Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Artists at the Design Museum

Georges Lepape


Bernard Blossac


Francois Berthoud

Mats Gustafson

Here are a few images by the artists that I have mentioned during my trip to the Design Museum.

'Drawing Fashion.'

Way back in January, I visited the Design Museum in London.
I had heard that there was an exhibition on, named 'Drawing Fashion.'
Of course, I immediatley wanted to go so booked a train ticket and went down for my birthday.
It is such a lovely building, that is the first thing you notice... so white and clean.
Sadly, I couldn't take any photographs of the work there, but I did purchase the book which is full of the works there.
When I went up to the exhibition, I felt so excited as I havn't been able to find many exhibitions that are purley fashion illustration based, so was full of joy as I entered the white gallery which had frames upon frames of wonderful illustrations.
The first fashion illustrations that were on display, were by the artists in the Art Decco period.
Georges Lepape was the first.
Truth be told, I am not a great admirer of his work, but once infront of the framed work, one cannot but admirer the line and brush strokes that Lapape used.
His images are so busy, full of life and colour that one has to find the beauty in them.
One of the other artists from that same period, is Erte.
The images that were there, were very simple and just consentrating on the figure.
If I had to pick my favourites, it would be the sinple images of a figure, in the centre of the page, done on plain paper. They are very detailed so he doesn't need anything occuping the space around them.
Moving through the exhibition, one comes to the 1930s/1940s section.
I was looking forward to this bit as the 1940s are one of my favourite eras. I adore the shape and style of the clothes in this decade and one cannot forget the Second World War that was happening at the time, so it made women 'make do and ment' their clothes, and they certainly came up with some lovely outfits.
My favourite artist from this decade is Bernard Blossac.
To see his works up infront of you takes your breath away! He uses rather simple, sketchy lines and finishes the figures off by adding a wash of watercolour.
Even though the forties was a dark time, Blossac makes that era look elegant and rich, just by his figures of women.
The images are so elegant and delicate that I could not take my eyes away from them. I think I was at his part of the exhibition for about half an hour!
The next part was the 1960s.
(The 1950s artists were still Blossac and others that I have mentioned.)
The main artist/illustrator that occupied this era was Antonio. His style changes with time.
The first images were done in charcoal, just black and white, as well as using the smudges by working it into the clothing. I have to say that these were my favourite of his as there is a lot of elegance and grace within them...
His work through the sixties was wonderful... whether he uses charcoal, watercolour or pen. But as it got to the 1980s, that is when Antonio didn't suit my taste.
The women are very 'boxy.' A sudden change to his slim and delicate sixties figures. I do suppose that he changed with time and of course that is what everyone wore during that time.
Coming to my 2 favourite fashion artists now.
I stood with my eyes wide open at the works of Mats Gustafson and Francois Berthoud.
These two illustrators have been in my mind since this visit and have, and will continue to be, a very big inspiration to me and my work.
Mats Gustafson uses watercolour. He uses it in simple ways, with limited colour and uses shape quite remarkably.
(I have written a post on him if anyone wants to see a few selections of work.)
Francois Berthoud is a little different. He works on enamel and creates monotype.
I do prefer his enamel works, just by how he uses the black. It looks like drips of paint and is a wonderful way to create hair on his figures.

All in all, I am so very glad that I had the opportunity to visit this exhibition. The timing came at a great time for me as I was in need to be inspired!

I was definitely inspired!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Clients, Network List etc...

Just a note to say all my PDP infomation are in a book, not on this blog as I want to respect the confidentiality of the people and companies that I have spoken to.

Looking Back...

