We Love Nature!

BooksDenise Holmes18 Comments

It's official! I have a book published with my illustrations in it! I created over 200 drawings for this one - from cute characters doing outdoor activities to little nature inspired spot illustrations. I could not be more excited to share a few of my favorite pages with you!

my little nod to Wisconsin!

The book is available at Roost Books and Amazon

Letter H

Illustration, Happy Happy, AnnouncementsDenise HolmesComment

While sketching ideas out for my Letter H over on the Happy Happy blog, I ended up with a few little drawings that I hated to let go to waste. I thought what better than to make a fun pattern with them?! So many cute things that start with the letter H! 

In other important news, I received a copy of a book I illustrated called We Love Nature! Can't wait to show you some of the 200 illustrations I made for the it! 

I'm off to start getting things ready for my daughter's SECOND birthday party this weekend! Where does the time go?!

Happy People

Happy HappyDenise HolmesComment

I gotta tell you, I struggle with handlettering - like no other struggle. Okay, I have my fair share of struggles, but handlettering is my weakness. Luckily, over at the Happy Happy Art Collective our February group project was to create a handlettered illustration with a quote we came up with "Art is for Happy Happy People." You can see my full piece here


Still need to work on my handlettering, but you can see what my fellow mates came up with as well here. Looking forward to our March project - book covers! 

Letter E

Denise Holmes4 Comments

Over at Happy Happy Art Collective we are working our way through the Alphabet.

Today I'm posting the letter E - won't you come by and find all the E's I illustrated

And if you get a chance check out our new gallery page - you can see all the letters we've completed so far. It's fun to see how different all of our work is and what amazing illustrations the collective creates! 

Happy Happy Art Collective

Happy HappyDenise Holmes2 Comments

It's official! I am excited to tell you about the little art collective that I am apart of! Just after the holidays, I received an e-mail from my friend and fellow MATS buddy, Tammie, saying she wanted to start an art collective and if I would like to be involved. Of course, I hopped on the bandwagon right away!


What exactly is Happy Happy Art Collective?

We are six creative gals (Denise Holmes, Jill Howarth, Tammie Bennett, Pauline "Muffin" Grayson, Emily Balsley and Lauren Minco) on a mission to make happy art for happy people. We met in Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells e-course in 2013 and decided to join forces to spread our happy art all over the world! 

You can read about each the members on the blog - Tammie, Emily, Muffin, Lauren, Jill and myself


I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing and talented group! Visit our new website at Happy Happy Art Collective to see group projects, print free downloads, and read our artist bios. We have a handful of projects just waiting to be published - who knows, it might make you happy! 

A little folksy

Announcements, IllustrationDenise Holmes4 Comments

Once a month over on The Ink Nest blog, I contribute a post about trends. When Sabina asked if I would be interested, I have to tell you - I never paid attention to trends. After spending many hours researching 2014 trends and sourcing for images, I feel like I'm slowly becoming quite the expert. I think it's important as an illustrator to be aware of what is trending now and what is going to be trending in the future, but it is equally as important to follow what interests you. Myself, I believe elephants and the color turquoise will always be one of my favorites! 

Anyways, stop over and see my post this month on the "folk" trend. I'm very proud of it and a bunch of us Ink Nest artists created some new sets for the shop. 

My new set is available in my etsy shop Little Happy Drawings and over on The Ink Nest

Hello 2014!

Illustration, SchoolDenise Holmes2 Comments

I love the start of a new year! This one has proven to be quite the challenge so far. With a giant book deadline looming right over me, the flu decided to kick my butt and then my daughters. If things couldn't have gotten worse, it then decides to become pneumonia. I do have so many goals and challenges for myself this year, so instead of typing them all for you to see a boring list - I'm just going to let you know that they do exist, you are just not going to see them. 

One of my daily Hazel & I collaborative pieces...

Instead, I will just have to prove myself by posting here on the blog. By the way, have you seen my new website? I recently switched back to using Squarespace for a million reasons, but the number one is because it's just so easy to update my portfolio section. So, hopefully you've found me and you can add my new blog to your feedly! 

Design Garden Classes

I am excited to take Design Garden's Trends class coming up at the end of the month. I have a full review of The Foundations course coming up soon, but in the meantime, check out their new website and take a look at the classes they offer! 

Bunny Apple Love

IllustrationDenise Holmes1 Comment


How are the holidays already here? I have so much to do and so little time! I hope you have your act more together than I do!

Have you seen Tammie's new website?

I have 2 new holiday themed clip art sets for sale in the shop.

Check out my monthly trend reports over on The Ink Nest.

Nicky has some really cute 2014 Tea Towel calendars for sale in her Spoonflower shop.

Emily drew a really cute cookie themed December desktop calendar.

And last, I made this video for MATS part B.

