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.
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.
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.
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 are the newest illustrations for my Ski A-Z Book are for the letter ‘N’ along with my Top 9 ski illustrations from 2020.
I started painting ski icons after a great day skiing on January 2nd 2020, in Les 3 Vallees, France. I continued to create the work through the season and when it started to gain momentum I decided that the word would form an illustrated glossary of skiing The Ski A-Z. I hope to make the book a reality in 2021.
Here’s are the latest illustrations…
Night Skiing – slight play on words for this illustration. I thought about floodlit night skiing but skiing by torchlight is truly exhilarating.
Inspired by the amazing armour at Warwick Castle. Remembering a New Year’s Eve torchlight ski in Austria. Painted in watercolour and metallic inks.
Skiing by Torchlight – I created this digital piece whilst exploring the colours and light of torchlight skiing.
Nordic Skiing by Moonlight – Bringing together floodlight and Nordic skiing I imagine the crunch of the snow under the skis and the nocturnal wildlife visible in the moonlight.
2020 – It’s been a momentous year for my ski work, and it culminated in an exciting project that I have to keep under wraps for the time being. Follow my website to see the work.
Top 9 Ski – In the meantime here are the Top 9 Ski themed illustrations that I created in 2020.
There are many of us who aren’t able to get out on skis at present, hopefully the ski illustrations can help spark some good memories. Thanks for being here. To see all my ski illustrations pop ‘Ski’ in the search box on my website.
Thanks so much for being 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,
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 email@example.com
These are related posts, and my latest posts follow those.
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.
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.
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.