An Introduction to Howell Illustration - Hello for 2020!

I was thinking of blogs for the new year recently, and it struck me that I haven't introduced myself for quite some time - in fact, ever, so I thought I might do it now. Over on my Instagram I've also put a quick little post, so head there if you want the short version, and keep reading if you want the longer one!

Me painting a map in my current studio

Hi! My name's Nicola, and I'm largely a pen and ink artist, although as you can see above, I'm really getting into gouache at the moment. I'm inspired by nature, as a lot of people are, and I'm hugely passionate about sustainability.

For me, a love of nature goes hand in hand with ensuring it survives. As such, I work constantly towards zero waste in my personal life and my business. It's taking a while sorting out what's coming in, but I'm proud to say that everything I make and put out into the world will either degrade at end of life, or can be recycled. All of my packaging is recyclable or degradable and is recycled or made from sustainable sources itself. I use a website called, in case you're wondering where you can look up your own sustainable packaging. In 2020, I'll be writing several blogs on going zero waste and how I intend to move forward sustainably with the business, as well as including some tips on the things I've learned while on a more sustainable journey that will aim to help anybody feeling as overwhelmed as I did. I am also looking to create a blog series on starting your business and things you need to know, which I have found out the hard way!

I'm 32, and live with my husband in Surrey with our two house rabbits, a mad little thing called Tesla and her rather more timid partner in crime, Howl (from Howl's Moving Castle, not named after me!)

Sorry, sidetrack there. I can't help mentioning them - I love them. They're too cute, I don't know how things can get this cute.

I've previously been an Editor of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books, when I lived in London, and a primary school teacher for two years. I now work full time on Howell Illustration after having a break down and deciding there had to be more to life than London and work. However, even with the break down, I'm super grateful I went through this route, because as I'm just starting my business, extra incomes are v helpful - so I also proofread and work two mornings a week in a local independent bookshop, which is perfect.

My standard photo when promoting Howell Illustration - because I actually look okay!

I also run a newsletter called The Pack for lovers of art, nature and sustainability, so if that sounds like your cup of tea, head to my contact page and sign up there. Or, if you want to come say hi and have a personal tour of my studio (and maybe learn how to write and draw with a dip pen and ink, or maybe just have some cake and tea), I'm signed up to the South East Artist's Open Studios this year. This means that in 2020 I'll be opening my studio doors for 2 weeks in June so people can come and visit. Do keep your eye on that this year!

Anyway, massive thanks for dropping by - if you want to know any more, or feel like you need to ask questions about sustainability (I'm always here for that!) then you can catch me on insta @howellillustration or by email at

Thanks and have an amazing 2020!


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