ILLUSTRATION KNOW-HOW Something Old, Something New, Something Blue

Heather Kilgour touches on the benefits of experimenting with monochrome or single-colour artwork.

I grew up with a large garden full of deciduous and fruit trees and adored the endlessly changing colours of the seasons. Plums ripening from vivid red to deep purple, the almost neon green of the first oak leaves, magnolias, daffodils, and forget-me-not blues, have given me a love of colour that can be difficult to control.

At present half of my time is spent working from nature in all its vibrant glory but, although it was not a conscious thing, I have recently shed almost all colour from the rest of my work practice. I have been painting images in Payne’s grey; the harshness of black was a step too far. 

It’s a relief to take a break from colour and its complications to be able to focus in on form, composition and mood. The deep blue gives the work a dreamlike quality. I have had the mental space to experiment with multiple light sources.


Having a varied work practice is a fun and useful thing to do and working in monochrome has definitely improved my other work as well. 

Try doing something that is the opposite of your normal practice - it can open up new and unexpected opportunities and reactions. I’m looking for my next challenge now.

All Images ©Heather Kilgour


Heather Kilgour has spent her life drawing on walls, sculpting for films, painting nature, and illustrating books. She's about to open an Etsy shop: HeatherKilgourArt. Her website is:


  1. So good to see the work you have been doing since The Lord of the Rings, and know that you are happily settled

  2. rhonda gibbison31 May 2024 at 07:40

    So good to see the work you have been doing since TLOTR and the secure life you have built.


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