It feels like it’s time again, to make a list of inspiring illustrators/artists. A 2017 list is here, and a 2015 one here. Most of those still apply and many of the following I already liked. But anyway, here’s who has been particularly inspiring me lately:

Victoria Semykina : vivid and striking collage-y fun. Her work challenges me to stretch myself further and care about things and figure out what things I care about.

James Gurney : masterful imaginative realism, you know him from Dinotopia. It’s not like I’ve ever not been inspired by him. But it’s been more of a focussed inspiration lately! And his blog and YouTube are filled with useful information.

Pam Smy : bold thoughtful greyscale. I bought her book off the basis of like one illustration I loved it so much. Her line vs texture vs shading is fascinating and all her characters have such emotion to them.

Andrea Serio : !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s it guys. His art just blows me away. 

Charlotte Ager : weird bright mixed media. Her work is more abstract and sketchy-messy than I usually like but some of it (landscapes/architecture particularly) just astounds me in its perfection. A reminder that all the styles of art can be good.

Some others I feel like I’m maybe on the cusp of getting really into: Laura Carlin, William Grill, and Dominique Corbasson.


Some mid-inktober youtube recs:

  • Alphonso Dunn has so many incredibly useful pen and ink tutorial videos. How to create texture and contrast and lighting etc using hatching and shading? He has you covered. Plus, he’s really calming and encouraging and makes you feel like you can manage no matter how complicated it is.
  • Minnie Small is uploading a short video each day of #inktober (along the theme Houses (and what haunts them)) and they are beautiful highlights of my day. Some of them are narrated, some have backing music, all are lovely. Her travel sketchbooks, and travel videos in general, are also really lovely and I always leave her channel feeling refreshed and more positive about life.
  • Chris Mould (not a channel, but a search) does amazing work in ballpoint pen and the videos where Shoo Rayner interviewed him showed an amazing sketchbook and a lighthearted but dedicated approach to creating art. Also his advice to ‘stick with it, don’t be careful, keep going, keep going’ and ‘there’s no such thing as a bad drawing, just a drawing that’s not finished yet’ has got me through several inktober pictures so far and is the sort of motto that I personally really need.

Hey Friends!

I’ve not been posting a lot lately because…

I’ve been working on two pictures for a children’s book that will be published next year and available in bookstores!

I can’t actually, like, give you information about it yet. But early-ish next year you can expect to see me getting all hyped and giving you information.

This is a really big deal for me and I’m super grateful to all of you for all the nice comments you’ve all been leaving on my pictures (some of you for years!) that have kept me encouraged.

Love and hugs,


It’s Portfolio Time Again!

Okay so I’m putting together my portfolio again, making lists of things I think are missing from it, and trying to put forth a cohesive and comprehensive view of myself as an illustrator (particularly, at this point, for children’s/YA, including both fiction and non-fiction).

If you want to be super helpful, you can let me know your favourites of my illustrations, both generally (from @sylviamorrisillustration) and specifically from the @sylviamorris-illustrates-hp3 project. I need to show I can draw the same character multiple times, so if you really like a single piece I might just pull that character out and do a character sheet for them. 

Alternatively, I’m really feeling in a history/non-fiction kind of mood, so if you’ve got a fave historical figure, suggest them and I might do a few illustrations for them. 

If you’re on the negative side of things, feel free to point out pieces that you think look a little wonky, or just off, or hard to interpret, so I know to avoid putting them in my folio 🙂

Anyone who does this: seriously thanks.

A long time ago I made a post of illustrators that I was particularly inspired by at the time. I stand by that list and I honestly still hold them up as pretty great inspirations. But I wanna also make a new list of illustrators that I’m feeling particularly inspired by right now:

@rovinacaiart : delicate, detailed, mysterious, fascinating. makes you want to drift into a portal.

Shaun Tan: strange, entrancing, surreal. and beautiful. makes you feel like you have drifted into a portal. 

(These are similar descriptions I know but I feel like Rovina Cai’s work feels more like nostalgia and aching, whereas Shaun Tan’s work feels more like you tilted your head sideways and missed a step. Look, I don’t know. Go find your own descriptions for them, they’re both so worth it.)

@mrockefeller : fun, lively, welcoming. feels like your fave middle grade adventure fantasy book.

