Sunday, 4 January 2015

Summary of 2014 | Watercolour Illustrations

If I could summarise 2014 in two words they would be "arm ache". My painting hand has been working itself pretty hard, with an estimated 350 paintings painted this year (I tried to count!) It's all been a bit of a blur, it's been busy, but it's also been enjoyable. A nice ache.

It's also been my second year as a full time illustrator and if you take a look at 2013's summary, I was concerned that I wasn't going to be so busy and that it was all a bit of a fluke - a rather unnecessary fear Holly! Instead I'm very relieved to conclude that it's been another successful, work-filled year. Once again I've been extremely lucky to work on some really exciting projects and I've met some really lovely new clients. My only regret is that I didn't manage to "do" very much - my plans for 2015 involve many more adventures and more time away from my desk!


Bird nest illustrations for Pets At Home magazine - JANUARY

I was eased into 2014 with a lovely brief from VIP magazine to produce a double page pull-out spread on identifying birds nests.

20 monkey key-rings in watercolour for United Arrows - JANUARY


Grey scale illustrations for a book! - FEBRUARY

At the start of the month I rejoiced in being able to hand in 39 finished illustrations for a book about preserving food at home.

March & April
Mozart portrait for Composed - MARCH

During February, I began work for a VERY exciting project. I remember going to the meeting about it in Islington, and afterwards sitting in Starbucks, surrounded by smartly dressed people on their lunch breaks, just feeling on top of the world. In a state of disbelief, but also of complete relief, that an opportunity so wonderful could come my way and impact my career in such a positive manner.

The work has now gone live, but I'm not really supposed to shout about it until I'm given the all clear from the clients, so for now I'll just *whisper* about it on my blog. I worked on an app. A music app. A music app from Classic FM and Universial Music. Eek!

Aside from the exciting name drops, it's also a thing of beauty, and I am just brimming with pride to have been a part of it.

You can find it in the app store. My work is in the app store! Eek! Also, the website is here:

Five bats for Aquila Magazine - APRIL
A front cover for Lionheart Magazine - APRIL

In June I became represented by Folio Illustration Agency for two short months, a move that was an interesting learning experience, but something I don't think I'd repeat. I'm going to be talking about this more in the coming months, so stay tuned if you'd like to have more information on joining an illustration agency, and my views and experience on it.

World Cup food illustrations for Tesco Magazine online - JUNE

Space for Lonely Planet book (more on this later) - JUNE
My biscuit tin design for Marks & Spencers hit the shops! JUNE
Another delightful commission with Japan based United Arrows - JULY
See more illustrations I completed for United Arrows here.

Six martini illustrations for Stylist Magzine - JULY

Five watercolour illustrations for the Metro Newspaper - JULY

An illustrated map of Venice - AUGUST
I worked on a map with Hardie Grant publishing, for the end papers of a gorgeous Venetian cooking book - you can buy it here.

Colour-coded food , red mullet fish illustration - AUGUST
Thirty unusual ingredients were painted for a undisclosed client for undisclosed means. I'm annoyed I can't show the full set or explain further, but hopefully I'll be able to some time in the future!


Bloody mary illustration for Esquire Magazine - SEPTEMBER
Tearing myself away from the Portuguese sun,  I worked on a commission I couldn't possibly turn down even though I had booked a holiday (work-a-holic). This and other illustrations were for Esquire Magazine in the US. I think I'll put the full set of illustrations in an up coming blog post - so stay tuned!

Literary Listography hit the shops & I spotted it in Paris! - SEPTEMBER
 Towards the end of 2013 I was busy working on a book with Chronicle Publishing, which hit stores mid 2014. I was very excited to discover it whilst shopping in Paris - a whole book? Illustrated by me? It's still a bit surreal.


Part of an infographic for Westfields, see it in full here - OCTOBER

Christmas illustrations for Tesco Magazine - OCTOBER
18 baking based illustrations for a baking journal - OCTOBER
18 food illustrations for a food journal book cover - OCTOBER
October was a busy, busy month of flat out work. I produced two book covers for two Laurence King publications, out this year, one a Food Journal the other a Baking Journal. I also worked on three full pages of Christmasy watercolours for Tesco Magazine, and a large-scale infographic for Westfield's shopping centres - find that one here.


How to make ├ęclairs - for Wall Street Journal - NOVEMBER
In November I was very excited to hear from The Wall Street Journal, who commissioned me to produce two sets of how-to illustrations. One set was illustrating the process of making ├ęclairs, the other was a step by step of carving a turkey. Ah yes, yet another commission I intend to blog about - hopefully soon!
An Asian Owl for the Tsz Shan Monastery guidebook in China, one bird of six - NOVEMBER

December was a crazy month too. I was (and still am) painting for a book project due very soon. As well as this I secured a rather last minute commission painting lots and lots of seaside objects for a property development project in Dawlish, Devon. It was a lot of work in not a lot of time, but I really enjoyed painting all the details, and the end results should be great - more to come on this too!

Thank you for making it to the end of another year with me! Hope you enjoyed 2014 as much as I did?


  1. Wow, congrats on such a busy year Holly. I bought that M&S tin of biscuits just for your teacup illustration :)

    1. Thanks so much! You should tell M&S that ;) The biscuit tin was a big highlight of my year! Thanks for the support :)

  2. You've had such a busy year! Congratulations, it's great that you've been so busy! I guess taking the risk and working for yourself has really paid off you should be really proud of how well you've done :)

  3. I starting following your work after falling madly in love with that Lionheart magazine cover and I'm so glad I did! Congratulations on such a busy year, it's very well deserved :) x