Back in summer I was contacted by one of the designers over at InStyle Magazine and Mimi Chatter, New York. Mimi is a relatively new site, run by TIME Inc and features all things beauty! They were after a new social icon, together with some further illustrations of beauty items that they would be able to use as part of an accent library in order to help create a soft and elegant feel. Since Mimi is new, they also wanted their illustrator to help pull the look and feel of the brand together. It was a real pleasure to work with them. Here’s a taste of what we came up with …..

MIMI Chatter illustration by Helen Simms blog

MIMI social icon by Helen Simms

nail polish by Helen Simms

Helen Simms mimi chatter lips blog


Fox watercolour painting by Helen Simms

In the last couple of weeks I’ve turned my hand to painting woodland animals …. starting with this little fox and rabbit! Our little clan is due to expand in early May and I’m hoping to hang a trio of animals up in the little one’s room (being a country girl and all that) …… perhaps a sweet little deer to complete the set? What do you think?

fox watercolour by Helen Simms

rabbit watercolour by Helen Simms

Will share the final trio once complete and framed…….


Helen Simms dot watercolour painting

I think it’s acceptable on the 13th of January to still be saying Happy New Year to you – especially since I’m ashamed to say that my last blog post has not been since the end of May! With that in mind, it’s also a fair assumption what my new years resolution is going to be! I’m definitely aiming to create more work and share my process with you on here – warts and all.

2015 was an excellent year for me. I had some exciting clients – including L’oreal and TIME Inc and  am currently anxiously waiting to see my illustrations “come to life” for a project I did with Sanctuary Spa back in summer, that will be launching nationwide later this month ….. watch this space! Not only that, me and Mr Simms managed to buy our very own house together. We got to kiss goodbye to the perils of renting and set about making our house into a home, ripping out bathrooms, carpets and dated 70s style fireplace cladding and completely redecorating (aside from the kitchen – our budget didn’t quite stretch that far!)

With that in mind, I think it’s fair to say that my creative practice became a little sidelined since the move as I began to find more and more instagram accounts to follow – based purely on how their creators had styled their home, searched Pinterest to create mood boards for each of the rooms and quite a few hours on ebay trying to get the best price on vintage french furniture.

However, the projects that I did focus on got me thinking about my overall style. A few of my clients encouraged me to be looser with my technique. I LOVE working this way and certainly the works that I have considered most successful in the past have shown a really loose, confident technique that I would love to develop this year. Sometimes I feel like I need to give myself permission to work this way – it seems too easy, too enjoyable … but then I guess it takes a certain amount of confidence to give oneself that kind of permission and shut everything else out.

Helen Simms abstract watercolour


Helen Simms abstract watercolour 2

Helen Simms abstract watercolour 3

abstract watercolour helen simms 4


Above are a few abstract experiments trying to loosen up both my technique and my mind! Also, living in the country, I’m often inspired by botanicals and again I wanted to loosen up my response to them.

helen simms abstract watercolour 5

helen simms abstract watercolour 6


It’s been SUCH a long time since I last blogged and lots has happened since then! I’ve been super busy. Firstly, since my last post I had the experience of illustrating my very first book! It’s called “The Bare Essentials: A Passion for Lingerie” and is written by the super lovely Tracy Martin. The book itself, as the name suggests is about the various lingerie types that have become “The Bare Essentials” of a woman’s wardrobe. Not only is it a really useful and practical guide but it also explores the origins of various styles throughout history. I absolutely loved being asked to create my own flapper girls, glamourous and classy burlesque figures and modern day divas!

Burlesque girl Helen Simms

IMG_5754 copyAs an artist, I think the book was one of my largest commissions so far. It contains over 40 of my artworks and it stretched me in terms of realising what I could achieve within a limited time frame (without hyperventilating!) and also gave me an invaluable insight into illustrating for books. It was something of a learning curve but definitely something I look back on with pride. The book itself came out in March and I actually created most of the works for it last summer, so I have moved on a little in terms of work since then but here are a few shots of some of my favourites.

1950s glamour Helen Simms

Beautiful Afro illustration

kimono illustration Helen Simms

Also, another big thing that is happening in my life is that we are in the process of buying our very first house – to which there have been lots of set backs and we have had to be very patient and work very hard to get everything in place but it looks like now the end is in sight and I will finally be able to get my hands on some Farrow and Ball and put lots of artwork up in our own little place – so exciting! I’m literally obsessed with all things interiors (as any of my Pinterest followers will be well aware!) and have been looking forward to sharing some of my art in situ with you and to creating some larger botanical pieces. I’m also hoping to update the blog a lot more as I share a little more about my life, process and the often psychological battles you have to go through as an artist! Watch this space : )

image via Pinterest

gallery wall inspiration
last two images via Pinterest



Helen Simms

A couple of months ago I was contacted by ROUGE Magazine, China, and asked to create 6 beauty illustrations to show the upcoming trends for this fall. The brief specified that “one part of the face should be accentuated and the rest could be more abstract. We’ve seen this in some of your work”.

They sent across six photographic reference images of the trends for me to work from and immediately I loved the brief! They were just the kind of photographic references that I would have chosen myself. I also seemed to have some kind of epiphany during this commission – as in, “oh yeah, that is my style (duh!)” and as such, it was definitely one of the most flowing and enjoyable commissions I have created so far. I’m hoping to further develop this style and will share the finished illustrations once they are published – but for now here are some in progress shots….


Alexander McQueen Illustration for ROUGE Magazine, China
Alexander McQueen Illustration for ROUGE Magazine, China


watercolour eye Helen Simms