A Look Inside the Dreamy World of Holly Nichols
I met Holly at an event a few months back, after following her on Instagram for quite awhile. It is always so nice to meet people that you’ve been following in person! Holly runs H. Nichols Illustration, a fashion-inspired illustration studio in Braintree (we love this recent tour of her studio). She has established herself in both the fashion and art communities, and has had some pretty amazing opportunities to attend fashion shows and collaborate with neat brands. We love her glitzy illustrations.
We caught up with Holly to learn more about her daily life and what inspires her…
Holly, we love your work! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first fell in love with illustrating.
Thank you! I grew up in a family that always encouraged creativity and I have been attracted to the arts from a young age. I took piano lessons, dance lessons, and private art lessons starting in grade school. I decided to pursue my love for art at Endicott College and graduated with my BFA in Studio Art. I started exploring fashion illustration in college and started a social media account posting my fashion sketches post-graduation, which quickly ended up becoming my full-time job!
Are you from the Boston area originally?
Yes, just south in Quincy, where I still live today! My studio is a skip away in Braintree.
Have you always felt inspired by fashion? Has your artwork always been focused around fashion?
Yes. I really love looking at a fabric or texture and thinking “how would I draw that”? It started with drawing family members’ prom gowns and wedding dresses and grew to an obsession of watching runway shows and trying to sketch them as quickly as I could. I wish I could say that I had the skill to bring them to life, but so far, I just imagine them on paper! My mother knows how to sew and I tried to learn from her, but I only got so far as constructing a cardboard dress with a glue gun!
Do you have an all-time favorite print?
It’s funny because since I package them all day, I get tired of seeing them so often. In fact, my walls are filled with other people’s art. I do like them right after I finish them, while they’re still fresh. I will say, however, my favorite print right now is Dazzle. I really enjoy drawing movement in hair and I had a lot of fun doing that in this sketch.
When you are looking to unwind and re-inspire, what do you do?
I play the piano. It’s very meditative and an alternative art that I don’t have to think of as my job (although when I’m not making art for clients I still enjoy making art for myself).
If you’re looking for a fun night out, where do you goand what do you?
I love The Liberty Hotel and their Fashionably Late events on Thursday. My friends and I enjoy sitting on the second level, snacking on truffle fries and sipping champagne while watching the fashion show.
Your illustrations are so bright and cheery. Do you have a muse or someone whose style you adore?
Oh my there are so many! I do love Olivia Palermo’s style (who wouldn’t), and I find inspiration in Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, and a lot of vintage Dior.
What’s next for you and H. Nichols Illustration?
I take it one day at a time! It seems like I have an exciting opportunity present itself every week, and I am very grateful for that. I was invited to New York Fashion Week last year and I would love some day to be at Paris Fashion Week!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up and check email and social media. After that I get ready and head to my studio in Braintree where I package the orders that came in from my Etsy shop overnight. This usually takes all morning, so my sketching for brands begins at noon. I pretty much sketch, whether its for a brand or for myself, until it’s time for bed! I should add, there is a lot of coffee in between all of those events, and while I’m working I love listening to podcasts, particularly The Moth. I feel lucky that my job, although very stressful at times, feels very little like work because it is something that brings me so much happiness.
Image credit: 1/ Shannon Michelle, 2 & 3/ courtesy of Holly Nichols.