With only a few days left until I come to the end of my degree, it has got me in a thoughtful mood, (hense why I have chosen my idol, Marilyn, in a thoughtful pose!)
In another post, Hopes, Fears and Oppotunities, I feel like I have come a long way from when I last wrote it.
Things have changed about me and my work, and I hope for the better!
The first thing that I have noticed in myself, is my growing confidence. I seem to believe in myself and what I can do.
At one time, not too long ago, I wasn't feeling very good about one part of the brief we had to answer. This was the part we had to arrange meetings, e-mail and speak to potential clients and fellow artists/illustrators.
A lot of it was silly nerves and quite frankly, I wasn't very confident about some of my work... but the day came when I got in touch with one of my favourite illustrators and that meeting alone with her, gave me such a boost and my confidence started to soar!
Having such a talented illustrator look through my work, complimenting pieces, giving great advice etc, was so inspiring and made me look at my work in a very different light.
Since then, my work has taken a turn for the best...
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been experimenting yet again with different materials and papers. My favourite at the moment, is water colour on lining paper. It suits my style so well, and gives such an elegance to my drawings that they didn't have not so long ago.
I don't really know how I started to work this way. I suppose it was accidental... I bought new paints, didn't have any sketchbooks at hand, the only paper near me was lining paper- that accident happened to work out for the best!
I am much less 'precious' about my drawings now. There was a time when I would spend so much time on one drawing, making sure all details were correct, i.e the facial features, and then become so uptight when it didn't go right, I would start again.
But this degree has changed that, especially this last month or so.
Yes, it has been a bit of a struggle trying to loosen up, but it has been worth while sticking to it. I do have some illustrators to thank for that. They inspired me so much that I wanted to try and have that 'lose' and confident feel to my own work.
Tina Berning, yet again, has been such a huge inspiration to me. I just adore her portraits of girls/women in her book. They are so beautiful and elegant, even if they are done in a harsh black colour, they always have such delicate qualities about them.
Alice Tait... what a fabulous artist!
Her work is so beautiful, whether she creates a page full of pigeons or figures in elegant clothes, they are each as delicate and wonderful as eachother.
She has been very inspiring to me...
There are numerous other artists/illustrators that I could mention, and most of them are on this blog anyway!

I think that the best part for me and my work has been these last 5 months.
As I keep saying, my work has become more professional and I now feel so much more happier with what I can do, and I can now see where my images etc might appear.
I can see my work in fashion magazines, shop displays, on billboards... I feel confident enough that such things may happen.

My degree has kept me extremely busy and that has worked for me. We have been given such tasks that not so long ago, I wouldn't have had the nerve to do, for example, showing my portfolio to professional people or even contemplating talking over the telephone to such companies as Vogue.
As it turns out, I managed to talk to a number of people, and find myself enjoying it, which of course is a good thing as I see this having to happen a lot of the time!

I do consider myself to be an artist/illustrator now, and quite frankly, am ready to go out into the 'real' world...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Figure Walking to Chair

This image has an eerie feel to it, with the type of brush marks I have used and of course the colour that I have chosen.
The figure is quite interesting... I have added slightly more definition to her, for example, the jacket she is wearing, the outline of her face and now added the hands.
I do find it rather hard to draw the hands, but when at one with the brush, I just put it to paper and see what comes up. In this case, I feel the hands are rather good. I really like how only a few brush strokes can create something that looks rather real.
The chair looks like something out of a Tim Burton film (which was not intentional.)
It was a challenge for me to create other objects in the same style as the figures that I so confidently do, and I really had to get other elements correct in the same way, as well as being rather good.
This image doesn't show the elements that I can create to its potential, but, I do think that the simple elements on their own, do have a certain elegance about them.

Hat stand and Corset

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am working with black water colour on lining paper.
I have made quite a few elements and used Photoshop to try and create a decent composition.
The hat stand works quite well, with the blunt colour next to the water coloured bodice.
It was an idea from my tutors to see how flat colour, like a silhouette, works next to my way of working.
After a little experimenting, I came up with a few and put the silhouette clothes hanger above the bodice. It works quite well together, the two textures together.

I think that an image like this would look quite fitting in a fashion boutique, a vintage shop or in fact, a backdrop for a magazine shoot...

