Hot hot summer


Hot yellow swimsuit

It may not be summer when you’re reading this but I can assure you that today everyone will be wearing as much clothing as the woman below. I have to start thinking about autumn and Christmas at this time of year in regarding to commissions so am moving towards to icy blues, white and deep greens. But the odd pink and yellow illustration slips through.



The chinese horoscope, the year of the horse

The horse is one of the creatures of the Chinese horoscope

Some animals suit crowns better than others and horses certainly possess the poise necessary to carry a crown off. The horse certainly looks like they would be capable of wearing a crown all day. This illustration is one of a series of 12 of all the Chinese horoscope animals, all illustrated in a combination of graphite and acrylic.



The laughing nun

This is an illustration I’ve completed for a Dutch magazine illustrating the connection between religion and emotional well being. As I quite often do, I’ve linked detailed pencil work (and watercolour) with a block of colour for punch and drama. This time, I’ve added the block colour with acrylic but I often will add it afterwards digitally.

While I love intricate work, with the need to keep costs down as I am paid by the hour, I need to have an illustrative style that is appealing to art directors on tight deadlines!

A bit more about me and my work

Clara Nicoll – illustrator

I’ve shown examples of my work on this site but haven’t really gone into the things that make me love my job. So here are a few things about my style and my strengths, in no particular order:

1. Portraiture. We humans are amazing creatures and our ability to read other faces and distinguish expressions is so precise that in portraiture, there is no room for error. When you’ve been commissioned to draw an illustration of a celebrity or politician, it has to be exact. And I can do that. However, a slick car or something equally inorganic can be a challenge too but in a very different way.
2. Realism. Yes, I include splashes and stripes of colour into my work to create my art and give it my style but my precise work is usually the backbone of my pieces. There’s no point just copying, you have to add something of yourself too.
3. Other people. It’s a bit of a pity that I have two big likes work wise and they don’t gel together easily. I love illustration and I love interacting with people. It means that when I do meet people, I am able to get on well with them and work together.
4. My skin is thicker than a rhino’s. You wouldn’t do this job if you were a snowflake.
5. The state of deep mental absorption I get when I’m working. I’ve had other jobs in my life where I have sat at my desk watching the clock and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. One of my favourite things about illustration is the quietness that takes over and before you know it, your fingers are hurting and you’ve forgotten to blink for half an hour and there is someone on the page in front of you that you made.
6. Deadlines. I’ve never missed a deadline. I’m the person who will turn up for a train two hours early, just in case. I’d rather get things in early rather than leave to the last minute, and that has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.
7. I like making stuff. That pride a child gets when they hold something up and shout, ‘I made this!’. Well, I still get that feeling every time.

You can’t put lipstick on a pig. I heard that rude expression somewhere. But this fancy sow is wearing a crown and looking fabulous!