Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Serge Lutens

The rare book of Serge Lutens work is available for over £300 on amazon, and with only one copy left, not many people are ever going to see it. However, there are scans available online that allow us to see the unique beauty and influential body of work that he produced as an image maker and art director.

Through his employment as Shiseido's image director in the 80s he produced some of his best work, and ended up going into his own house of perfumery: "Les Salons du Palais Royal"

I've included my favourite scans but there are so much more. Make sure you look him up

Monday, 25 October 2010

One Too Many Hands

Without doubt one of the strongest tumblr blogs on fashion illustration, make sure you follow it!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Head Heart & Hips, The Seductive World of BigActive

This book is a few years old now (2005) but I'll always come back to it for a good flick through. This post is mainly because I just stumbled across the book on amazon, where it is currently going for just FOUR POUNDS in new condition, and there are plenty of copies. I DESPERATELY urge you to buy this while it is going so unbelievably cheap. It's at least £20 in high street stores and packed full of BigActive's amazing talents (listed below), all beautifully laid out in full page and double spread layouts, letting the work do all the talking over 208 pages. The book is also hardback and a great size. I've photographed some of the layouts to prove just how sumptuous this book is. BUY BUY BUY

Gerard Saint
Mat Maitland
Richard Andrews
Jasper Goodall
Rene Habermacher & Jannis Tsipoulanis (my personal highlight)
Kate Gibb
Vava Ribiero
Erwan Frotin
Kam Tang
David Foldvari
Patrick Ibanez
Genevieve Gauckler
Daniel Stier
Kristian Russell
Will Sweeney
Simon Henwood
Rachel Thomas

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Advanced Fashion Drawing by Bil Donovan: A Review

This book represents the opposite kind of path that I myself took into fashion illustration, so it was interesting to see practical and logical approaches to illustrating clothes.
As my own visual language comes from more of a graphics and image-making background, rather than a textiles and fashion one, I've never really gone down the route of having to illustrate on a more practical and purposeful level.

There's many lessons about composition, line quality and technique that are genuinely informative and useful. Some of the illustrations chosen have a slightly dated feel to them, and aren't as inspiring as some of the others. That said, the images used in the book are there to serve a teaching purpose, the book isn't there to make you create your own visual style, you do that yourself through life experience and personal taste, something Bil is keen to point out in the chapter 'Finding Your Voice'. This book is essentially the teaching block that is required to get there, and there's some great work from the likes of stina persson and antonio lopez, including unseen practice sketches to help understand this.

Advanced Fashion Drawing does mainly stick to learning how to interpret the figure and clothing through all different kinds of media, but the rules can also be applied out of a fashion context, and for anyone who hasn't actually studied on a fashion or textile based course, this does give some great lessons and perspective.

Chapters such as 'Composing the figure within an environment' are especially useful, as it's something a lot of fashion illustrators find daunting and tend to avoid, including myself, so no matter how confident you are as an illustrator, there will be something here to learn from. For the price of it, the book is incredibly thorough and a lot of bang for your buck.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Masters of Illustration by David Downton: A Review

I'm pretty sure this is the first solid book review I've actually posted on here or on my own blog. I always mention books and artists of desire but with no full feature. basically, Downton's new book which I recently received, is truly an important book to any fashion illustrator, more so than any other book I've came across, and needs a solid review to reflect this.

As soon as you see Downton's new book, you know it isn’t going to be another forgettable compilation book of contemporary illustrators. The design of the book alone is worthy of pointing out, connoting the historic beauty and elegant styles of the illustrators and artists featured, alongside a fantastic portfolio of David’s own work.

It's obvious that he has clearly put his all his time and effort into this, the passion for the artists shines through every paragraph and image, and although he admits in the interview that the selection of artists was slightly self-indulgent, in my eyes it works better than simply showing a selection of illustrators that would people-please on a broad term, and instead keeps things direct and interesting.
The curation of artists itself is fantastic. There was a bit of debate over the fact that Downton left out Gruau, which is understandable given his significance. However the book draws your attention to artists or illustrators of equal influence but possibly less exposure, and there are already enough books and references to the work of Gruau to justify his absence. The book chronologically ranges from Boldini and Leyendecker (he of the iconic Coca Cola ads), through the gazette artists who influenced the likes of Gruau and Bernard Blossac in the mid century, right through to Lopez And Viramontes.

What was actually surprising, was how interesting it was to read about artists and illustrators past. I’ll admit that when it comes to more historic artists, I’ll usually skip the information about their career and focus on their work. Downton manages to place the context perfectly within the focus of the works, and as such nothing feels ‘dated’ when viewing.
With David’s obvious interest in the pursuit of a career in illustration, and the likeliness that a significant amount of readership will also be interested in an illustrative career, the text manages to keep informative and exciting without ever becoming dense about the artists’ techniques. It’s beautifully illustrated throughout, and draws focus to the individual talents and styles of each artist, and made me reconsider the work and focus of something that I would have originally overlooked.

Also, the sheer amount of previously unseen and rare work makes this an absolute gem to behold. If you even serve a remote interest in the likes of Downton / Gruau / fashion illustration as a whole, or even more contemporary illustrators, this book is incomparable for a great learning experience and eye opener, and will no doubt provide inspiration on some level.

To see a video feature from the launch party of David’s book, click HERE.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

More Alex Noble

Alex's illustrations have a great identifiable quality to them. He gave us an interview in the first issue about one of his latest exhibitions, but here are some of his older illustrations to have a gander over.
I don't know about you, but in my eyes these are better than a fair amount of illustrators usually featured in illustrator compilation books, and it's a crying shame his work isn't exposed as much as his clothing.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Rene Gruau

Christian Dior are putting together a fantastic exhibition of the work of Rene Gruau, the prolific illustrator who became synonymous with the Dior Brand through illustrating the advertisements and posters, and a whole host of non-dior related work.

I'd never seen his work in depth before as somehow, he seems to have escaped my research and discoveries. But the more I've looked into his work, the more shocked I am at how seriously influential it clearly was.

I can see the work of David Downton and many other key illustrators within his style. His sparing use of line and shape manage to depict so much with so little; A quality I've always tried to attain within my own work, Gruau's depictions make me feel like I've discovered the true root of all influence within this style of work. I know that's not the case, as I'd be ignoring all art periods prior to Gruau, but it just feels like such a monumental discovery in terms of my own aesthetic.

The mens' illustrations in particular are a sharp contrast to the women's, showing Gruau wasn't only adept at the feminine curves and lines of women, but also representing men by using strong masculine compositions and ambiguous imagery.

Make sure you check out the exhibition starting 10th November, at Somerset House. Dior are also commissioning five contemporary UK illustrators (one of which is myself :-) ) to do a modern response to Gruau's work, which will be included in the exhibition and available in signed prints. More details on the official site.