For my first proper attempt at putting my images into a composition, it works rather well.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

2 Women inspired by Pierre-Louis Mascia

As I was looking through my work throughout my degree, I came across these figures that I created about 3 years ago in my first year.
We were given a project to try and copy a piece of work that a fellow illustrator had done.
I was given the wonderful fashion illustrator Pierre-Louie Mascia.
It was rather a challenge for me at the time as I had never worked with lace before, but once I started to work, I really enjoyed it. I found myself working with material etc that I would have never worked with before and yet I created something that I was later very proud of.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Collection of Vintage Shoes

I love all things Vintage... especially shoes!

One afternoon, I wasn't feeling too well, and I was concerned that I needed to carry on with some work.

I have this fabulous book on all Vintage shoes, starting from the 1800s up to the 1990s. So I decided to look through, find some that I loved and would also be a challenge for me to draw, as I havn't really had the confidence with my own hand to draw shoes!

The above shoes were done with pencil, watercolour and black pen.

For my first proper attempt at creating shoes, I think this is ok. I do like how I have incorporated the slight colours throughout as I think they link eachother on the page.

I admit, when I had completed this image, I was immediately reminded of the piece Andy Warhol did when he was an illustrator.

They need working on, possibly more in the style I normally work, with watercolour etc. But, for my first attempt, they are ok.

3 High Fashion Women

Here are 2 images that I have just completed.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have always been a great fan of David Downton and recently, Mats Gustafson.

These are not 'copied' or anything like that, but after reading a little about the 2 illustrators and looking at their work, I was so inspired that I immediately put brush to paper and came up with these 3 high fashion women.

I infact had about 15 of the figures in this style (black watercolour, with lots of water on the brush) as I just kept on working for about an hour straight. Which, after much experimenting, I work much better this way.

Once infront of the computer, I looked hard at the many images I had, and decided that I should have only 2 or 3 of the figures on one page as it seems much more powerful.

On each of the works above, I have positioned the women in line of 3. I wanted them to look like they were on the catwalk and walking towards you. I do think that I have succeeded.

I am very pleased with the outcome of these figures. I think that the watercolour and the wash have such a lovely texture and movement that I have achieved the effect that I wanted.

I wanted these figures to look 'high fashion' so I looked on the internet and looked for an appropriate background. In this case, I took a Gucci background.

I do quite like how the whole image looks behind the figures, but I do think that it is really busy and quite possibly, distracts from the beauty of the figures.

So I have taken the background off the other piece above.

It does need something else but maybe a small logo at the bottom? I do however think that the figures look better on their own, as one can see the beauty of the brush strokes... I shall keep on experimenting with the layout, taking into consideration the points that I have made along the way of writing about them.

Later on, I shall then chose a suitable frame to put them in for my final exhibition.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Mats Gustafson

A few months back, I went to an exhibition in London to see a few fashion illustrator's work and the one who stood out for me the most, was Mats Gustafson.
The above images were not there at the exhibition, but during my research of the artist, I found them and they are a sample of my favourites.
I really adore how elegant and sophisticated these women look. They have an air of grace and movement in them which I think comes down to his masterful way of using watercolours.
One can tell what she is wearing, how she is standing/ or walking away from you, just by how the paint and wash sits.
I am one for using a limited palette and seeing how he has used it, makes me think that sometimes, this works more than if he was to add colour.
Another thing I am in favour of is that in many of Gustafsons works, he does not draw or paint the woman's face.
They are positioned where one cannot see the face, or has hair covered around it or painting the model from behind.
I have spent a lot of time trying to get the faces right in some of my own work, but having seen this way of working and realising that it adds to the effect, it may not be all that important and just adds an air of mystery.
I have been very inspired by this illustrator and I am very thankful that I went to that exhibition and found a great artist.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Possibilities for Portfoilio?

