As another year draws to a close I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has been following my work. I haven’t been able to share as much as I would have liked – nor spend as much time painting as I would have liked!

 

I have been writing, but that is not nearly so photogenic. I’m three quarters finished a new novel - a quirky mystery - and I plan to send it out to agents in the New Year. I have a good feeling about this one and hope the publishing world gatekeepers like it too!

A sketch of Bletsing Theatre from my current novel-in-progress.A sketch of Bletsing Theatre from my current novel-in-progress.
The only clue I can give you about my current novel-in-progress...

 

Most of my time currently is (still) taken up with house renovation. It’s proved to be a much bigger and more time-consuming job than I imagined, but the good news is the bedrooms are done and there’s only the living room, kitchen, bathroom and halls to go… I have learnt a huge amount about renovating along the way – and am getting quicker (now that I know what I’m doing).

 

(Our living/dining room - a work in progress, including a creepy hole in the wall under the wallpaper. Hoping to have this room done by Christmas!)

 

Big life changes are coming in 2020, which will also impact my creative time and work, but more on those as they unfold.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up hope that I’ll be published again, but at the same time I can’t give up writing or drawing. I like creating too much. So here’s to a new year filled with life, love and creativity.

 

Best wishes to you all!

I never get as much done in a day as I hope but, working in snatches at night or before work I have managed to *mostly* finish 1 illustration for my new children's book portfolio.

 

It was quite experimental for me – and very different to traditional natural history illustrations where I know exactly what colour every element should be. For this, I got to make up my own colour palette, which was both fun and, in some ways, more challenging.

 

This is the almost finished illustration.

 

A fantasy forest illustration for a children's book.A fantasy forest illustration for a children's book.
Almost finished! A fantasy forest illustration for a children's book.

For anyone interested in the process I've shared a few progress shots below.

 

I'm a long time fan of the picture book, Where the Wild Things Are and so I decided to start by laying in lines with a black pen....

Outlining lines in penOutlining lines in pen
Adding some pen lines.

Then I added some colour. I started with watercolour washes, then added watercolour pencils to give it a very hand-drawn, coloured-in feel.

Watercolour washes laid inWatercolour washes laid in
Watercolour washes. My scanner didn't scan the purple flowers very well :(

 

Adding watercolour pencil layers to children's book illustration.Adding watercolour pencil layers to children's book illustration.
Adding more colour! Watercolour pencils are fun.

Then it was a matter of building up layers of colour – trying not to ruin the picture in the process!

Children's book illustration of fantasy forest by Stephanie Holm in progressChildren's book illustration of fantasy forest by Stephanie Holm in progress
Adding even more colour!

Then I scanned it (unfortunately, the scanner I purchased in the UK is not as good as I'd like) and added the final touches digitally. I added adjustment layers (adjusting levels, brightness/contrast and curves), space for text.

 

I don't like how the small fly characters turned out, so I'll be adding new ones in digitally. But, for a first attempt, I'm pretty pleased with the results. (This isn't always the case!)

 

Signing off until next week to do some more painting!

 

Sketches of scenes & characters for children's books, drawings by Stephanie HolmSketches of scenes & characters for children's books, drawings by Stephanie Holm
Covering the ugly wall with lots of sketches... Now to add colour...

 

My wall of sketches is growing nicely.... but now it's time to add some colour. Wish me luck (nervous I'll pick the wrong colours and ruin the drawings completely).

 

Anyhoo, got to get to it. Maybe you'll get another update next weekend, if it all goes well.