Ms. Holly Nichols is an acclaimed illustrator based in the US. A newly established prize, "Special Award: Selected by Holly Nichols" is named after Ms. Nichols, and she will judge the entries herself. We interviewed her about her career and her thoughts on being a judge for 2021 AWARD.
ーCould you introduce yourself for those who are unfamiliar with your works?
My name is Holly Nichols. I am a Boston-Based fashion illustrator and I’ve been using Copic Markers for over ten years. I love sketching fashion and beauty inspired drawings that depict everything from couture gowns, to casual work-from-home outfits. My work is sold internationally, and I work with brands in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle spaces to illustrate creative campaigns, retail products, publications, and more.
ーWhat inspired you to start to create fashion illustrations? What is your artistic background?
I have always loved both fashion and art and have taken art lessons since I was a young child. I was trained in Fine Arts and painted with oils and acrylics as a young student of the arts. I studied art in college, which gave me the flexibility to create a body of work that was unique to my style. I took the illustration portfolio I had created in undergrad and started an Instagram account @Hnicholsillustration upon graduating in 2013. The account grew pretty rapidly, and I happily share my work process using Copics with my followers from around the world every day.
ーWho and what inspires you?
I am highly inspired by travel and fashion. Both present themselves as strong themes in my work to this day! In addition to visual arts, I have long participated in performing arts including music and dance, both of which inspire me, and I continue to practice as well.
ーWhen did you first start using Copic markers and why did you choose Copics in particular?
I discovered Copics as a Freshman Interior Design major in College. At the time, I was using them to sketch interior renderings. I instantly fell in love with them for their streamline application, color selection, and impeccable blend-ability. During this time, I found that they worked magically in application to Fashion Illustration. The brush tip end of the “Sketch” markers lends incredibly well to sketching movement in garments. I soon switched my major to Studio Art, so I had the flexibility to make Fashion Illustration the focus of my body of work.
ーWhat are your favorite Copic colors and why?
My most frequently visited markers are the Earth Tones because I love sketching people and hair, and the earth tones work wonderfully to render each of those. My favorite marker color, however, is BV01- which I find to be a lovely periwinkle. It shows up frequently in my work, which is why I chose it to illustrate the gown on my book cover!
ーCould you tell us any tips and techniques when you illustrate with Copic?
Sketching with a light hand and application makes the markers capability shine. Let the brush strokes dance on the paper. Work from your lightest color, to the darkest. One of my favorite features of Copic Markers is how buildable they are. You can achieve so much depth and value simply by building one color layer by layer!
ーCould you tell us about your dreams and artistic goals?
My dream would be to create art in new places. The past year has limited where I can create art safely, of course, and I look forward to seeing the world with my markers (Which luckily are so = easy to travel with!)
ーWould you tell us about your new book, “Modern Fashion Illustration”?
Modern Fashion Illustration is a how-to book chronicling the step-by-step process of how I approach Fashion Illustrations. It is ideal for all skill levels and ages, including beginners. Not only does it cover the technical aspects of how to complete a fashion illustration, but it teaches you how to dream up the theme of the illustration, how to share you work on social media, and how to build a marker collection among many other things. I am so happy it’s finally here!
ーThank you for accepting our offer to be a judge of Copic Award 2021. A special award selected by Holly Nichols is newly created this year. What kind of artworks do you expect to see in the award?
It is an absolute honor! There is nothing I love more than seeing the work of other artists. I am looking forward to seeing dynamic work that features movement and detail, while using the functionality and range of Copic Markers to the artist’s best abilities.
ーAny last messages or advice you'd like to share with this year's Copic Award participants?
I always tell people I meet that everyone is an artist. Art can be creative thought, movement, or physical work. Do not be afraid to explore your own potential, and do not let the fear or perfection prevent you from discovering your own creativity.