Fashion illustration or fashion sketching is the art of communicating fashion ideas in a visual form. Many big names in fashion work with fashion illustrators when they launch a new collection or host an important event. As a big of fashion illustration, I was ecstatic to talk to Eliza, one of the most prominent fashion illustrators in Dubai fashion scene.
What drew you to fashion illustration?
What drew me to it is the fact that I am doing something that I love. It was something instinctive that I didn’t really have to think about as it merges my passion for art and fashion.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is Arabic fashion, culture, national costumes and accessories. I like to bring to life what I see and feel and share my appreciation and admiration of the general aesthetic appeal of the region.
When working on a project I surround myself with beautiful objects that help set the tone for my creations. I feel inspired in a comfortable and cozy environment, a working desk with different boxes and cases of art materials, colors, sketchbooks, fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Also, one of my passions is buying books when I travel.
I get inspired by beautiful interiors in coffee shops and hotels . There are many inspiring coffee shops and restaurants with varied beautiful atmospheres in Dubai. I call these places “my offices,” as I love to draw outside my home, especially on iPad.
I am inspired by the fact that I’m never contented but keep striving, learning and seeking knowledge, which helps me develop my techniques and enhance my skills.
Do you look up to any famous fashion illustrators?
I like the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles. Some of my favorite illustrators were born last century but are still important and relevant to our day.
One of my favorite fashion illustrators from 1920’s is Roman de Tirtoff, a Russian -born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erte’. His designs included dresses and accessories for women, costumes for opera, ballet and dramatic productions, posters and prints. His highly stylized illustrations depicted models in mannered poses draped in luxurious jewels, feathers, and soft, flowing materials against a background of interiors in the Art Deco style.
One of the greatest is René Gruau, an Italian artist known for his painterly style of fashion illustration. Inspired by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Art Nouveau aesthetic, Gruau was best known for his famous use of expressive line and controlled blocks of color.
Alphonse Mucha, a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist, lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau period, best known for his decorative theatrical posters of Sarah Bernhardt. He produced illustrations, advertisements, decorative panels, and designs which produced some of the best-known images of the period.
And one of my mentors and very successful artists of our day is Melbourne illustrator Megan Hess. She is one of the best and highly acclaimed fashion illustrators who works with some of the most prestigious fashion designers and luxury brands from around the world, such as Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Montblanc and Tiffany & Co. The main topic of her illustrations involves shopping. She uses elements like famous brands and objects that represent status, which appeal to the rich and famous.
What is your favorite item to draw?
One of my passions is doing quick sketches of my surroundings and people and finding the beauty in simple things. I love to bring out details that might have been missed. Drawing, for me, is the best way to use my talents to express myself. I like to draw jewelry and accessories, shiny textures and gem stones. I also like to embrace my art through expression and belief in a dream, visualizing it, drawing it and bringing it to life.
What is the most difficult?
If you have a good talent set and drawing experience, you can sketch everything. It’s just a matter of the time you have to spend drawing. One thing that is challenging but very rewarding is using my skills to draw digitally and try to get a very similar result as using traditional materials, trying to make Digital drawing look like it was painted with traditional watercolors or markers.
What materials do you use
My work consists of using digital illustrations with the latest technology and applications in addition to using traditional mediums such as professional markers, pencils and watercolors.
Can you say fashion illustration is in demand now?
Fashion illustration is highly sought after and very popular globally. We are saturated with pictures from the Internet and advertising and it is very difficult to surprise us. Illustrations can reveal the essence of the author’s collection and design much better than photographs.
When I create certain illustrations, for example, I try to convey my feelings from a particular model, create a special fairy-tale world around it and just lend it that little bit of magic that is missing nowadays. Anyone can take pictures with smartphones, etc, but not many can produce special and unique works of art from the very same subject matter.
A few examples that fashion illustration is in demand now is that fact that a luxury brand like Gucci is collaborating with artists for particular advertising campaigns. The fashion brand Hermes is conducting a contest among amateurs and professional artists for best scarf design. For me, fashion illustration is a kind of mix of fashion and art.
I am aware you do fashion illustration for events in Dubai. What are the specifics of the job?
I do sketching or live performance drawing for many different kinds of events. I also draw quick sketches of the guests on the spot. One sketch usually doesn’t take more than 10 minutes.
I offer fashion illustration-style drawing for live sketching, as it is the most attractive style of illustration. Fashion illustration highlights your best features and eliminates the less desirable ones. It is highly detailed and not a caricature.
What were your favorite events?
I sketched for the Dubai Opera Wedding fair in October, 2018. It was a an honor to be there and sketch live.
How can you define your style?
I like to draw with heterogeneous, expressive, lively lines. I like to use bright colors, not a too realistic stylized decorative style in the drawing of people and models. I like to show the movement of fabric. If I use picture as a reference I always try to sketch with some additional details from my mind or additional animation that I think will enhance the overall final result. I like to use unusual and different angles for my compositions that will surprise, excite and delight the customer.
And I still like to experiment with styles, techniques and materials. I feel that my drawing skills are improving as every project challenge me and teach me something new and change my style compliments customer request.
What are your aspirations as a fashion illustrator
I am looking forward for collaborations with leading fashion, jewelry brands and glossy magazines, as well as the opening of my own on-line drawing school.
I want to develop and grow with the creative project “Arte & Lusso.” and to get acquainted with talented designers and luxury brands based in the Gulf region and Italy , visit fashion events and fashion weeks in Dubai and Milan.
My dream is to work on various beautiful projects and to do event sketches for Dolce & Gabbana.
I’d like my art to be seen and appreciated and to have my unique style that will be known and recognizable.
Thank you Eliza for sharing the insights into your beautiful world of fashion illustration! We are wishing you all the success and many more beautiful collaborations!
Interview by Slava Noor