Grizelda Holderness was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1953. She came to England in 1972, when she was 19. She attended the Bristol School of Art from 1972 to 1973 and the Central School of Art and Design in London from 1973 to 1976.
She began taking free-lance illustration work and has designed book jackets for publishers such as Pan, Picador, Penguin, Corgi and Dent. In 1983, she won the Pan Young Illustrator of the Year award.
Grizelda regularly contributes illustration to magazines, including Tatler, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Working Woman, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Women’s Journal, Sunday Times Magazine and New Scientist. She has had several solo exhibitions of her paintings at the Thumb Gallery in London. Throughout the 1980’s her drawings appeared in fashion magazines, portraying clothes of such distinguished designers as Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Montana and Karl Lagerfeld. Michael Roberts, the editor of Tatler, also commissioned disquietingly Freudian illustrations from her.