Thursday, 29 September 2011

Kate Moss (sort of)

Kate Moss : pencil on gessoed paper

When Matt Bramford heard rumours that 'Kate' was to also to attend the James Small catwalk show, such was his excitement (before, during and afterwards) that he asked for portraits of Kate (Moss as happened, to his immense relief). I had no idea of the strength of his feelings for 'Our Kate' until I read his review in Amelia's Magazine - do read it ... it's just lovely and will make you smile at the very least!

As with the Toni and Guy illustrations, it made a nice change to be drawing a portrait, and just using pencil. But it IS so difficult to get a likeness! I found myself pondering what makes each person look unique, and how just the slightest inaccurate pencil stroke can totally throw the image off course ... for me beyond retrieval. I spent ages redoing 2 things in particular - the lips, and the light falling on the cheekbones - until I had to give up.

Monday, 26 September 2011

LFW Day 4: Ziad Ghanem Illustration for Amelia's Magazine

Marnie Scarlet for Ziad Ghanem

Ziad Ghanem's catwalk show of his Spring Summer 2012 was an exotic, eccentric, extreme and wonderful affair. I was thrilled to have the task of doing an illustration of artiste, diva & model Marnie Scarlet - who arrived on stage in a white froth of a creation -  with a scarlet umbrella that opened with a shower of red and white petals:

those leggings are PVC - oooh!
As anybody would, I really wanted to do justice to the sheer splendid outrageousness of this! I have been using Derwent Inktense pencils a lot recently, but I only have a tin of 12 and no white ... so I used gouache instead; I suspect that it actually served the purpose better than the crayons might have - even if in some places the 'froth' has come out like those bits on the edge of a plaice fillet ... The red was done with 3 Inktense colours though - I wanted something really vivid.

Matt Bramford's fantastic review is a read and a half, more than capturing the joy, the glory, the wonder and the sheer genius of Ziad Ghanem in photographs, words and illustration - read the articlein Amelia's Magazine HERE.

I also like Katie Antoniou's report here - in fact her lovely fashion & style blog 'London Plinth' is always worth catching up on.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

London Fashion Week Day 3: Jayne Pierson

Jayne Pierson SS2012

Jayne Pierson SS 2012

My two illustrations for Matt Bramford's review of Jayne Pierson's catwalk show in Amelia's Magazine. It comes as no surprise to discover that Jayne has degrees in both Theatre and Fashion - Royal Ballet dancers struck wonderful poses to show off her Spring Summer 2012 collection. 

This is the beautiful coat shown in the first illustration - my version looks so drab by comparison:




This was a complete joy to illustrate - how wonderful to have to try to capture the Royal Ballet in action in the course of doing some fashion illustration ... thank you Amelia and Matt, as ever.  

LFW Day 2: Ashish

LFW Day 2: Spijkers en Spijkers

LFW Day 1: Paul Costello Illustration for Amelia's Magazine


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

On illustrating 'Basso and Brooke' SS 2012 for Amelia's Magazine




Basso and Brooke are known for their astonishing digital print fabrics - they even have huge images of these on their website, which look a bit like those 'magic eye' pictures of the 80s.



Not only are the prints sharp and incredibly detailed (like composite photos) but the fabrics all have a sheen. Combine this with highly complex structures and layers and it's quite a challenge to illustrate, especially when your style and methods aren't exactly cutting edge and digitally created.

One of the things that Akeela Bhattay (who wrote the fabulous review of Basso & Brooke's show in Amelia's Magazine - HERE) mentioned was that the show was meticulously orchestrated so that as each piece in the collection was seen, it predicted elements in the next piece ... quite an achievement and certainly not the case with all catwalk shows.
I tried to suggest this in the illustrations - by having the 2 figures (well, one and a half), and quite liked that effect.

Here are 2 stages in the initial drawing process for the 2nd illustration:



I am quite pleased with the two finished illustrations in themselves, but don't feel my style is  really best suited to the very sharp. precise digital prints of these designers - I think my approach is more 'dissolved' and soft focus than they require.

But do take a look for yourself at the article - brilliantly written by Akeela, with superb photos and stunning illustrations by Joana Faria and Kristina Vasiljeva.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Toni & Guy Hair Illustrations for London Fashion Week @ Amelia's Magazine

Toni & Guy 'Classic' style: pencil and inks


The first SS12 London Fashion Week report in Amelia's Magazine was by lovely fashion editor Matt Bramford - 'Catwalk Review: Toni & Guy - Hair Meets Wardrobe'. Like all of Matt's pieces it is a both a hugely witty take on things and truly informative ... I love his articles! I learned what a 'Croydon Facelift' is and also of current trend 'bed hair' (the plant Lady's Bedstraw' comes to mind) - read Matt's article HERE.