@ntamarit : goodness gracious goodness. i just want to stare at them forever. the textures, the compositions, the characters, the colours. the stories.

@nankliang : gorgeous gifs. different moods and emotions but always lovely.

@fanny-hs : made me want to try drawing landscapes again because hers are so beautiful.

So here you go. These are the people I feel like I’m currently most inspired by, or have been over the last few months.

Advice that was useful for me

Since the election, holidays, finished project, and with the sense of impending doom and general panic that has set in, (in my mind and therefore also muscles) I was finding it really hard to work.

It’s never easy, to just sit at home and work, but I’d gotten so much better at it. And then it disappeared.

But I have found a useful tip (from a guy called Jack Cheng, article here: ) and it is to have different spaces for different activities.

In the lead up to the election, during the holidays, and during the transition, I had obviously been checking Twitter somewhat non stop and it became a huge problem. So what I have done is this:

– my computer is not to be used for social media (other than uploading) or to read the news or read essays or read fanfic or really for anything other than work
– I can still check social media and read the news as often as I want, without beating myself up, I just have to go into another room, pick up my phone and do it from there

It’s working really well for me because I don’t feel anxiously disconnected, and also I’m getting lots more done. The first day was super hard, I kept clicking on extra tabs, opening the internet as a reflex, but honestly my computer has now quite quickly become a much more peaceful place for me.

Anyway, I recommend the essay, and if you’re having concentration problems too, trying it out 🙂

Seeing Color Exchange



Seeing Color is a multifandom exchange created to celebrate chromatic characters, allowing both fic and art. Nominations are ongoing.

Community | FAQ | AO3 Collection | Tag Set

Nominations: May 9th – 20th
Signups: May 24th – June 3rd
Assignments out by no later than: June 9th
Works due: August 9th
Works revealed: August 17th
Creators revealed: August 24th

Sign-ups now open!

Hi guys! I’m signed up to take part in this fanfic/art exchange. If you wanna be a part of it too, then you should sign up now! The more the merrier! Lots of your fave fandoms are here (JtV, CP!, HP, SW:TFA + others that don’t abbreviate so nicely) and you might end up with me making fan art for you 🙂

Hey, does anyone have a favourite fairytale or nursery rhyme or children’s story that they’d like to see me do some illustrations of? 

 (I wanna show that I can interpret existing texts for my portfolio. Anything aimed at ages 0-10. People or animals or both. I’m just looking for some inspiration bc apparently all my head can think of right now is the same two stories over and over. And also I like to make things I know you guys will appreciate!)

EDIT: Thank you all for responding. I’m not going to get around to all of them but they /are/ all going on my list of “things to draw when you don’t know what to draw”. And feel free to add more. Like, I’m just going to end up drawing whatever I think will fit nicely into my portfolio/whatever I feel enthusiastic about on the day so the more the merrier, really.

A woman’s wedding necklace is stolen, the police come to find whoever took it, nobody saw anything except for a child that was on the train… later the necklace is found& the thief is arrested. There are some other details that I’m not sure about…

Cut for spoilers for anyone who wants to guess the plot of this post for themselves…

The woman (Mrs Landers) is dead, discovered by another train passenger. The mark on her neck indicates to the police that it may not have been natural causes.

The police find a blackmail note in her bag (demanding that she hand over an expensive necklace) and a photograph depicting the necklace. It’s not meant to be a wedding, just a fancy ball, but yeah it does kinda look like one 🙂

Yep, the only person to notice anything on the tram is a little kid, who noticed another lady with Mrs Landers.

Not pictured: the body is taken away for testing and we find out she died from being poisoned.

The police go to Mrs Landers’ house and have tea with her housekeeper, who says that she’s been home all day. She shows them the necklace in question (in Mrs Landers’ room). The police note that she has a coat like the one described by the kid on the tram.

The police go to the pub where the blackmailer had requested Mrs Landers meet him. He’s the dude from the photograph. He’s like ‘yeah, i’m bad but not that bad.’

Not pictured: The barman confirms that the dude has been there all day and therefore couldn’t have killed her.

The police then return to Mrs Landers’ house, find a syringe in the bin outside, and catch the housekeeper leaving the house with the expensive necklace in her bag.

ta da!