Urban Sketching with Stuco Design

I recently had the opportunity to go urban sketching on a sunny eve in Glasgow with staff from Michael Laird Architects, led by Stuart Kerr of Stuco Design. After an inspiring talk from Stuart, mainly about how important drawing is (I could not agree more of course!) for all sorts of reasons, including for your mental health, we then went out beer and pencils in hand, to start drawing from the urban environment. Something I don’t do very much of, whenever I have I usually get a bit overwhelmed with how much there is to take in, as soon as you start looking there is detail, and perspective, and pattern and light everywhere!! Aaah! My tip - focus on a small area/ zoomed in section, to start with anyway.

We started with some very loose exercises, given I have done a fair amount of teaching, it was so enjoyable and refreshing to be on the other side of it.

We then did a couple of slightly longer drawings - although the longest one was probably still only about 10 minutes… not enough time to get much detail down, but it forces you to work quickly and try and capture what you see in front of you.

Looking at everyones drawings afterwards, who were mainly architects, it was really interesting and insightful to see how differently we approached it! Mine lacked any real sense of form or perspective or anything accurate! But instead I was looking for light and colour and pattern and not paying too much attention to how many windows there were… for example. Haha! So fascinating how we see things differently, and why we should keep training ourselves, especially in new environments like this setting.

Stuart also showed us some of his Moleskine sketchbooks, filled to the brim with incredible and detailed line drawings, all from life, of his day to day surroundings. With intricate lines and quirky compositions. I really was inspired to get back into the habit of drawing in a little sketchbook every day. I do draw often, but it is quite different doing it for a commission or to create a final artwork, there is something magic in drawing from life, on a daily basis and literally slowing down to do so. To stop and take in your surroundings. I really would encourage it, whether you are creative or not, just start looking, start drawing, and whatever you do, don’t judge or criticise what you create, instead try to treat it as an exercise.

Below are the sketches I did, they are roughly in the order I did them. I think the first ones were 10 second drawings, and the line ones were blind drawings (drawn with your eyes closed!). Which should give you an idea of how quickly they were all done! I would definitely recommend working in this way, at least to start with anyway, it forces you to loosen up and not overthink what you are drawing. (The sketch at the start of this post is probably my favourite one from that night).

Thank you Stuart, what a lovely way to spend an evening!

Hopefully I will have more sketch-booking to share with you on here over the coming months :)

Holly


New digital prints!

 

As part of my recent website makeover / completely re-doing my website ! I have also expanded my shop to include prints, which I sold before through Etsy, but I have now transferred my shop over to hollysharpe.com. My Etsy shop will stay open, but my main focus from now on will be my own web shop. As part of this I have tried to streamline the prints I offer and have also introduced a new line of digital prints at a more affordable price. They are still of a very high quality, but not as costly as the fine art giclée prints which I have offered up until now.

Below are some of the new prints within this range.

They are priced at £21 each or buy any two for £30 ♡

SHOP DIGITAL PRINTS HERE

These prints are also available at The Scottish Design Exchange in Glasgow - if you live here and would like to see them in person!
I hope to add more images to this range in the future, so if there is an image of mine you really like and would like as an A3 digital print, please get in touch or leave a comment below and I will try and make it available if I think there is a demand for it :)
Holly



New Watercolour Video

I wanted to start a series of process videos to share more of the process of how I paint. It sometimes changes depending on the piece, and I guess it has developed over time as well, I tend not to follow any ‘rules’ or rather don’t really believe there should be any when you are being creative! Instead I generally go with what feels right, and for the most part it feels good, and leaves me wanting to do it even more and try something bigger, and better…

Hope you enjoy seeing a bit more of my process!
Holly

Day 30 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 30: Rush

Woohoo, I made it! I have completed my self imposed challenge to create a new illustration, every day, for 30 days. I think I will save my thoughts and reflections on how I feel it went, for another post. 

For now, let me introduce my final illustration. I decided to do an illustration that is probably the type of illustration that people who know my work, know me best for (??). The only new part in this illustration is the face, which itself is an original pencil drawing. ALL the other elements come from my 30 days, 30 illustrations. I didn't use something from every single day, as that would have been too crazy, and she is already pushing the boundaries of crazy as it is! But I did sneak in a LOT of different elements. If you didn't understand my process for creating illustrations like this one already, maybe you will now as you can try and spot which day each little bit comes from....! I LOVE creating illustrations in this way, especially when I have so many elements / new drawings to work with... however, it also puts you in an endless cycle of decisions in Photoshop. I ended up with 5 final versions, and let it be told that I for sure could have created at least 5 more. I might still publish my second favourite one out of the final options, but for now this is it:

Rush - illustration by Holly Sharpe

You can read the intro to my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge here. 

