Here’s a recent interview of me about my work by Seattle Fashion blogger MAPLE Leopard:
Tell us about yourself and how did you become a fashion illustrator?
I’ve been drawing people for as long as I can remember, either making them up or copying super heroes from comic books. My interests in design and the human body could have led me to become an architect or a doctor, but I went with fine art. I learned advertising art skills from some of the best professionals in the business at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where I’m from originally. One of these classes was Fashion Drawing, with Justine Limpus Parish (presently associate professor at Art Center College of Design).
This type of illustration is rarely used today. Photography is almost exclusively the choice by the major fashion glossies. But drawing is more my forte, so I maintain a portfolio that shows my best paintings and drawings to prospective art buyers.
How do your sketches (pieces) come together? What techniques do you use?
I start with a pencil drawing on an 18″ x 24″ piece of paper of a model wearing a designer outfit. I prefer to draw from life but can draw from photographs (either my own or those of photographer friends, or from magazine shoots) if that’s not an option. I make several sketches of different poses and select one that best shows the unique features of the garment. (This is important if the outfit has a particular silhouette, line or movement that the designer has incorporated into the piece.)
I can then add a little color or background, or scan the line drawing and print it out on a material that I can use wet media on. Currently I use pen and ink and watercolors highlighted with color pencils.
Which designers are your favorite to illustrate?
I don’t have any favorite designers at the moment, but I like the work of Valentino and Oscar de la Renta. There’s something about their understanding and appreciation of the female form that goes well with the way I draw. The main thing is how a model’s attitude and pose combine with an interesting or sexy garment.
What qualities do fashion illustrations have that photographs or film don’t?
A drawn or painted image has the potential to take viewers to a whole other level than a photograph. Photographs do have the ability to instantly capture a fleeting moment (the two-second “vogue” on the runway), but an illustration can extend that moment in time and in one’s imagination, like a short story or a captivating movie.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from people I observe around me, as well as from the work of photo stylists working in conjunction with photographers in forward fashion magazines. I also keep looking at the work of other illustrators, past and present.
Which other image makers do you admire?
I admire the work of a couple of current fashion illustrators: David Downton and Mats Gustafson, who seem to work on opposite ends of the picture-making spectrum. Illustrators from the past that I admire are Antonio Lopez, Renee Gruau, George Stavrinos. I also like the visual concepts Diana Vreeland came up with when she was with Vogue, as well as the many fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, etc.
What advice would you give to any upcoming fashion illustrators?
My advice would be to continue drawing and painting on a daily basis, even if you only have a short amount of time to do it. Also, look at a lot of fashion imagery, especially those in large print magazines. And keep in mind that illustration, especially fashion illustration, may not provide total financial security. You may have to keep your day job for a while as well as learn and nurture other skills pertinent to the fashion industry. Drawing is seeing, and seeing in itself is the basis for that sense of aesthetics that drives fashion.
, fashion illustration
, life drawing
, Seattle Fashion Week
Categories: art culture Fashion fashion design Illustration Seattle Fashion Week