Freelance Illustrator Marie Holyhead

Marie Holyhead is a freelance illustrator, having recently graduated in Illustration from Plymouth University of Art.


‘Studying my Foundation at the Arts University Bournemouth I toyed around with the idea of doing fine art; annoying the tutors by constantly switching between the illustration and fine art classes. But ultimately I realised that I get a real thrill out of creating imagery with a specific context and audience in mind, and so illustration won. My illustrative style is largely realistic with an added touch of absurdity. As soon as I embraced my sense of humour, and injected some funniness into my illustrations, my work began to come to life. Sometimes the humour is very gentle, such as that used for my card designs and other times it takes a more surreal form. I love drawing all the time and everywhere; I hold no qualms in drawing strangers very close to their face as they are munching away! It helps me to get interesting compositions and also to observe funny social observations.’


‘Recently I have been drawing a lot of animals. I designed the Plymouth Hot 14 degree show poster of a cheeky looking goose wearing a sombrero, which was chosen to be displayed in the Natural History Museum. The fun of creating the design inspired me to create an A-Z phonetic children’s book of animals wearing accessories, which I anticipating finishing in the upcoming months. It features the likes of a pheasant wearing a fez and a rather fierce looking baboon wearing a beret.

My creative process tends to begin with scouring for good reference, doing a careful tonal drawing using graphite pencils and lastly adding the colours layer by layer digitally. I also like to screen print, as I enjoy the process of layering colours to create a unique hand-made image. The physical aspect of screen printing also gives me the satisfaction that I have worked for my image! I love doing illustrations for editorials and book covers as I really enjoy reading and thinking about the overall meaning of the text and how I can summarise it in a singular image. Often (where appropriate) I will give it a humorous twist. A recent book cover I created was for Animal Farm, (which involved me drawing a sexy looking pig) and my love of the book inspired me to read more of Orwell’s work. I am currently reading 1984 which I will also illustrate!’





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