Illustration We Love: Holly St Clair

Hi friends, here’s an interview with one of our favourite illustrators, Holly St Clair. We often see Holly at the art markets that we sell our stuff at, usually sitting behind a table of cute socks, great little zines and very nice prints. Holly has worked for The New York Times, Lazy Oaf and has exhibited in the recent and very awesome No Planet No Fun exhibition. Keep reading to find what Holly’s eating, drinking, looking at, listening to and a sneak peek into Holly’s sketchbooks. Enjoy!

1. Hello Holly, tell us a bit about yourself

I’m an illustrator based in London, UK. I’m 25. My star sign is Libra Sun, Virgo Moon, Scorpio Rising. My work is all about relatability – I love it when people look at my stuff and go ‘that’s me!”

2. How do you make your work? What materials do you use?

Most of my client work these days is digital. I use an iPad to draw, it’s fantastic as I can get out and about with my work! I still love getting my hands dirty though, I’ve recently started learning how to use a bead loom and have gotten back into sewing.

Window display for DIY Art Shop’s festive pop-up 'Giftland'
Leaflet for DIY Art Shop’s festive pop-up 'Giftland'

3. Do you listen to or watch anything while you work? Music, TV, podcasts, etc?

I’m a huge true crime podcast nerd, it drives my fiancé crazy. I’ll be sitting and drawing smiley flowers and hearts and at the same time listening to a show about what Ed Kemper did to his Mum’s head. The Last Podcast on the Left is a favourite. Quite often I’ll put a comedy on – something like This Country, Derry Girls, or The Thick Of it. If I have to knuckle down and work though, that means it’s time for Wu Tang Clan, Kanye, Lauryn Hill, and Stormzy. Energising music that gets me in the zone!

'For You' Blanket by Holly St Clair

4. What’s your typical working day like?

I’m up at 8.30am, I’m not a morning person and it takes me a couple of hours before I feel ready to start the day. Mornings are for admin – responding to emails, checking the shop for orders, replying to people on Instagram. After lunch I focus on commissions and any creative work, then towards the end of the day I try to dedicate some time to learning a craft. At the moment I’m learning how to use a bead loom! It’s a great way to wind down.

Illustration by Holly St Clair

5. What’s your favourite drink? What’s your favourite eat? 

I drink a stupid amount of tea throughout the day. If I’m working from a cafe, I’m nearly always at Stir Coffee in Brixton – they have a sandwich called the ‘Vegan Vegan Vegan’ and it’s well up there in my Top Ten sandwiches. 

One sugar please by Holly St Clair

6. What would be your dream collaboration? 

I’m desperate to work with a make-up brand – particularly a K-beauty brand, they are always so creative when it comes to packaging and marketing. I love fashion and so collaborating with a brand like Lazy Oaf, Monki, SCRT or Dr Banana would be a dream.

7. You’re based in London right? Where would you take us on a fun day out in the city?

I’m a South Londoner (south pronounced s-a-r-f) so we would head to Brixton, Peckham, Camberwell. We’ll stay as far away from Leicester Square as possible and if it’s sunny go walk dogs in a park. 

Risograph print for No Planet No Fun by Holly St Clair
Illustration by Holly St Clair

8. We loved your recent Good Night Kickstarter – how did it go and do you have any top tips for running a successful campaign? 

It was definitely a challenge, I learnt a lot. Overall though, it was an incredibly positive experience! One thing I’m particularly happy with is the ambition of the project, I feel like I pushed my abilities but still delivered what I wanted and the customers deserved. I definitely made a few errors, for example my jumpers took longer to manufacture than anticipated so I missed the deadline I set. It’s all good practice for the next one though! I actually have everything designed and most of my samples ready, it’s just too bad the apocalypse has decided to descend. These are exceptional circumstances though, so I won’t be too upset if I end up creating only one collection this year.

These are my top Kickstarter tips:

  1. Be realistic about what you can achieve – better to promise less and deliver more.
  2. Communicate as much as you can with backers. I found this really difficult and a little overwhelming at times, it’s something I have to improve on for the next campaign. People need reassurance that they’ve spent their hard earned money on something good!
  3. Put a face to your campaign. I started to film myself answering questions about the campaign on Instagram stories, it really helped to demonstrate the fit and style of the garments. It lends an element of credibility and honesty to your campaign too.
  4. Ask for help! I spoke to a lot of other people who had run similar campaigns, people like Mr Bingo, and it was immensely helpful. Talk to lots of different people and get as much feedback as possible.  
  5. Do your homework! You need to do your Maths and English assignments. Make sure your numbers add up and your campaign is well-written.
Cloud patch from Holly's Goodnight Kickstarter
Socks from Holly's Goodnight Kickstarter

9. Who are your current fave creatives? Is there anyone you’d like to big up?

That’s tricky! I’m loving Subin Yang’s work. Everything is so cute and playful!

Illustration by Holly St Clair

10. What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any exciting new projects coming up?

I’ve been working with Rick Glassman on some merch for his podcast, Take Your Shoes Off. His mascot is a goblin, we’re having so much fun with it. We already have some super cute sweatshirts in his shop. His podcast is great if you enjoy listening to comedians getting high and chatting shit!

There are other projects in the works but I’m keeping them on the downlow – COVID-19 is after my job…!

Holly St Clair sketchbook

Holly has also very kindly shared some nice sketchbook pictures with us!

Holiday St Clair's sketchbooks
Holly St Clair's sketchbooks
Holly St Clair's sketchbooks
Holly St Clair's sketchbooks
Holly St Clair's sketchbooks

Go check out Holly’s website and shop!

Follow Holly on instagram

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