Liz Amini-Holmes

Liz, an only child, was born in San Francisco, where she still lives today. Most of her family members are very artistic so she was always encouraged to paint, write, or act; however, her mother, herself a successful medical illustrator, did not want Liz to become an artist. She would have preferred her to become a doctor or lawyer, but she knew that once Liz had decided to do something, there was no way she was going to change her mind.

Liz spent her childhood daydreaming, drawing, reading, and writing. All summer long she would sit in her grandmother’s garden in a huge oak tree with her sketchbook and her beloved books. Some of her favorites were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Once and Future King, and Little House on the Prairie. It was pure bliss!

Although she wanted to be a writer, she was also interested in becoming an archeologist, a paranormal researcher, but mostly a detective with Scotland Yard. When she was 10 years old, she actually wrote a letter to Scotland Yard asking how she could start training to become a detective.

Liz has a highly personalized painting style. Working primarily in acrylic paint, she strives to evoke emotional reactions using mood, lighting, and color. She draws inspiration from the Symbolist painting movement of the nineteenth century, contemporary Polish poster art, Expressionist literature and, of course, fairy tales.

For a long time, Liz’s lack of confidence about her work was an obstacle. She would try to assimilate other illustrators’ styles, but that never worked. She had to develop a personal style, which took time, and only then did she gain the confidence to be creative in her own way and still be successful.

Liz graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art College and University of San Francisco in San Francisco, CA. As a freelance illustrator, she creates illustrations for various publications such as magazines, newspapers, the music industry, children’s books, and posters. She has been a featured artist in various poetry, prose, and illustration collections. Liz also exhibits and sells her paintings in galleries and works on commissioned pieces.

Regarding her work Liz says, “In some pieces my work is whimsical but also has a bittersweet quality. I like that sweet, sad aspect of life and let it leak into my work. Other pieces are more about the tense moments that are just around the corner, the ambiguity of what will happen next. I like the feeling of being a bit scared. Life is paradoxical; a bit scary and fun, which is what makes it exciting!”

Her advice to aspiring illustrators is “Allow yourself to experiment, try to bring your own interests and passions into your art, because if you do, then your style will feel like it is really you talking through your art.”

Liz lives in her own tree house in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, twin boys, and an ever-growing assortment of pets. She is currently working on writing and illustrating her own picture books.

Annick Press books
illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes