Holly Nichols Debuts In The Editorial World
American fashion illustrator Holly Nichols has made her first major editorial debut with her own book, “Modern Fashin Illustration: Create Trending Stories & Develop a Personal Brand” (2021). In less than 200 pages, the author shows the creative process of fashion illustration, from the basic how-to information to the usage of your own material on social media.
Since April 13th, Holly’s book has been available on Amazon, Simon and Schuster, and Bookshop.org. For more information on the book and her journey, you can visit Holly’s website and support her work via Instagram as well.
To The Garnette Report, Holly has shared her insightful views and experiences when it comes to fashion illustration, both on paper and (mostly) in digital spaces.
Was your digital portfolio on social media, especially on Instagram, important for your artistic journey?
I grew my account pretty quickly and people would write to me to find out how to find my artwork commissioned me for my work. It all started in 2013, so Instagram was a very different place than it is now. I can certainly think of social media in a positive way as much as it can be problematic. It certainly has helped me with my career. Social media is really a blessing and a curse. It is a sword with double purposes, I would say.
Sometimes artists are a little bit afraid to share their own projects, and they’re afraid of critic, critics and so many other things, how do you deal with this process. How do you conquer the fear of publishing and just posting your work on social media?
Almost 10 years ago, I was posting purely because I wanted to share a piece of art that I made and I would just really love the creative process, so I would get excited about what I created and just share it, without really any thought or intent. Then I’m sure as you’re aware, and many people are aware, a few years ago everything changed a bit. It became this battle against numbers and algorithms and creating content over the artwork, and I fell into that place where I was stressing about what to post, if people would like it or if people would receive it well, and what they thought about my artwork. That was really stumping me artistically and making it really hard for me to make any art because it was just discouraging. I would get in these long periods where I didn’t want to make art and I felt kind of burnt out. And then, over the last few years, I just said to myself: “You know what? I’m going to stop caring about fearing feedback, fearing numbers, and analyzing those numbers, and just go back to posting what I want to, when I want to, and drawing what I want, when I want, and being okay with taking breaks from art if I need to“. I’m encouraged to see that a lot of other artists are adapting to that relationship with social media as well because it can be really discouraging.
What are some of the cliches that you have heard about your work or about your off your job?
Yeah, well I think the main one would be that fashion illustration is this glamorous lifestyle, with the glamorous subject matter. But my personal style is very laid back and approachable, and just comfortable. And similarly, in my artwork. I think fashion illustration is thought of as being this couture subject matter with these really tall runway models with elongated leggings and wearing couture elaborated gowns, which I do love drawing. However, in modern fashion illustration, it can be anything. So a lot of times I will draw a woman laying on their couch in pj’s, drinking a glass of wine, or having some tea with their dog or cat. Fashion illustration itself can be anything that is depicting, beauty or a garment that a person is wearing. People wear pajamas. People dress down. People’s hair isn’t always perfect and they’re not always made up.
Do you have any tips for beginners or anyone who would like to jump into the art world?
Just enjoy slowing down and enjoying the process of making art over stressing about those conditions. Also not being afraid to just use the tools that you have, because the tools of illustration and a lot of artwork can be really expensive. I know that discourages people to create art, but you can create a lot of amazing things with just paper from your printer, even and a pencil or even a ballpoint pen. When I started out, drawing my dresses I was a bartender, and I would just use a Sharpie, and the cocktail napkins that were sitting at the bar, and just draw dresses on those – anything can be your canvas and any tool will work. Then you can save money and work your way up to different supplies as they become accessible to you, but you don’t need to start with the cream of the crop or what is traditionally considered the ideal tool.
Who are the perfect audience and the perfect reader for your book?
The perfect audience is anyone and everyone. When I created the book, I wanted it to be suitable for any age and any skill level. What I’m hearing is that a lot of people are diving into it. I do hear a lot from people who have other paths but love returning to artwork. That always makes me happy to hear that it brought someone back to enjoying art and allowing themselves to do something for themselves. A lot of people just need the push. I always just encourage everyone to understand that everybody is an artist and that art doesn’t have to be only on paper, it can be creative thoughts, or just movement. Anything is art in this world, everybody is an artist.