Hello and welcome!
If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, or are new to my work - Hey, nice to meet you! My name is Hayley and I am a freelance illustrator from Nottinghamshire. I graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2018 with a degree in Illustration, and I am soon be starting a Masters in Illustration at Nottingham Trent University, so I’ll most likely be talking about that quite a lot in the coming months!
I wanted to make this blog to share and record the progress of my projects, as well as enable people who follow me to learn a little bit more about me and things I'm interested in. The main themes in my illustrations are botany and natural history, so there's bound to be lots of rambles on here about plants and flowers. I'm currently trying to expand my knowledge in this area, and learn more about the science and history behind botany and the field of botanical illustration, so I'll be sharing any books I'm reading and any interesting facts I come across.
If you're still following me from when I used my old Instagram account, then you'll notice my art style has changed and evolved quite erratically over the past few years. Before I experimented with digital art, I was adamant I would only ever be a traditional artist; my go-to art materials were coloured pencils, and I longed to be skilled in using watercolour and oils. I was utterly fascinated by portraiture and the human anatomy; something I'm still interested in, but I ultimately felt like capturing the human figure (the way I used to, at least) was more of a subject for fine art, and as I knew I wanted to pursue an illustration career, I decided to change my way of working.
I got a little Wacom drawing tablet at the end of 2017, and soon fell in love with working digitally, but I still missed the classic feel of putting pencil to paper. I much preferred the 'organic' look of actual graphite sketches rather that the digital replica of it, as to me it never quite looked as effective. I decided to try scanning my pencil drawings and adding colour to them digitally, and after playing around with some watercolour textures I made, I discovered a way of working where I could use my favourite drawing media, have the convenience of being able to easily change and create colours as well as creating an antique, watercolour effect whilst still being terrible at actually painting. I should probably also mention I'm very inspired by traditional botanical illustrations, which is why I tend to use a beige-brown background to my drawings. I'm currently reading a book about the female titans of the practice of botanical illustration, which I would like to write a whole post about once I've finished it - so watch this space for that!
My aim is to treat this blog a little bit like a diary; it’ll be a place for me to share my trials and errors as I journey into the realm of being a creative freelancer, whilst also expressing my general thoughts and feelings. I’ve always been much better at articulating what’s going on in my head through writing, rather than speaking out loud about it, so I’m hoping that this will be quite a therapeutic experience for me!
I would ideally like to share something with you all at least weekly, hopefully twice a week if I have the time! Some posts may just be short updates and work in progress shots of anything I’m working on at the time, but I’ll definitely do my best to keep things interesting and to a schedule.
Thank you so much for checking out my blog! To wrap up this introductory post, I’ll leave a few little fun facts about myself:
- I’m veggie (for a little over 3 years now!)
- I love love love vintage/retro/secondhand stuff - most of my clothes are secondhand and I have a ton of tat that I’ve picked up from vintage shops.
- Despite the fact I really enjoy reading, I find it really difficult to actually finish the entirety of a book most of the time.
- I’m a real night owl; I start doing work when most of the day has already passed and spend most of the morning doing just about nothing. (A bad habit I’m continually trying to break, and continually failing to do so.)
- When I was about 12 I got really into anime and manga, and was convinced I was going to be a manga artist when I grew up. I soon realised I was really bad at telling stories in a graphic novel format and gave up on the idea, but I would still love to make a graphic novel some day.
- My favourite colour is yellow. (Obviously, THE most important thing about me!)