This is another possibility for my portfolio...
The actual face was done last year, but what I find now, is that when I visit the work again, with fresh eyes as it were, and see if I could possibly improve it.
This image was shouting out to be put on a coloured background. I tried out some others, but this dullish yellow seemed to work the best.
The face is once again, influenced from the 1960s and so that is why I have chosen this foreground colour, as this yellow occured rather a lot in that era.
It is rather simple, just to add the colour, but I think that is all the image needed as in my opinion, it is a rather decent drawing.
I will be doing this way of working in the future: producing work or look at the images I have produced in the past and to look at them in a different light and see if they could be improved at a later date.

Possibilities for Portfoilio?

Yesterday, I spent the day putting these sketches together in a collage.
I have so many small doodles and quick sketches everywhere, that I suddenly decided that instead of having all these pieces of paper flying around and not in any particular order, why not put them all together on one sheet of paper and possibly use it as a piece of work in my portfolio, to show any future clients that I can do quick sketches and that they still look rather good.
To be honest, I thought I had done the difficult thing by producing these images, but it turns out I spent more time scanning these elements into the computer and put them together in a decent composition!
The bottom image was my first attempt.
I am really happy with the right hand side, the legs, the figures and the faces. This is because I think they work well together as one. They flow quite well as everywhere one looks, there are many elements for one to look at.
The trouble I am having with the left hand side is the colour I have introduced and the 2 faces. I think that the limited colour works, but possibly they would look better as another piece of work.
The faces are taken from the iconic Edie Sedgwick. When I was drawing the separate elements that are inspired from the 1960s, I thought that including her would work, but as I have said, I don't think this suits the page.
So, on the final image, the top one, I have left one of the faces out and also the colour and I hope it works. In my view I think it does work better, having taken out one of the faces and kept the black and white face.
I decided to take one of my favourite images made from ink and water, the Jean Shrimptonesque figure in the centre of the page.
I was thinking maybe to add text in the centre of the drawings, which I will try out, but for an image in my portfolio, I thought that this works better.
To look at the 2 images here, I do think that they have turned out rather well and am rather proud with what has happened with the small images put together.
I think when I am working on them again, I need to introduce colour, possibly watercolours, only one or two colours, to see how it could bring this image more to life.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities

Looking back over last term, from September to December, it was a really a wake up for me and my work.

As I mention previously, on a few posts back, I love to draw. I really love the traditional ways of working in illustration and do not want digital illustration to take over, so I spent a lot of time trying to get better at my drawing practices.

It was a little bit of a slow start for me on my Negotiated Project that was set for me to do, but, it worked out for the best when it came to the end and has set me up well for my final project now.

I set myself a sort of ‘drawing marathon’ which meant that I just drew anything and everything. I am mostly into drawing and working with the figure, so I filled up as many sketchbooks I could with just drawings.

It helped me so much as I started to take less time and concentration over my figures, and by letting go and not being over possessive and also not caring if the figures were ‘beautiful’ or not.

Doing that practise led me to be a lot more confident with myself and leading me onto different uses of materials to work with, which truthfully, I was not inclined to use.

With the help of some wonderful illustrators, for instance Stina Perrson and Tina Berning, I managed to find my own style which I am now, rather confident and comfortable with.

Even though it was a troubling start, which consisted a lot of worry and stress, I thank myself for doing that exercise, as now it has set me up for the final and important part of my degree.

My hopes for the future are rather bright. As I have mentioned, I have now a confidence in my work that wasn’t really there before and I hope I will succeed in the future, when the time comes when we are out of education.

I realise that I still need these next extra months to build more work and more confidence and then I hope to be able to get a good career out of illustration.

The best thing is, is that we get the opportunity to meet art directors and some, like myself, get to actually go and meet with illustrators which I’m extremely looking forward to as I can hopefully get an insight of what the ‘real’ world is like in the world of a working and successful illustrator.

My hopes, which I am working on now, is to build up a successful portfolio which contains some of my best work which I am pleased with, with hopefully, all sorts of pieces that show I can be a high-quality illustrator.

