Facts about…

One day I had a thought, how do sports people carry about a javelin? Could they take it on a bus? Would it fit in a car? this led me to thinking of other sports equipment that could cause difficulties for the people that use them. As a personal project I started researching some of them, and produced a series of three that interested me the most- archery, javelin and pole vault.

I imagined them being in a Children’s non fiction book, and set myself the challenge of having some colour in the background, but trying to make it in to a graphic shape. I liked being able to work the lettering around the image, and tried to make the lettering quite interesting to look at. I picked facts that I found interesting and found ways to split these up e.g the arrows below.

I have more that I am planning on looking at..

3 pigs and one wolf.

I thought I’d include some portfolio pieces I did last year. These were based on the characters from the three little pigs and feature the big bad wolf in my header. The first illustration is obviously the first little piggie, building his house from straw.

The second illustration shows the pig having a little doze..

And builder pig, the smartest of them all. All the illustrations were made using collaged printed paper, ink, watercolour and pencil. The biggest challenge was working out what to paint first and what to print first, particularly because the stamp pad I was using would rewet when I painted next to it.  The scaffolding was made as a stencil and using stamp pads, I enjoyed the slight unpredictableness of this method, almost using it like a monoprint. The lettering was done using little alphabet stamps.

I have a newsletter!

So, I have started a newsletter. I was a little hesitant at first, thinking would anyone be interested in what I have to say, but it is nice to record what I am working on and what I have been looking at.

The newsletter is mostly fortnightly, it is quite short, and contains three images and three sections of writing, something from my sketchbook, something from my Etsy shop and something that has inspired me.

Here are some examples of past newsletters, if you are interested in signing up, go to the contact and newsletter section of my website. You won’t be bombarded, its mainly pictures and I won’t be passing on any of your personal information- plus you can unsubscribe at anytime. Go on, give it a go!

Newsletter number six – Colin the bear, Heart Houses and Happy News

Newsletter Number Four: Houses on hills, Monster Colouring-in and Eyvind Earle

Newsletter Number Three: More Movember Moustaches, Snoring Bears and an inspiration podcast.


Ooh, Dioramas!

I have recently been using more collage work in my illustrations and this led me to making a couple of dioramas.

The first was this fox in the woods one, made as a gift, and it was quite a steep learning curve. I never did quite figure out how I could put little lights in the back, something I’d still like to do.

This second box (not the best of photographs) contains a little hedgehog and again was a gift. Made using printed textures on cardboard and drawn into, the layers are built up to make a little scene.

I’m hoping to make some more of these to sell at craft fairs, in my Etsy shop and at Brighton artists open houses that I will be taking part in this May (more details of this to come soon). If you have any suggestions of scenes you’d like to see in the boxes, or of any animals, I’d love to know what you think!

Holly Swain Store is now open on Etsy!

I have been very negligent of my blog of late, something I am aiming to change. First up is the news, somewhat slow in arriving, that as of late last year I opened a store on Etsy, selling products with my illustrations on and some little hand painted houses. You can view the products using the STORE link in the navigation above. There’s a selection of the products below – if you click on an image it will take you through to my store on Etsy.

I have been very pleased with the response to my store and I have had some lovely comments, thank you!