“I’ve always been in love with illustration.”
Sarah Holliday is an aspiring Scottish illustrator and animator with a great love for lively colors, quirky characters, and whimsical scenes evoking good vibes only. She finds her inspiration in everyday things, but especially in the vastness and serenity of nature, which is also an essential motif in her latest coloring book in Lake. Sarah loves taking long walks, chocolate cake, and music, but let’s hear the details from her.
Hello, supergirl! How are you today?
I’m good, thanks!
First of all, I have to ask you how you’re dealing with these strange pandemic times. Have you found any good routines to help you get through all this chaos?
These are strange times indeed! The beginning of lockdown in March was a particularly anxious time and coming up with a strategy to cope with that helped me so much. I started doing yoga and going for walks in the nearby woods every day, which has helped me a lot with focusing on the world around me, rather than fixating too much on things outside of my control.
You come from Scotland. If you were to send us a postcard, what would be on it - and why?
I would send you a postcard of our amazing mountains in the highlands - probably a scene of Glencoe or the Cairngorms. In my opinion, what makes Scotland unique is it’s raw, rugged landscapes, combined with the ever-changing weather which creates a dramatic and unpredictable backdrop.
“In my opinion, what makes Scotland unique is it’s raw, rugged landscapes, combined with the ever-changing weather which creates a dramatic and unpredictable backdrop.
Obviously, there would be a highland cow in the scene and some random man in a kilt obnoxiously playing the bagpipes, just to fulfil the stereotype.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your path as an artist?
“I had a vivid imagination as a kid and would constantly make up stories and draw them, and I never really stopped.
I’ve always been in love with illustration. I had a vivid imagination as a kid and would constantly make up stories and draw them, and I never really stopped. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an artist and after high school, I ended up going to art college to study animation. After that, I worked as an Illustrations editor at a magazine publishing company for a few years and now I’m working full-time as a freelance illustrator. I’m very grateful to be able to do what I love for a living!
What is your daily work routine?
“I try to stick to normal office hours to create some structure to my day, but often if I’m losing focus. I’ll take a walk in the middle of the day so that I can come back to my desk with fresh inspiration and renewed energy.
I like to put on some good music or a podcast when I’m working and make some herbal tea - I don’t drink coffee as the caffeine makes me feel a bit shaky! I try to stick to normal office hours to create some structure to my day, but often if I’m losing focus. I’ll take a walk in the middle of the day so that I can come back to my desk with fresh inspiration and renewed energy. Then in the evenings, I make sure to enjoy some relaxation and switch off from work to recharge for the next day.
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
Ooooh, I think that has to be a tie between chocolate or cake. Even better - chocolate cake. Or pizza? This is a hard question.
Just a quick glimpse of your IG account, and you are immediately fascinated by the fantastic vivid colors, warmth, and whimsical scenery. Would you say your homeland influences your design aesthetic?
“I enjoy making colourful, whimsical art because it cheers me up to create it and put happy vibes out into the world.
Aw, thank you! I’m very much inspired by the world around me, but I also love travelling to other countries (pre-pandemic of course) and finding inspiration in new places. So while recently my work has been influenced a lot by my home landscapes, especially my collection for Lake, I like to draw inspiration from wherever I can. I enjoy making colourful, whimsical art because it cheers me up to create it and put happy vibes out into the world.
You have a bachelor’s degree in animation. Do you often combine illustration and animation?
I haven’t animated for a while actually. I definitely enjoy the design and visualisation process more than the technical aspects of animation, but I would love to get back into designing for animation as well as creating simple animated illustrations. I really enjoy creating beautiful visual stories and animation is just another format of that!
What type of artwork do you enjoy the most - print or digital? Why?
“I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that digital software provides. It’s a lot easier to make mistakes and decisions because you know that if something goes wrong it’s easily fixed by the touch of a button.
I create almost all of my artwork digitally these days on Procreate but I still keep a very scrappy sketchbook for dumping ideas and studies into. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that digital software provides. It’s a lot easier to make mistakes and decisions because you know that if something goes wrong it’s easily fixed by the touch of a button. I definitely miss that convenience when I move to traditional mediums! Saying that, I do love the spontaneous and raw feeling of traditional media which is difficult to emulate digitally, and you have to learn to live with your decisions and mistakes and find workarounds for them which creates its own imperfect charm. This is something I also consider when creating digital work and try to leave little imperfections here and there.
What inspires you besides creating?
So many things! Of course, I’m greatly inspired by spending time exploring the outdoors, but I’m also inspired by music, books, and films, as well as learning new things and experiencing exciting activities. Anything that makes me look at the world from a new perspective or discover something about myself and others is pretty inspiring to me.
When I’m not drawing, you might find me exploring the woods near my house, playing my guitar or watching a good drama on Netflix!
Who has been your greatest mentor?
That has to be my gran. We have a really close bond and she’s always been a supportive figure in my life. She reminds me to make the best of what I have and encourages me in everything I do.
The super sweet coloring book you made for Lake is titled “Mindful in Nature”. What does mindfulness mean to you?
To me, mindfulness means being present, being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and embracing the current moment.
To me, mindfulness means being present, being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and embracing the current moment. It’s a form of acceptance of your current situation and allows you to look at the world and your place within it objectively and without judgement. I have a tendency to get carried away by my own thoughts, so reminding myself to stay mindful helps to bring me back to reality and enjoy life in the here and now.
Tell us more about the “Mindful in Nature” coloring book.
I wanted to create a book that would be calming and enjoyable for Lake users to colour.
I wanted to create a book that would be calming and enjoyable for Lake users to colour. A common theme in my work is being peaceful and present in nature, so it felt right to incorporate this into my colouring pages. I adapted a few of my existing pieces and created some new ones for the collection that encapsulate this same feeling. Some illustrations are conceptual and imaginative while others are more realistic - but each piece has its own dreamy feeling that I hope will provide a fun and relaxing experience for people to colour.
Do you think coloring can help practice mindfulness?
I find coloring to be a very meditative and mindful activity. It allows you to focus your attention on something positive and just enjoy the process of playing and being creative in the moment.
Absolutely! I find coloring to be a very meditative and mindful activity. It allows you to focus your attention on something positive and just enjoy the process of playing and being creative in the moment.
We absolutely love having your art in Lake. What made you go with us?
Lake is such a beautiful app, and I love the fact that users can collaborate with me to complete their own colourful vision of my drawings.
Lake is such a beautiful app, and I love the fact that users can collaborate with me to complete their own colourful vision of my drawings. I also like the fact that you allow your artists the freedom to create the work that they want - it means that each collection in Lake is authentic to the creator and offers a wide variety of themes and styles for users to choose between.
Who would you recommend Lake to?
I would recommend Lake to anyone who wants a friendly space to unwind, have fun, and be creative with no pressure!
Can you tell us more about your recent projects and what have you been up to recently?
I recently began teaching on Skillshare, and I’m currently working on my next class which I’m very excited about. I also regularly illustrate short stories, which is super fun, and have a couple of personal projects in the works too. I’m very grateful to have been kept busy with inspiring projects this year!
Internet is the place to be, especially in 2020. How have social media impacted your business?
I only use Instagram at the moment as I find it the best platform for illustrators to showcase their work. It’s helped me to grow my community and become more confident with showing off my work, and I enjoy using it to be inspired by my favourite artists and connect with people. While social media is an amazing tool for growing your business, I find it necessary to create boundaries and not to equate a post’s popularity with the quality of my work.
For all the new fans, tell us where they can see your art and follow you?
And one last question, what is your message to all the aspiring young artists out there?
Create what you love, don’t be afraid to mess up, and most of all, have fun!