Loughborough University Illustration Student Holly Chillcott

Holly Chillcott is a current Loughborough University student, graduating this summer studying BA (Hons) Illustration. Taking inspiration from creatives such as Laura Carlin and Victoria Semykina she already has a great portfolio of work to take her next step into the industry.


“I am a student in my final term of my final year at Loughborough University studying BA (Hons) Illustration. My work is handcrafted using multimedia and digital manipulation to create layered, colourful images. I draw inspiration from Laura Carlin who with simplistic brush strokes creates such engaging characters. Also Victoria Semykina’s paper structures and her use of colour and found materials to create images are refreshing. My work is also inspired by location and culture, I love exploring new places and absorbing the atmosphere. Drawing and collecting materials from somewhere I’ve never been before helps me generate new and exciting ideas. For three weeks over the summer of 2012 I went InterRailing over Eastern Europe and it has inspired many of my final year projects.

All the elements of my final artworks are handcrafted in my sketchbook, which I then scan in, alter and assemble within Photoshop. I feel this process gives me greater control over the outcome without ruining the original drawing. It also enables me to keep a handcrafted aesthetic I want to maintain within my work. I have recently been using Brusho, which gives me the rich pigmented colour I have always been searching for. The texture and nature of the material creates beautiful colours and patterns, which I feel add a new dimension to my work.”


“I particularly enjoy visualising narrative. One of my recent University projects was to illustrate the cover and internal illustrations of ‘Secret Speech’, a book written by Tom Rob Smith. Based on fact, it’s a fictional story of 1956 Soviet Russia. To reflect the themes of hope and despair in the book, creating atmosphere and drama was key to my images. The use of light can determine atmosphere and I sometimes use photography to create the desired effect in my pieces. The San Francisco cityscape was simply a photograph of a 2D drawing I cut into, so that certain parts could pop up and I lit it from underneath using a desk lamp to create the sunset effect.

I am currently reading ‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler so I can design the book cover for the penguin awards 2013. I am also working on an illustrated travel guide to Eastern Europe based on my personal experiences on my InterRail trip. Taking inspiration from Sara Midda’s sketchbook of Southern France and ‘The Sketchbook Project’ I hope to create a book that inspires the readers to embark on their own journey and share their stories also.”




Follow Holly Chillcott on her Tumblr and @HollyChillcott.