online store: http://hollycampcards.etsy.com
Describe your illustration style.
I like to sit with my painting about 4 inches from my face, so my work is generally very detailed. I use lots of tiny lines and dots to communicate something larger, and counteract that with organic shapes and splatters. I think this style creates artwork visually appropriate for a variety of ages – from child to adult – but I like to carry in themes that cater to a mature audience. I find these balances – tight and detailed vs. organic, light-hearted visual vs. heavier message – to be the main elements at the base of an interesting illustration.
What is your main medium?
I love acrylic paint, watered down to something similar to watercolors. I'll layer that with ink and even a little color pencil to hit some brightly colored pops.
What is your illustration workspace like?
Because my paint is applied in a series of very watery washes, I have worked in what basically amounts to a little ball on the floor for years. Within the past month I moved a drafting table into my studio – I'm pretty sure it's about time I graduated from the floor.
Describe your typical work flow.
I begin by filling my sketchbook with lists and little sketches. After client approval, I create the final illustration by layering pencil, ink, a watered-down acrylic concoction, more ink, and then colored pencil. I'll scan that in and use a bit of Photoshop for color correction. Repeat.
Who was your first illustration hero?
I was immediately inspired the first time I saw the work of Lisbeth Zwerger. Her illustrations are playful enough for fairy tales, but with undertones that are ominous enough to intrigue the viewer. To me, it captured the essence of illustration and its purpose as a narrative art form that can't be achieved any other way. I see the tension between these beautiful images that she creates and the darker subject matter within them as the inspiration for what I'm striving towards.
What is your favorite category of illustration and why?
I respond to children's book imagery that is smart and treats its audience accordingly. There is work out there that achieves this by stepping outside of what one expects for the younger viewer, and that is what excites me and what I work towards myself.
Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?
Over the past two years, I have found myself focusing on illustrations for a line of greeting cards I created called Holly Camp Cards. Most of the cards are animal based, and it really appeals to me that, under the guise of brightening peoples' day, I can design little sad-faced creatures. I definitely enjoy the unexpectedness of greeting cards that aren't always brimming with the typical sunny sentiment.
What do you do to promote your work?
What do you do to promote your work? To promote my editorial work, I have sent out postcards with my images to art directors, visited their offices for face-to-face interviews, and other forms of various harassment. For my greeting card line, the independent craft shows I participate in provide the opportunity to chat with customers about my work and place a tangible product in their hands. I also created a Faceboook page for the cards, which has been a very successful tool for increasing exposure.
What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?
Work hard and don't sleep. Be persistent. Look at everything.
Be sure to check Holly's portfolio at the IC of DC website.