It was a fabulous change to be focusing on hair in an illustration, and Toni and Guy's 2012 diverse styles. I enjoyed doing the one above ... somehow the mix of Edwardian lady and some zingy tints seemed to work - & having just watch Downton Abbey's new season's 1st episode it felt in keeping with national nostalgia and this time of year NB. I have to say that Downton Abbey is visually utterly delicious - not just the clothes and hair ... and they are exquisite - but the lighting and  composition of each shot are quite tingle inducing. 

The style below comes under the heading 'Glamour' - as opposed to 'bed hair', though the distinction is a fine one as far as I can see. Still experimenting with the Inktense crayons ... and the wooden bbq skewer, as you can see!



Hope you like them - I loved doing them! And now to Ashish ... x

Friday, 16 September 2011

Charlotte Taylor Fashion Illustrations for Amelia's Magazine



Designer Charlotte Taylor sent a whimsical little story, about a Japanese girl/ woman called Sakura, with her 'lookbook' for Spring summer 2012. It involves bees, blossom and bonsai ... and despite Sakura being 'a tree surgeon by trade' she is also something of a dreamer and free spirit. 


I wasn't quite sure what was going on but some of it must have seeped in because my illustrations gradually became like something out of 'Milly Molly Mandy'. It's certainly the first time I've managed to make two faces look even remotely like the same person or character. Perhaps I CAN have a go at writing or illustrating a children's book after all ... as all my friends and family who have to wait around while I take photographs of wheelie bins (wherever I find a particularly pleasing one) know, there is at least one idea in the pipeline ...

***STOP PRESS*** Sunday 17th September: Charlotte has just put this lovely, stylish video on her website ... I love it! It captures the feel of her designs perfectly, including the music!:




Charlotte's bold, pictorial prints are very much the distinguishing element of her designs - I would use the word 'childish' (perhaps child-like sounds better?), but in the best way, to describe her prints and styling. For the white criss-cross pattern I used a different approach in each illustration; in the first one I found that I could just scratch through the green (with a wooden BBQ kebab skewer!) but for some reason this didn't work on the second one, so I used white gouache. The gold mini pattern on the purple top was done in gold acrylic - metallics never scan very well I find, hence it looking yellow rather than gold.


Miranda Williams has written another wonderful article for Amelia's Magazine - she interviewed Charlotte Taylor earlier this week and you can read the full article HERE. Charlotte's website is well worth a visit too - her patterns, fabrics and styling are really appealing.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Two Elisa Palomino Illustrations for Amelia's Magazine






Akeela Bhattay has a weakness for 1920s and 30s style, so loves the designs of the wonderfully named Elisa Palomino (wish I had such a romantic name). Akeela has written a marvellous London Fashion Week preview piece on Elisa for Amelia's Magazine (you can read the interview and see all the illustrations  HERE).

Elisa's designs are very floaty and chiffony - quite difficult to capture in an illustration I think, but once again the Inktense crayons helped out. Although they can be a bit unpredictable (which I enjoy), sometimes the ink collects in quite a 'gauzy' way. 
But it was with the hair on these that I had the most fun. Elisa's models have had some amazing big hair creations atop their heads, so I felt free to go to town a bit ... quite pleased with the scary frost-like effect on the second one, especially as the face, strangely, has become Elizabeth Taylor at a certain (st)age of her life! 

The icing on the cake was that Elisa offered tickets for her show (on September 20th, at Fashion Scout) to all three 'very talented illustrators' of the article - how lovely of her! Sadly I have to be in here North Yorkshire, but hope the other two can go.


Monday, 12 September 2011

A La Disposition Illustrations: London Fashion Week Preview in Amelia's Magazine


A La Disposition are an American husband and wife design team, who have very recently relocated to London. Their collections are characterised by highly original and adventurous themes, structuring and strong colours. Amelia Gregory interviewed them in advance of LFW's kick off at the end of this week and the launch of their Spring Summer 2012 collection (read more in the interview in Amelia's Magazine here and confirm this season's theme ... which I thought was (bravely) insects; well it has been birds before...).

