Some of my very first illustrations were for Amelia's Magazine exactly a year ago - and of the wonderfully romantic Prophetik collection: http://www.gillyrochester.com/2011/02/prophetik-at-london-fashion-week.html
This year's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection is equally rich in nostalgia and costume, the 'story' being 'Courtly Love' but with references to Princess Grace and, I thought, a rather 'Downton' look. You can read the article, by Matt Bramford, here.
Well ... one year and quite a few illustrations on (as can be seen by the tag cloud on the right), I could not over-state the positive influence that Amelia's Magazine, Amelia herself and Matt Bramford have been. The opportunity to have a brief and a deadline - and REAL ones - has been simply amazing....
A year ago I was only able to draw/colour by hand, and could just about scan, then suddenly, thanks to Amelia's Magazine and my trusted copy of Amelia's guidelines to illustrators, I had grapple with things I'd never heard of like dpi, resolution and resizing (I relied on 'Gimp' at that stage - which, it has to be said, is a great (and free!) program).
I bought Photoshop Elements but didn't have the courage (or time) to open it for over 3 months, then it took me nearly 8 months to get to crude grips with layering.
The illustration above is actually my 1st attempt at 'colouring' digitally ... for me meaning with my mouse on the wooden kitchen table top (no Wacom tablet/pen yet). And also a little line work .. as you can see all too clearly, the mouse skids off like on those things you sign for parcel deliveries on.
I still have mixed feelings about the whole digital thing - the possibilities are both endless and exciting, but I do struggle with feelings that it is not really your work and also that you do not have an original for, say, exhibitions. And I do get driven to stomach-curdling anxiety when images inexplicably lose their sharpness and definition at some point(s) in the long-winded process.
However, over-riding all that is the sheer joy of sitting down to an illustration task, and also the real warmth and support of the community of illustrators, writers and magazines (especially Amelia's) out there - Twitter has been another revelation.