Make Art That Sells Part B – Week 5 – Party Paper

IllustrationDenise Holmes2 Comments

Where do I even begin? 7 years ago I quit my desk job and decided I would make art and sell it on etsy. Over the years I have made greeting cards, designed wedding invitations, created whimsical logos and illustrated a children's book. All the while I worked at drawing every single day. When Lilla Rogers announced that she and Beth designed a class for illustrators that teaches you how to make art for all the different markets (paper goods, home decor, editorial, ect.), I knew this would be a life changing opportunity. I signed up the second I could (although there was a hesitation when I found out the cost, thanks for convincing me Tammie!) And now I can't believe I am saying that the two part Make Art That Sells course has ended. I looked forward to this class more than anything this past year and it flew by in an instant. I wrote my review of Part A over on the Aeolidia blog - you can read it here. Part B was even better! Every market covered was a market I would want to work in. Yes, even scrapbooking. And now look at me, I have five new pieces of amazing work to add to my portfolio.

Here is my final piece for the class. Party paper is a FUN market. Lilla's theme was Ukrainian Folk Art. I took my own twist on the subject and came up with this folksy garden party. During the lesson this week, Lilla noted that birds and floras do really well. So, I took that knowledge and used it to create this plate, napkin and cup set. I wanted to go out with a bang and I am pretty darn happy with it!


My work has grown leaps and bounds thanks to this course. • I can now create work for every market and make it a denise holmes! • I can whip up an amazing piece of art with a tight deadline. Granted there are a few sleepless nights and a heavy eye twitch going on. • I know the best way to start an assignment - icons, icons, icons! • I now know that a piece needs to be able to stand out even as a tiny thumbnail. Bet you never thought about that! • I now know what art directors are looking for. • I met a bunch of amazing, creative and talented people! • I can see a huge difference in my work - even a difference from part A to part B!

Lilla and Beth thank you so much for this class. There is nothing else like it! Thank you Lilla for sharing all your knowledge and insightful reviews!

You can check out the class here. Visit some other of my talented classmates Emily, Tammie and Flora.

Make Art That Sells Part B – Week 4 – Editorial

Illustration, SchoolDenise Holmes7 Comments

Week 4 ended and I got sad knowing next week is the very last of Make Art That Sells....ever! It is bittersweet, but I will leave my thoughts for next weeks post. Editorial work is something I have a small bit of experience in. Lilla says Editorial work is about creating art for editorial and books. I always thought of illustrating for books as its own market, but now I get that editorial work is a form of storytelling and well that goes perfectly along with books. Our assignment this week was to create a map of the city we live in. I instantly thought about Chicago and all the great little coffee roasters popping up around town.

denise_holmes_chicago_1b_week4 mats_map2

Coffee is pretty much a necessity with me. I do get that slight headache if I don't have my morning cup right away, yes that is addiction, my friends. I started drinking coffee at my grandmother's house when I was way too young. Granted it was probably a full cup of half and half, sugar and a drop of coffee. But it was delicious and I have been hooked ever since. You know that is probably why I am so short! Needless to say it is no surprise coffee was on my mind as I created this map. Because of the coverage of Chicago and the size of the page we were given, I decided to leave off the streets. I like the idea of this map being more of a story than a maps intended use. Plus everyone has a smart phone now - when you come to visit and seek out one of these roasters, you can just google map it.

It was a fun week with a fun assignment, now I must go and make a cup!


Illustration, PatternDenise HolmesComment

Well, instead of being productive and getting any work done while my daughter naps, I decided to create a few patterns from some of the icons in my scrapbooking assignment. I love me some fun patterns! mercipattern1




I was lucky to be interviewed by the lovely Kate over on her blog - KMericks. Check it out if you would like to read more about mwah!

And so much goodness coming out of Make Are that Sells. Did you see Dotty Wren Studio? A collective with 4 of some of my very favorite artists! Congratulations you guys!

Now really, I have to go get some work done!

Make Art That Sells Part B – Week 3 – Scrapbooking

IllustrationDenise HolmesComment

The 3rd week zipped by of course! I think a lot of my classmates were thinking the same thing about this weeks theme. Scrapbooking?! Let's just say, it was never a market I thought I would be interested in. Of course, Lilla was able to change my mind and I opened myself up into the world of creating illustrations for the scrapbooking market. There is actually a lot of fun little pockets in the market where I see great work being made. Have you heard of Amy Tangerine? Her scrapbooking designs are pretty cute!

It took me a couple days to actually dig in and start to enjoy the assignment. This week was all about vintage cameras and typewriters and the idea of "recording your life." My theme finally clicked Saturday morning...24 hours before our assignment was due. I was attracted to the idea of a cute cat recording her time in Paris. She writes letters to her mother and father, takes pictures, and eats macaroons. Now, I don't think I would mind being this cat for a week or so!


Fun right?! I also had the opportunity to work with my illustrations in a new way. I am currently in Design Garden's Create Hand Drawn Vector class with Sabina and this past Friday's lecture was all about, a new way to me, of creating vectors in Illustrator. Before learning Sabina's technique of scanning and working in Illustrator, I had a 20 step process of scanning the images, opening in Photoshop, saving each individual image as a bitmap and then opening them in Illustrator. Let's just say it used to take me a very very long time to do my work. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to learn Sabina's way!!!