photography by  Tara

photography by Tara

About Denise

Denise Holmes is an award winning illustrator and designer with over 10 years of experience creating cute and happy illustrations for the children's market, including picture books, wall art and surface design.

Denise grew up in the state shaped like a mitten. Her childhood was spent drawing and painting and doing all things creative. She graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2003 with a BFA in photography. After graduating she began teaching herself illustration and design and has been freelancing professionally since 2007. Denise has illustrated 17 children’s books, licensed greeting cards and has had the pleasure of seeing her prints up at Crate & Barrel. In May 2019, she was the grand prize winner at the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Conference art showcase.

Today, Denise spends her days drawing in her home studio in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and seven year old daughter. 

Denise is represented by the Bright Agency for children’s publishing and licensing.

Clients Include: 

Crate & Kids | Paper Magic Group | elūm | Simply Read Books | Roost Books | Owlkids Books | Albert Whitman & Company | Yo-Yo Books | Story Cat ( for ST Unitas)


  • Is This My Tail? (Yo-Yo Books) 2020

  • Mommy’s Hand Warmer (Story Cat for ST Unitas) 2018

  • Are Those My Ears? (Yo-Yo Books) 2018

  • Not 'Til Tomorrow, Phoebe (Owlkids Books) 2018

  • Phoebe Sounds It Out (Owlkids Books) 2017

  • Where Are The Words? (Albert Whitman & Co.) 2016

  • The Yoga Game in the Garden (Simply Read Books) 2016

  • The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids (Roost) 2015

  • The Yoga Game by the Sea (Simply Read Books) 2015

  • We ♥ Nature! (Roost Publications) 2014

  • If I Wrote A Book About You (Simply Read Books) 2014


  • 2018 Finding Inspiration in Picture Books (Little U)

  • 2013 Work/Life 3 (Uppercase Directory of Illustration)

  • 2012 What I Wore Today (Octopus)

  • 2011 Toffee Magazine Issue No. 2

  • 2010 Mish Mish Mish (Moncho Ediciones)

  • 2010 'Stache (Lark Books)

  • 2009 Say What (Chicago Young Authors)

  • 2007 10,000 Tons of Black Ink (Literary Writers Network)


  • 2019 grand prize winner at the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest conference art showcase


  • 2009 Daily Candy (Nisee Made Stationery)

  • 2008 LMNOP Issue 5


  • Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators since 2013



School Visits: 

I would love to come to your school or library to meet and talk to your students about illustrating picture books! Please email for more info!

Denise brought illustrating to life with my students! They had a blast learning about being illustrator and what is takes for a book to go from idea to print. My students can’t wait to see more of Denise’s work in the future.
— Mrs. Smith (4th grade classroom)

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