See more of my work on my Instagram and Facebook.
Holly
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twitter: @hollysharpe

Day 27 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 27: Green space

Today I wanted to draw one of my many house plants. This is one of my more recent additions to my ever growing indoor green space, and is definitely one of my favourites. It is also in a little pot that I painted. I realised that all my illustrations so far have had colour in them, and although in most of them I have used pencil to create them, it has usually been combined with watercolour or ink. So, I wanted to leave this one as as pencil drawing, no colour. 

Pencil botanical illustration by Holly Sharpe

Illustration created with pencil.

You can read the intro to my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge here. 

See more of my work on my Instagram and Facebook.
Holly
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twitter: @hollysharpe

 

Day 25 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 25: Swim

I feel really grateful that my parents got me and my siblings all swimming lessons when we were kids. Since neither of my parents are great swimmers, it was a big priority for them to make sure we could all swim. At the time, I am sure there were times when I would rather be doing something else, but now I am so glad we didn't. It is like riding a bike, once you have been taught to swim properly, and then practiced it A LOT, you never really lose it. What you do lose is stamina... I don't swim as much as I would like to now, but when I do I love it so much. I realised recently that I actually find it very meditative as I am usually focusing on counting breaths, lanes, strokes, so much so that I feel like the whole time I don't think I am actually thinking about anything else! There is something so tranquil about gliding through water, feeling fresh, energised, and like you are physically, and possibly mentally, lighter. 


"We lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there too" - Kristin Martz

Swim illustration by Holly Sharpe

'Swim' illustration created with pencil and watercolour.

You can see more of my work on my Instagram and Facebook. 
Read my intro to my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge here. 

Holly
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Day 24 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 24: Black lines.

I have worn liquid eyeliner for years now, and regular pencil eyeliner for even longer. A lot of my girl illustrations wear it too! So today I thought I would indulge in drawing some lovely eyes with different liquid eye liner styles....  Illustration created with pencil, pen and watercolour.

Eye liner illustration by Holly Sharpe

You can see more of my work on Instagram and Facebook. 
Only 6 days left of my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge! 

Holly
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twitter: @hollysharpe

Day 21 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 21: Rejuvenate

Sundays are a good day to slow down and recuperate. That means something different to me from day to day, week to week. Sometimes it is seeing friends that rejuvenates me, or maybe it's a long bath, or reading a book, watching a film etc. And sometimes I like to pamper myself with a little Lush face mask! This one is super fresh and minty and acts like an exfoliating face scrub when you wash it off. 

I hope you have had a relaxing Sunday and make time to catch up with yourself and what you need before the start of another week!

Face Mask illustration by Holly Sharpe

Thanks for following my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge! 
You can see more of my work on my Instagram and Facebook.
Holly
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Day 20 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 20: Aerial

I decided to do another illustration on my new and exciting aerial/ trapeze class! (You can see my first one on day 1 here) I have now been going every week for over a month. In each class we do a combination of trapeze, silks, and rope. I am still nowhere near the pose illustrated, but have been doing things that frankly, I never thought I would or could. It has become increasingly more difficult each week, but also pretty exhilarating, and really does make me want to increase my strength (because you seriously need a LOT of it for this!) and flexibility so that I will hopefully start to improve. It is for sure a new found love, and I would encourage anyone to challenge yourself in starting something new, whatever that may mean for you.

Aerial 2 illustration by Holly Sharpe

You can see more of my work on Instagram here and Facebook. 
Holly
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Day 17 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 17: Music

I really do not know where I would be without music, and I don't know how I would create anything either. Sometimes my favourite thing to do, is go for a walk with really loud music in my ears. It usually gets me back in the zone and feeling inspired! 

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”  - Victor Hugo

Headphones illustration by Holly Sharpe 72dpi.jpg

“Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.” - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

You can see more of my work on my Instagram and Facebook

Read about my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge here. 

