Holly Smith’s creating is inspired by the people, animals, and nature around her. In return, her drawings inspire others. Knowing from a young age that she wanted to be an artist, Holly specializes in a special technique – contour line drawing. Some of her drawings on Facebook, reflecting public figures very much in the news, attracted attention to her talents. Holly put down her drawing tools for a time to speak with us about how she creates these amazing drawings.
Were you always interested in art and drawing?
As far back as I can remember, I was always drawing and wanting to do all things creative. As a teenager, I was very interested in drawing cartoons, and thought I wanted to become a cartoonist.
Where did you go to school, what did you study?
I went to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, majoring in fine arts. There, I became interested in making abstract and impressionistic art. In one of my drawing classes, we did an exercise in contour line drawing, where each drawing consists of one continuous line, and you look at your subject, not your piece. This method creates a flowing abstract drawing. I was fascinated with this idea, and have never stopped using this technique.
How do you select your subjects?
Selecting subjects is really an organic process for me. I focus on whatever is inspiring me at the time, musicians, people who have done something to inspire me, animals, and nature. I have done many commissioned works of people, their pets, and often of lost loved ones as memorials. Even when my work is commissioned, it is an inspired process. Whether I’m rendering people, animals, pets, etc., I want to know names, personalities, and situations. It’s important to me to connect with the artwork. I love working together with clients in this way, truly from the heart.
Do you use photos for reference?
I do work from photos. When I go to see live music, or community events, I take tons of pictures, hoping to capture the right compositions, and then work from them at home.
How are the images created?
To this day, I love making line drawings. I start with this technique of looking at the subject, not the piece, and not picking up my pen, pencil, or brush for the first line. Sometimes, the piece is finished there, but usually I go back, and darken lines, add features, and maybe watercolor the piece.
What feelings do you hope your drawings convey to those who see them?
Making art is a life line for me. Not only does it help me breathe easier, but I quite literally specialize in line drawings, from life. My work comes straight from the heart, and I truly hope that is conveyed to others when they experience it.
All artwork by Holly Smith