Holly Exley is a young British illustrator with some big clients under her belt including Marks and Spencers, Stylist Magazine, Lonely Planet and The Wall Street Journal. Pursuing her natural talent with watercolour painting, Holly has been commissioned to work on projects from illustrating music apps, wildlife and cooking books, and city and charity campaigns. Her illustrations have an uplifting aesthetic with colour washes of wonderful hues, with an emphasis on light and contrast. I really like her food illustrations…food never looked so good! Holly has a blog, website and also a YouTube channel where she talks about her work and the life in the world of illustration.
Future posts here we go! I am usually not this organised when it comes to blog posts but I’ll try for a month and see how it goes. I have a huge stack of artists that I want to ‘collect’ and share with you on my blog, hopefully to inspire and give you something interesting to look at that you haven’t seen before. Below are some snippet images to give you an idea about the artists I will post about next so stay tuned.
If this is the first time you have come across my little blog I like to talk about all sorts of artists and not just sticking to one discipline or style.
With over 10 years experience in the art and design industry, Parisian illustrator Babeth Lafon has made a name for herself in fashion, beauty and life style magazines. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Architectural Digest, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her clients include L’Oreal, L’Occitane, Bare Escentuals, Stella Artois and ELLE.
Aside from her ‘hip’ name, Babeth’s drawings are commercial and complimentary to the label’s look she works with. I can see why her pastel colour palette and light washes work well for beauty in particular, they are fresh illustrations that are easy on the eyes . What I mean by this is as the ‘magazine consumer’ we tend to glance very quickly and turn to the next page, as with anything we need to be pulled in! Babeth’s illustrations do just that, making the products or content far more interesting. Check out her work below (I really like her perfume bottle illustrations).
Starting out with spontaneous mark and colour forms, with little expectation of the end result, her paintings reveal themselves through the process of painting; Betsy Walton creates as she paints. Walton’s work is as expressionistic as it is surreal, from the titles she gives each piece to the half drawn figures and cut out geometric pieces of gold leaf overlapping washes of paint. Her work attempts to reach the sublime, delving into the relationship between objects and people and the sense of mystery behind our everyday encounters. Needless to say her colour palettes are beautifully dream-like, evoking feelings of transcendence to the viewer.
‘We can experience the sublime in the same room where we fold the laundry, and perhaps at the same time.’ – Betsy Walton.
When needing inspiration I often look at one of my favourite art mediums and go from there. Watercolour painting is a versatile and flexible medium that allows artists to create their own colour opacity. It’s a fantastic practice in that it’s unpredictable and can be experimented with in so many ways, from technique to the materials used, to how much water is left on the brush. I always feel overwhelmed painting in watercolours because there are endless possibilities in what you can achieve with them.
I recently went to The Royal Academy of Arts block buster Exhibition, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. It is worth seeing if you are interested in the Impressionist artists or if you just love floral paintings as it’s full of them. The Exhibition covers the main Impressionist artists, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists of the early 20th century, thematising around the modern garden. Monet’s masterpieces being the highlight including his infamous Water Lilies painting, The Agapanthus Triptych. This piece finalizes his career brilliantly – got me a bit teary as they are overwhelmingly beautiful and reflective of Monet’s mental state at the end of his life.
An impressionist artist who’s work really grabbed my attention in the Exhibition was Emil Nolde. He was a German-Danish painter who supported Nazi Germany from the 1920s and believed that Expressionism was a distinctively Germanic style. Hitler considered this art movement ‘degenerative’ and banned artists like Nolde from painting and removed his work from public display. He secretly produced a massive series of water colour paintings that are known as the ‘unpainted pictures’. Nolde painted portraits, landscapes and flowers as his subjects. His brush strokes are vigorous and textural producing expressionistic, luminous paintings – often with sombre undertones, fascinating to see up close.
This young artist is big in publishing, fashion and other media circles, you will understand why once you look at her work. Random House Canada, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, TeNeues, Hardie Grant, Blue Apple Books, UNIQLO, and Orla Kiel are just some of the clients Emma Block has been commissioned by.
I have got to say looking through her portfolio I like her own personal project work inspired by old films, books, hobbies and day to day life. I can definitely learn something from Block’s techniques since I work primarily with the same medias, paper craft, ink and watercolour. The way she uses cut out silhouettes of paper combined with watercolours adds another dimension and different focus points to her illustrations.