One reason I loved doing these illustrations was that the collection was based around my favourite colour combination ... purple and green, and I liked the chance to do something more eccentric too.

The first illustration (above) was quite experimental - using Derwent Inktense crayons (my latest pash) which don't absorb into the paper I use, but just do their own thing on top! They also take eons to dry and it's not till then you know what has happened.
It seemed to work for the 1st one but I have to say that I very nearly contacted Amelia to ask that the 2nd one (below) didn't go in as it seemed to me too heavy & worked ... I still don't like it! Comments very welcome!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Jaume Plensa at Yorkshire Sculpture Park



Up until I studied the typography unit on my art course I had never heard of Jaume Plensa. We had to do a presentation on 3 or 4 artists who used typography ... but in 3D work. His work spoke with such immediacy and impact, even just from the first few photographs I came across.

So when Yorkshire Sculpture Park, so nearby, announced they were to exhibit his work this summer - both outdoors and in the indoor 'Underground' gallery - it seemed like a dream come true!

I could wax lyrical and endlessly about his work but will spare you that - here are some of the photos I took on my visit:

Names of composers cover the figures

'Lettering' from various world languages to create the figures




These magnificent, enormous mesh heads are actually on the roof of  the gallery (as 1st picture) - another pleasing illusion

And indooors:



These 5' but fragile alabaster heads were like projections - you felt you could put your hand  through them

I loved this 'mobile' (actually part of a maquette) and the moving shadows it threw onto the wall 

This was only one of a circle of huge gongs, in a darkened room - each with the most beautiful quotes (from the song of Solomon) on them 

This exhibition was wonderful and exceeded all my (already high) expectations. It's been extended and now runs till January 2012.

Monday, 5 September 2011

2 Lako Bukia Illustrations for Amelia's Magazine




Lako Bukia is an exciting young Georgian designer, now based in London. 

Her fabrics - silks and chiffons especially -  and colours - both smoky and bold - are wonderful, and for the first time (I think) she has introduced an element of print - sumptous, but contemporary and elegant, twining florals - into some of her designs.

By chance I had just bought some Derwent 'Inktense' crayons  (couldn't resist that name and all it suggested!) and they suited Lako's vivid but also quite ethereal colours and fabrics.

Her Spring Summer 2012 Collection will be shown at London Fashion Week later this month. 

Amelia Gregory interviewed her and 5 illustrators have created interpretations of her latest designs - mostly having only fuzzy glimpses of a few styles on clothes hangers! ... so quite difficult to know the hang, length etc of the garments, also the 'look' of the models on the catwalk, footwear and such. I do hope my predictions are not too wide of the mark. 

Amelia's article (here) is a lovely and interesting read. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Beetroot, Red Onion & Goats Cheese Tart

ready for the oven x 2



Liking to make use of what is growing in the garden (well the vegetable patch) at the moment, this recipe (via Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in a Guardian magazine from July 2009)  is ideal and absolutely delicious, as well as beautiful - I ought to say at this stage that it involves further very nice ingredients ... red wine, honey, thyme and dill.

cooked beetroot, red onion, feta cheese & the recipe 

The onions are softened in butter, then the red wine, some cider vinegar, honey and thyme are added:


Once the liquid has reduced, the cooked beetroot and dill is stirred in:


Then crumble some goats' cheese (it's meant to be round discs of goats' cheese but I used feta this time) into the bottom of the pastry case (I have used both puff and shortcrust - I prefer to use puff), pour in the beetroot mixture, and crumble more feta on top. Bake at 200 degrees, 'strew' with dill fronds ...  Et voila!



We ate one for lunch today - well, my brother IS staying too - and I've frozen the other one.

Friday, 2 September 2011

London Fashion Week last Spring: "Alice Palmer" illustrations for Amelia's Magazine



With the imminent arrival of the 2nd London Fashion Week of the year later this month, just a revisit to a designer & some illustration that I somehow omitted to post on the blog - probably in too much of a whirl!
Back in February, half term to be precise, I had a lovely one week spree of doing fashion illustration for Amelia's Magazine - ProphetikAlice TemperleyCaroline CharlesKirsty Ward ... but also Alice Palmer's astonishingly original knitwear (above and below).


I did like the stompy, stroppy look of the models too, enhanced by those lightning black eyebrows!

I am very much looking forward to the next LFWeek (which will be Spring Summer 2012) - would be happy with exactly the same designers to illustrate but also fingers crossed some new ones too  :)