Holly
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Day 12 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 12: Rainbow Ruin

Today's illustration is based on and inspired by my visit to the ruin of St Peter's Seminary as there was an Open day tour there last weekend. If you haven't heard of it, it is a fantastic piece of architecture and has a really fascinating presence, perhaps even more so in its current state. There is a lot of graffiti, which is what I took most of my photographs of, considering my printed textiles background, I am constantly drawn to colour and pattern! I also think it adds something to this amazing building, and I love the way the colours and marks layer up, and represent different people, different lives and different minds that have passed through since it stopped being a seminary, and added their mark. 

Rainbow Ruin illustration by Holly Sharpe

To create this illustration I used a combination of photographs I took, extracting colours and marks, as well as some echoes of the building itself, that I layered up and composed. And of course with one of my pencil drawn faces thrown in  for good measure!

Thanks again for following my blog. 
You can follow my work on Instagram and Facebook.
Holly
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twitter: @hollysharpe 

Day 11 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 11: Black Lungs

I don't want to say too much about this illustration, as I hope the image should speak for itself. One thing I will say, that I have thought about for years now, is that I think if we, humans, could open our front body up like a door and see everything inside, I don't think we would do half the things we do to our bodies. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe we are inherently designed to neglect facts and self destruct.

I think smoking will become illegal in the UK when the amount it costs the NHS out ways what the government makes from tax on sales of tobacco and cigarettes. But not sure that day will ever come.

When asked what surprises him the most in a recent interview, the Dalai Lama offered this insightful response: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Black Lungs illustration by HOLLY SHARPE

Holly
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See more of my work on Instagram here and Facebook
twitter: @hollysharpe

Day 10 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 10: Toxic Thoughts.

Toxic thoughts, lead to toxic words, which lead to toxic actions.... 

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” - unknown


“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” 
- Charles F. Glassman

Toxic Thoughts Illustration by HOLLY SHARPE

“Learn to forgive others so that you can release yourself from being held captive by the very negative thoughts around you.” 
- Stephen Richards

Created using one of my favourite things - quink ink, which I illustrated in my last post here.

See more of my work on Facebook and Instagram. 

Holly
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Day 9 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 9: INK.

Quink ink is in my top 3 out of my favourite things to use for drawings and paintings. I have used it in every illustration of my 30 day challenge so far... It is so beautiful to paint with and is really lovely to build up layers and create inky marks with.
My 3 favourite things to use are: Pencil, quink ink, and watercolours. In no specific order because if I had to choose just one I'm not sure I could...!

See more of my work on Instagram here and facebook. 
Holly
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INK illustration Holly Sharpe 72DPI.jpg

You can read the intro to my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge HERE.

Day 7 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 7: Messy hair days.

Woohoo, I’ve made it 7 days already! Hope you are enjoying my daily illustrations.

This is basically what my hair looks like most days, and along with a good ‘comfy’ jumper, as illustrated. I do often think I’d like to one of those people who have perfect hair every day, where they actually have a style of some sort. But then I remember maybe I don’t quite care enough to do that every day, and anyway I have been told I suit my hair ‘messy’… which I’m still not sure is a compliment! What I am looking for is an easy way to have nice hair, that suits me. Often when I wear it down and straightened I just don’t think does much for me. Queue: My new heated rollers! Hello curly, bouncy, natural looking hair. Thanks Babyliss.

Messy hair, fashion illustration by Holly Sharpe

 

Holly
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See more of my work on Instagram here and Facebook. 
See more posts on my blog here.

Day 6 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 6: Dancers in pencil and ink

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
– Osho

Dancers/ fashion illustration by Holly Sharpe

 

Following on from yesterday’s illustration (which you can see here), here is my second version of dancers.. let me know which one you prefer?

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
– Susan Polis Schutz

Holly
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See more of my work on Instagram here and Facebook. 
 

Day 4 of 30 days, 30 illustrations

Day 4: My studio Orchid.

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them"
- Henri Matisse

Inky Orchid /  illustration by Holly Sharpe

Illustration created with Parker ink, watercolour, pencil, and composed in Photoshop.

You can read the intro to my 30 days, 30 illustrations challenge HERE. 

Thanks for following my work! 
Would love to hear if you are setting yourself any daily challenges?
Holly

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See more of my work on my Instagram HERE.