I interviewed the chic Fashiion Illustrator, @modast_illustration on Instagram, read the full interview below:
1. Tell me a bit about yourself
I’m a recent university graduate, who is also currently a full-time office employee. I spend my free time sketching, and stalking creative people on Instagram, because I’m obsessed with all-things creative, and specifically with fashion illustration!
2. What is your full name?
At the moment, I would prefer not to disclose this information. I could go on to tell you that I always found something intriguing in individuals who originally present their work to the masses under a pseudonym. It does leave a trail of mystique. In reality however, I simply feel more comfortable remaining unidentified for the time being. It took me a rather long time to begin posting my work online, and most of my friends and family do not even know that I am doing so. Perhaps it is a confidence issue, but at the moment I would prefer to be referred to by the name written on my Instagram page. 😛
3. Age? (Optional)
Sure, I’m 23.
4. How did you first become interested in this line of work?
As long as I can remember, I used to be interested in sketching female “models”, and “designing” different dresses for them. In my early childhood I didn’t really know what it was called and whether anything such as “fashion illustration” existed. I just liked to sketch, and invent the different outfits for the numerous female characters I created, and over the years it just stuck with me.
5. Tell me about your training and schooling
I’ve never received proper schooling specifically in fashion illustration, or design. However, when I was around 10 years old my parents thought that my drawings resembled comic characters, so I began attending after-school art classes which taught you how to draw comics. This was where I was first taught how to properly sketch the human body, the clothing (tensions, creases, etc.), the shading, the perspective etc. In my spare time however, I continued to sketch and illustrate fashion, and after 4 years I stopped attending the classes, knowing that I have learnt all that could be useful specifically for fashion illustration. It was a great experience though, and it has really taught me a lot of techniques, which I use for my sketches to date!
6. Where do you see yourself in the near future? Is it in the fashion industry or in another line of work?
It happens so that due to the broadness of both of my degrees (I’m a Masters graduate in management and business studies), I could pursue a career within any business sector of any industry. I do see myself being part of a creativity-focused industry, but not necessarily within the fashion industry. Right now, fashion illustration is a large part of my life outside of work, but it remains just a hobby of mine. I like the structure and the routine behind the creativity, so for me, working within the managerial side of a creative industry is closer to heart than being the “artist” herself. At least that’s how I feel now, but as they say, “never say never” right?
7. Current profession?
As a recent university graduate, I am undergoing an internship in a digital marketing company, and taking life one day at a time, while discovering what my next step in professional life would be! Will my future be related to fashion illustration? Maybe. We’ll see. Who knows?
8. What materials do you use when doing your illustrations?
I have tried a range of different materials, depending on the effects I am seeking to achieve with the illustration itself. However, all my work is either fully or partially done with colour pencils (I’m in love with my set of Faber-Castell colour pencils, which I have used as long as I can remember), and would also normally include different types of markers. For me, details are very important, and these materials are able to give the wanted effect. Although I do sometimes use other materials, such as water paints and pastels for larger, non detailed pieces.
9. How do your pieces come together? Example- is it a lengthy process and do you take some time to get inspired to draw?
It depends. I don’t think I have a precise way of approaching every illustration. Sometimes, when I have a free afternoon, and I know that I can dedicate a few good hours to being creative, then I simply take a paper and a pencil, and see where it takes me! But I always have a small sketch book on hand. Whenever inspiration hits, it’s always handy to have something to sketch down your ideas on. I do not specifically take time to get inspired, as I draw inspiration from anything around me. Inspiration works in peculiar ways (for me it does at least), so you never know what sound, taste or colour may trigger it. But by far, I would say that music is my main source of inspiration, not only when it comes to fashion illustration, but the way I dress in everyday life. I’m very much influenced by it on a daily basis, which can get tricky, since I listed to everything and anything, regardless of genre.
10. Any special techniques you use?
Since I’ve never specifically been taught fashion illustration, I don’t think there any “professional” techniques, which I could share with anyone. However, I did pick-up certain tips that have helped me improve over the years. For example, at the earlier stages when you struggle with different “model” poses, but you still feel like experimenting, it’s useful to keep a fashion magazine on hand. Why not try something completely new by replicating a pose which you may like from a real-life model? Another tip (specifically for colour pencil-lovers like myself), would be to use the warmth of your fingers to smudge and blend the pencil throughout the entire process, in order to create the various clothing textures. And I guess when using pencils, it is all about the build-up of the colour layers, and the blending of the different colours. Creating different clothing textures takes time, so patience and persistence is key. Keep layering, and keep building up the colour until you get the wanted result. The more you practice, the more clear it becomes when it is more appropriate to use the pencil lightly, and when you can go bald with the harsh lines.
11. What qualities do illustrations have that you can’t find in photography or film?
I think it’s a question of authenticity and traditionalism, which is particularly attached nowadays to fashion illustration. After all, all visuals used to be illustrated in books, posters, newspapers and magazines, before other mediums of portraying reality, such as photography or film became available to the masses. Also, no matter the style or genre, in photography or film you will always be restricted by the “real” structures of the human body, or the objects that surround us. The only limits you have in illustration however, are the boundaries of the illustrator’s imagination. And if you only scroll down your Instagram page under the hashtag #illustration, you’ll see that there are no boundaries to an individual’s imagination and perception of reality. Traditional illustrations are real, raw, and are originally non-digitalised. It is these qualities that I think, keep the individuals’ of our digitalised age, interested in traditional illustration.
12. Who or what is your favourite subject to draw?
Humans in general, their bodies, faces, and even hands (which is usually the most challenging part for me). Leather jackets are also pretty cool. I don’t think I could ever get tired of drawing the classic black leather jackets…