Helen Hallows -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today I'm chatting with Helen Hallows. Her art immediately caught my eye when I first saw it. Her voice is so strong in her sketchbooks and I think you'll enjoy today's peek inside their pages. Here's Helen's story:

I am a mixed media artist based in the Midlands of the UK. A deep connection to nature flows through my work, inspired by the landscape and my garden. 

Helen Hallows, garden, art studio, artist work spaces, Sketchbook Conversations

My work is about a sense of a place and I use colour to express my relationship to a place. 

Helen Hallows, mixed media, art, Sketchbook Conversations

I sell my original artworks in galleries and at art events as well as producing a range of limited edition prints that I sell through my website. 

Helen Hallows, artists, art studios, art display, Sketchbook Conversations

I have recently published my 'Summer Sketchbook' which contains drawings from my sketchbooks, closeups of my artworks, photos of my studio and text that describes my process. It is the second of a series.

Helen Hallows, Helen Hallows Summer Sketchbook, sketchbooks, art books, Sketchbook Conversations

I keep a sketchbook so that I can experiment with compositions, find the narrative of my work and explore media and ways of seeing the world. It's where the process of making art happens.

Helen Hallows, Mixed Media Art, Pattern Design, Sketchbook Conversations

I have been working in sketchbooks for about 25 years! 

Helen Hallows, mood board, art inspiration, seeds, creative manifesto, Sketchbook Conversations

Before that I kept diaries that also had a visual element. Sketchbooks were a way of keeping track of ideas when I was studying art and design. 

Helen Hallows, artists, sketchbooks, creativity, Sketchbook Conversations

My background is in woven textiles so there was also an element of collating colour swatches, dye notes and technical information. 

sketchbooks, mixed media, Helen Hallows, Sketchbook Conversations

As a textile designer, working to briefs I used my sketchbook to collect imagery and inspiration (this was before Pinterest existed!) and to work out new designs. 

Helen Hallows, artists, sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations

Now my sketchbooks are drawing based as part of my process of creating mixed media art works in paint, collage and stitch. I draw to initiate a new project or series of work.

sketchbooks, Helen Hallows, mixed media, collage, art, Sketchbook Conversations

Going to new places inspires me. I draw in a naive style, and look for shape, colour and pattern in what I see. 

Helen Hallows, artists, sketchbooks, inspiration, Sketchbook Conversations

I teach workshops in creating mixed media sketchbooks and after teaching I always want to go home and do more drawing, inspired by how others have worked with my techniques and materials.

Helen Hallows, art inspiration, collage, Sketchbook Conversations
In my sketchbooks I work with paint, charcoal pencil and collage. 

art supplies, artist tools, art inspiration, Helen Hallows, Sketchbook Conversations

I love to draw with a soft charcoal pencil, there’s a dynamic, grainy line that I love.

sketchbooks, Helen Hallows, drawing, Sketchbook Conversations

I always tell others not to whisper. I think it is important to draw with a decisive line. 

Also to turn off the negative voices and to listen for your own creative voice. Don’t get daunted, keep on keeping on.

Helen Hallows, collage, mixed media, Sketchbook Conversations

Thank you, Helen, for sharing your story here with us.

Dear reader, you can connect with Helen:

Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews

*Photos in this post ©Helen Hallows. Used with permission.


  1. As well as beautiful art, there are bits of wisdom scattered about here---some I needed to hear today. Thanks for this series. I don't always comment, but I always enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Karen. I am so glad to know you enjoy this series and that Helen's post, especially, has spoken to you.

      Thanks for being here!


Post a Comment