cereal design concept formed around her.
In order to create the entire packaging concept it was necessary to define the target market, and what would appeal to them, to decide the ingredients, flavours, also to create a cereal brand, logo and product name.
I had all this in mind when choosing the colour palette of gold, red wine and cobalt blue. These were colours I could use throughout to represent the morning sun, and the colourful sunrise sky.
I chose ‘Inspired Mornings’ for the cereal company brand, and after painting a sun in watercolours I recreated the round window effect of my ‘Inspire by Kim’ logo and added the new brand name.
Nutrition and natural ingredients are key to wellbeing, which is fuel for a positive frame of mind, so I wanted the flavours and sweetness to be natural, therefore I chose fruit flavours on a Tropical theme, This flavour choice was to evoke the idea that the pilot is flying to a tropical island destination.
Travel, new experiences and the relaxation enjoyed on holiday/ vacation are fundamental to enjoyment of life, so by bringing flavours that are associated with holidays into the cereal concept the consumer would start the day enjoying a breakfast that the brain can associate with positive, pleasant experiences and help the person benefit from the associated holiday feelgood factor.
By illustrating the ingredients it was possible to give the consumer quick visual references and these were to denote the fresh, healthy, natural qualities of the product and brand values.
The reverse side of the cereal box was a great fun opportunity to further inspire the consumer and providing positive affirmations to start the day, in the form of a circular word search.
The wordsearch was placed over the watercolour sun using my favourite digital application of present, Procreate.
I created a template to fit the sizes in the brief, 4×3 inches, and arranged the completed panels within this.
This was the completed concept.
I was delighted that as I completed the design I saw the Virgin Atlantic campaign to inspire young women with a day of activity using the hasttag #seeherfly Wonderful that this timing coincided with my design.
Bali Parasol contacted me having seen my work on Instagram. They required clear instructional illustrations for how to put up their beautiful parasols, when new.
I accepted the work as I’m enjoying building the visual part of my business and am increasingly aligning this with my existing public relations, promotion and business strategy work.
New instructional illustrations and care advice would replace the existing instruction sheet. This would assist the customers enjoy their Bali parasol immediately, and secondly would free up resource by reducing after delivery queries.
The company provided a brief and suggested the illustrations for the stages of the process, along with outline wording.
It was important to brand the drawings to protect the sheet from being copied, so I was asked to work the Bali Parasol into the illustrations.
The sooner the work was completed the sooner the new instructions would be on their way to customers.
I created thumbnails of the different steps, planning out whether they would be wide action drawings or close ups. I added a couple of extra stages to those briefed to make the instructions unequivocal.
Here are the drawings for the stages.
This is the final A4 document that I created, it will be received along with the parasol.
It’s exciting to think of my drawings being sent around the world with a beautiful parasol as their travel companion, a little bit like the magic carpet ride in Disney’s Aladdin movie. This thought inspired the lead image for this post.
I’m delighted with the work, really enjoyed the brief as the product is so beautiful and intricately detailed and crafted. It was a pleasure to create and Ilse at Bali Parasol was delightful to work with.
The recommendation from Bali Parasol was great to receive…
I’m always keen to create solutions and illustrate concepts so if your business or project needs explaining in a way that words or images cannot then contact me at email@example.com
There is no shade provider more beautiful than Bali Parasol. See the stunning Bali Parasol range at www.baliparasol.com