Q&A with Fashion Illustrator, Holly Nichols

Tell us your story and how you got to where you are today.   I grew up in a family that encouraged creativity. I was enrolled in private art lessons as a child and when it came time to apply to colleges, decided I would find a major that allowed me to express my creativity but also one that would keep my job options open. I started college (Endicott College) as an Interior design major, but soon realized it was much more technical than it was creative, so I switched my major to studio art. I spent my remaining years in school exploring different media and techniques, but kept the theme of my work heavily centered around fashion. Upon graduating, I made an Instagram account (@hnicholsillustration) that featured my fashion sketches. The Instagram community was very responsive to this type of illustration and I was able to grow a following of both fashion and art lovers. Since then, I have been able to expand my client list and create a full-time career as a fashion illustrator!
How would you describe your illustrative style?   I think my sketches are a mix of high fashion and whimsy. I love the more “couture” sketches, but I also want people to be able to relate to the characters I create, which is why I try to sketch garments you may be seen wearing around the house, but also outfits you see coming down the runway in Paris.
How would you describe your illustrative style?   I think my sketches are a mix of high fashion and whimsy. I love the more “couture” sketches, but I also want people to be able to relate to the characters I create, which is why I try to sketch garments you may be seen wearing around the house, but also outfits you see coming down the runway in Paris.
What do you think makes a successful illustration?   I think personal “success’ in any form of art is constantly changing. I look at sketches I did a year ago, which, at the time, I considered to be successful. Looking at them now, they are sketches I’d never want the public to see. The more you practice your craft, the better you become. I believe if you think you’re doing your best, you’re not doing it right. There is always room to grow. By finding an imperfection in your work, you are able to tweak it and improve a skill you didn’t have when you woke up that day.
Are there any fashion illustrators you admire and why?   David Downton is a genius. He’s able to create definite shapes (ex-specific dresses) using abstract strokes. I admire the movement and effortlessness his work displays. My own work is very tight and controlled (as much as I try to loosen up!). He’s an inspiration for sure.   Who are your favorite designers?   My favorite designers include Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, and Zuhair Murad. They all create pieces with a lot of volume, sheer fabric, and sparkle, all of which are my favorite to sketch. I was honored to be recognized and featured on Elie Saab’s website this past year.
Are there any fashion illustrators you admire and why?   David Downton is a genius. He’s able to create definite shapes (ex-specific dresses) using abstract strokes. I admire the movement and effortlessness his work displays. My own work is very tight and controlled (as much as I try to loosen up!). He’s an inspiration for sure.   Who are your favorite designers?   My favorite designers include Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, and Zuhair Murad. They all create pieces with a lot of volume, sheer fabric, and sparkle, all of which are my favorite to sketch. I was honored to be recognized and featured on Elie Saab’s website this past year.
What is next for you?   I can’t share too many specifics about my future projects, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with some brands and designers that I’ve loved for years, which is truly a gift. In the online shop, you will start to see more products outside of wall art. As far as what’s next for me personally, I hope to travel more (with my markers close at hand).
To see more of Holly’s work, be sure to visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Alex Brokamp: Furniture, Lighting and Industrial Designer
Happy Valentines Day!

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