I admit, I do have a few fears about the world after education, but I really do hope that the time left in university will help and give me the courage to go out into the big wide illustrating world.

One fear, which I am sure a lot of students have when their time in education has ended, is about getting a job in their particular field.

As I have said above, I am sure that talking to illustrators in the industry now, can help me with their experiences and hopefully give me some courage about when the time comes.

I have read a lot of interviews with particular illustrators, in the fashion world, who have given advice to up and coming ones, (I hope that will one day will be me!)

I do not want to say what illustrator said what as I am afraid they wouldn’t give me the permission to write it, so I will just say what I have read…

‘ Rob and steal. If one gets tired of doing this, then this will turn into your own style, if you do not get tired and carry on to rob and steal, one is not in the right industry and should look at doing another profession. ‘

‘Try to get better at what you do, all the time and stay away from the computer.’

If one wants to go into the fashion illustration industry, ‘learn more about the human body.’

‘Learn to adapt when the need arises but keep the portfolio tidy and not all over the place.’

‘Keep doing what you love and enjoy what you do.’

‘Push the boundaries… be unique and original.’

‘Respect your own personal style.’

‘Keep taking risks and don’t always aim to please.’

‘Never follow anything and do whatever you want to do and keep to it.’

‘ There is always someone who is harder working…’

The list is endless…

All these pieces of information are true and definitely worth following, which I do. It is rather nice that each and every illustrator has different tips so gives one more ideas to take in.

My favourite one, which is extremely good advice for me, is the second tip. ’Try and get better at what you do and stay away from the computer.’

As is known about me, I do use the computer in a very little way as I believe it is in a way, a bit of cheating. One has to be able to draw, if one wants to be a illustrator, one must be able to draw. One cannot rely on the computer to give you ideas and a good finished piece of work.

The opportunity I hope to have is that I will have a wide knowledge of the industry and with help from university I think I will.

They push us to stand on our own two feet and find out agencies and directors by our selves. I hope that I will gather the confidence, which comes with time, to be able to promote, and visit lots of people and I hope to get where some of my favourite illustrators and designers are.

The future is bright… I hope!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Manuel Rebollo.

Manuel Rebollo is a Spanish illustrator/graphic designer who I came across whilst I was looking at fashion on the internet.
What drew me in was the black and white colour pallette that he uses and the seductive way he has of drawing the models faces.
What really surprised me, is his way of incorporating words/letters in his pieces, on their bodies, (or garment?) I have just been experimenting with using text into my own work, so seeing this gives me a good idea of how it could be done.
This is one of my favourite images of his as it's an image of the the face and body, where as his others are portraits, concentrating on hair and face. They are extremely good, but I prefer this style.
To start off, the way he has created the face is beautiful. It looks like he has done it effortlessly. Missing out the eyes, by putting black marks where the eyes are suposed to be, kept the shadow of her left side, incorporating it into a mane of black hair.
As the drawing lowers, by simple mark making and shape, it goes straight into the shoulders and neck.
Then the body is cut off with text, making it look like it's her body shape, which is very clever. Around the text, he has used basic shapes for the arms and even though is is no detail showing that it is attached, one can see where it is suposed to be and how it is posed which I think is excellent.
The legs are my favourite part of the whole piece. Like the arm, they are not attached to the body but yet one can see where and how they are positioned.
I do like how he has used ink as the main medium in the work, as I favour ink myself and as he is a current artist, it just shows that there is still a demand for this way of traditional way of working.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Artists and Illustrators that I admire.

