Laila - Holly Sharpe 72 dpi - Copy

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an artist and illustrator from Scotland, UK. I have lived in a few places, but have been based in Glasgow for the past few years where I have a lovely bright studio in the West End.

What kind of work do you do?
My work is always changing and evolving, or my approach to it is at least. My work is largely about women, usually with a fashion-esque edge to it, and ranges from drawing, painting, digital, and more recently collage as well.

Red - 72dpi - Holly Sharpe - Copy

When did you begin painting and what was your motivation?
I have painted from a very young age. My motivation has always been because I loved it; I loved doing it and I wanted to keep getting better and better at it. That is still my motivation. From a young age, teachers and family members spotted my talent and that added to my motivation. I hold the idea in my head of the desire to catch the eyes, heart, or imagination of someone looking at my work. I will continue to strive to amaze the viewer, which means there is always more to be done!

Aisha - Summer Edition- Holly Sharpe 72 dpi - Copy
Aisha – Summer Edition

You mentioned that your work includes digital art. What made you choose digital art as an art form and how would you compare it to your other work?
None of my work is solely digital. When I use Photoshop, I always start with original pieces which have been created by hand using pencil, ink, or paint. They are then all scanned in and Photoshop is only used as a tool to layer these elements or compose them in a way to achieve the desired final outcome. Compared to my other work, perhaps this work is more refined in some ways, given to the fact that you can continuously edit and explore so many options. However, I still try to keep a level of movement and spontaneity so it doesn’t become too rigid.

Hummingbird 72dpi Holly Sharpe

How do you think about your paintings in relation to your recent work with collages?
My recent collage work is actually the same thing I would usually do in Photoshop, but instead I create it manually by hand. They are both all about layers and composition, only that the physical collages become more tactile and 3D. I love working in layers and this probably stems from my background in printed textiles which is all about layers. I suppose painting is at the core of all of this and these are all developments from that, which, again, may be from my background in design as opposed to fine art. I have SO many ideas all the time that I think it suits me to work in a few different ways and approaches.

Evening Bloom collage 72dpi Holly Sharpe
Evening Bloom Collage

What is your ideal environment for creating?
It depends what I am working on. I need the head space and focus to be able to get into the zone and sometimes that can happen in different environments as long as the conditions are right. Sometimes the right music really helps, but actually a lot of the time I also listen to podcasts, Ted Talks, or audiobooks. I am really lucky to have a bright and spacious studio space and that is where I usually work. If I feel like mixing things up I will sometimes work from a cafe or from home.

Dior Garden 72dpi Holly Sharpe - Copy
Dior Garden

What kinds of techniques are you working with right now?
I am working with a few different things at the moment, including trying to finish some new digital illustrations. I am working on about 10 simultaneously so it is taking a while to get them to where I want them to be! I have also been using acrylics for the first time in years to paint on fabric for tote bags which has been quite different but very enjoyable. I am starting to really love acrylics and how much flexibility you have with them over watercolours or inks. My collages are also an ongoing project: the whole process from painting the pieces, then cutting them all out by hand, then choosing different compositions, and then making the final piece, takes a really long time. So I am trying to treat them as a long term goal and be patient with them!

Warrior II - Holly Sharpe 72DPI - Copy
Warrior II

Lastly, any upcoming exhibitions or news that you would like to share with us?
I will be exhibiting for 3 weeks in the Edinburgh Festival again this year in August which is always fun. In other news, a book I am really excited to be featured in has now been published by Spanish publishers Monsa Publications and is available here: You can see more photos from the book on my Instagram!


Holly Sharpe bio pic 3 - CopyHolly Sharpe is an artist and illustrator from Scotland, UK. As well as working on commissions for various clients, Holly also dedicates a lot of time and focus to continually creating her own new drawings and illustrations. Her work usually explores colour, fashion, and female expression whilst constantly exploring new ideas and playing with different aesthetics. Holly originally studied Printed Textiles, and this is feeding into her work more and more as her work becomes more layered and tactile with a strong patterned aesthetic, namely in her recent ‘collage’ works. @hollysharpe. @hollysharpe_drawings