Carl Erickson (1891-1958)

Rene Bouche (1905-1963)

Coby Whitmore (1913-1988)

Kenneth Paul Block (1924-2009)

Bernard Blossac (1917-2001)

Throughout my college years, I was introduced to some of these artists/ illustrators. But as I have mentioned in my previous post, I didn't really take much notice as I was very much into other people. But, as I and my work have progressed through the years, I now look at the greats, as these few show.
Blossac is one artist that I have come across before. His images are so elegant and throughout has a graceful pressure to his lines.
He also has a beautiful way of leaving things out of the image. For instance, when he captures a scene, he will draw and paint the figures, but he leaves out the background, leaving things unsaid.
David Downton says of him, ' No one ever painted the curve of a woman's back with such languid grace.'
Which I believe, is so very true.
Kenneth Paul Block is new to me. I first saw him in Downton's book, and he describes Block,' He was a master of movement and his models, poised to turn on a dime, are as snappy and sinuous as showgirls.'
All he wanted to do 'was draw women in beautiful clothes,' which is what he did to perfection. One of my favourites is image number 4. I adore his use of detail to the women, but then, with such a delicate line, has the background behind them.
I admit, that there are limited few that I so admire, as some of his works are drawn rather crudely. But, having said that, the ones that are drawn like that, do have a hidden beauty. For instance, the detail of a face, he seems to have rushed it but even so, the lines are wonderful.
Coby Whitmore is another new artist I have discovered.
This chap was a little later than the other two that I have mentioned.
I came across him in Downton's book and it is fair to say that I do like his style of work.
He was not a fashion illustrator, though it certainly played a large part in his work. He was known for being America's great 'romance' artists.
His work was for cinema, designing posters and dominated women's magazines in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
Whitmore had a great way with drawing, just using pencil. Yes, he used other mediums but I find that I like best, the pencil sketches, very much like the one above.
Even though his characters in his images are so life like, I have to say that what I love most, are the backgrounds. They look in-complete, which speaks volumes.
In previous posts, I have mentioned that I like to use old papers etc, and from what I can see, so did he.
The overall images go together. They compliment eachother. With the lovely detailed figures, surrounded by unfinished backgrounds.
I have been aware of Rene Bouche for quite sometime, but I am thrilled that I have come across this work again!
He seems to have been so versatile. He could do editorial and advertising.
I am in more favour of his portraits and his 'live' images, more that his images of the figure and the women.
The image I have chosen to show here, number 2 is his portrait of Marlene Dietrich.
It was done in the late 1950s and was used to advertise her later concerts before she took her retirement.
I love the simplicity of her face and the almost 'random' black strokes of her hair.
He also did a portrait of Judy Garland which is just as wonderful as this one.
Carl Erickson. I have left, in my opinion, the best until last.
Carl, who went by the name Eric, graced the pages of Vogue for more than 35 years with his elegant and incisive drawings.
I do adore his drawings of the face, as above, and the womans hands and feet, but the more I have researched him, I am in love with the more narrative way he works.
There is one image he has done, which I can't find on the net, of when he and his family had to move from Paris in World War II. It is done with such a delicate hand, black line and no colour at all. Even though it was such a hard time for many people, he still manages to secure the beauty in his work, of such a bad time.

Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton

For Christmas, I was ever so lucky to be given this wonderful book by the great fashion illustrator, David Downton.
He is one of thoes illustrators that I have always admired but has been somewhat overshadowed by Tina Berning and Stina Persson in the past.
But not anymore.
As I have studied those two, I feel that I am moving on from them and looking now at other, more detailed and older illustrators from the past.
This has been made easier from the ones chosen by Downton...
Throughout the book, the images start from Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) to Carl Erickson (1851-1958) to Coby Whitmore (1913-1988) and then ending with Downton and a selection of his own creations.
What I find so wonderful is that the term 'Fashion Illustration' has really been going for hundreds of years, it has only recently been given the title 'Fashion Illustration,' previously just being labled 'Fashion Plates' and portraits.
I do feel that it is a shame that photography has taken over the previous way of capturing an image. I find that it is very interesting to see how an artist/illustrator captures what they are seeing through their own eyes and pencil, instead of taking a photograph with hardly any creativity that they have produced.
I do think that traditional illustrating, all done by hand, hardly touching a computer, is coming back. And with all the books that one sees now, it is quite impossible to ignore it.