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the fashion illustration journal with sketching pages

edited by jazmin welch



a word from the editor


n the fall of 2010 I embarked on an intense,

emotionally charged, confusing and extremely

difficult journey that most people commonly call

‘University’. I began my post secondary career with a jam-packed portfolio of artwork from my final

year at an arts high school backed by 14 years of drawing and painting in my free time, beginning at age three. During the latter years of high school I began developing a love of fashion but I needed to find a way to combine my two passions into

one. The answer to this was the Fashion Communication program at Ryerson University.

This journal is the culmination of everything that I

At Ryerson University I have discovered that what

final year, senior ‘Capstone’ project. I have been

publication design. I was able to meld this passion

have learned and is the creative component of my researching the ways in which humans experience and interact with digital and print mediums. This includes factors such as the readability of the

content, interactivity, and engagement, among

others. I then used the findings of my research to design this journal. I wanted to create something

beautiful that people would want to hold onto and cherish and something that emerging illustrators

can learn from and sketch in (the sketching pages are designed for use with graphite and pen).

I enjoy the most, within the realm of fashion, is

with my love of drawing and fashion illustration

into one final project that I am extremely proud of. Fashion illustration is a unique art form that still has a relevant place in today’s world. The

personal touch engages audiences and capti-

vates budding new artists and designers, drawing

them into the field. This journal delves into current discussions within the field, highlights brilliant

illustrators, various methods, and new ventures, offering a new perspective and a voice to the wonderful field of fashion illustration. I hope you enjoy it! jazmin welch

a word | contour


contents fundamentals: the tools of the trade 8 sketchbook magic words & illustrations by kerianne shepley

12 the digital frontier words & illustrations by taylor barnes

16 doodles for days words & illustrations by cleopatria peterson

20 sketching pages

perspectives: insights into the past, present & future of fashion illustration 28 fashion plates and la parisienne words by ingrid mida

31 the untold story of live runway sketching words by danielle meder

40 diversity in fashion illustration words & illustration by colleen schindler-lynch

42 sketching pages


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emergence: fashion captured in new ways

spotlight: q&a with up-and-coming illustrators

50 draw upon the classics illustrations by jessica herrndorf

56 the art of (not) looking words & illustrations by jazmin welch

61 blind contour drawing how-to guide words & illustration by jazmin welch

70 joanna pranitchi 74 ketzia kobrah 78 laura gulshani 84 sketching pages

62 sketching pages

illustrations by jazmin welch unless otherwise labelled copy editor: michele welch

contents | contour



jessica herrndorf

cleopatria peterson

A fine artist at heart, Jessica Herrndorf’s work is done best with her hands. She loves the textures, colours, and, smells of using real materials to create her pieces. Jessica’s goal is to become an accomplished illustrator, travelling the world for her work. As well as illustrating, she enjoys making jewellery, photography, discovering nature, and travelling. Cleopatria Peterson is a 22 year old illustrator from Kingston, Ontario. Mostly a self-taught illustrator, she has a small arts background. Her tools of the trade are fineliners or, for digital work, a Wacom Cintiq tablet. She has worked at TEDxRyersonU drawing caricatures and this year will be illustrating for Folio Magazine while also finishing her collaborative thesis on transmedia storytelling and participatory culture. In the future she hopes to be able to have a career in commercial illustration or book illustration.


ketzia kobrah


Ketzia Kobrah is a Toronto based illustrator and designer. Her art explores the dark side of Victorian ornamentation, while being firmly rooted in the present. Her interests include rainbow hair, unicorns, floral patterns, and cupcakes.



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colleen schindler-lynch

laura gulshani

Colleen Schindler-Lynch studied fine arts at the University of Windsor and then completed an MFA at Louisiana State University. Colleen is a full time sessional instructor in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University teaching Fashion Illustration, Accessory Design and Textile Design.


danielle meder Laura Gulshani is a fourth year student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, majoring in Fashion Communications. With a profound love for all things art and design, she dreams of one day moving from her hometown of Mississauga to one of the cultural and artistic capitals of the world. Her hobbies include painting, tweeting and finding the easiest and fastest way to produce a meal.



photo: jonathan daniel pryce Danielle Meder is a fashion illustrator specializing in live runway sketching and paper dolls. Her sketches have appeared in WWD and FLARE. Her paper dolls have been commissioned by New York Magazine, Bloomingdale’s, and The Hudson’s Bay Company. She shares her drawings and thoughts at

contributors | contour


taylor barnes joanna pranitchi

12 Joanna Pranitchi is a third year Ryerson student majoring in Fashion Design. As an illustrator, she mainly works in watercolour and digital based media. Through her work, Joanna strives to connect fashion, illustration and art in ways that create an impact and convey a message.


Taylor Barnes is currently enrolled in third year Fashion Communication at Ryerson University, focusing on developing her illustration and art direction skills. She has interned in various styling, illustration and art direction positions, and is now further exploring her options in the creative industry.

kerianne shepley

ingrid mida

28 Ingrid Mida, BA, MA, is the Collection Co-ordinator and Acting Curator of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection and has a deep affinity for the dress and imagery of the 19th century. She is also a freelance writer and is currently working on a book project for Bloomsbury Fashion for publication in 2015.

One word to describe Kerianne Shepley is ‘interested’. She is totally enthused by the world around her and spends her time biking and exploring, much of the year, until hibernation takes her with the cold of winter and she burrows away and the time for art increases.


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the tools of the trade

fundamentals | contour


sketchbook magic the sketchbook is a tool that can take your art anywhere you want it to words & illustrations by kerianne shepley

When I was little I had several sketchbooks but I never actually used them, I always drew on a wad of

standard eight and a half by eleven printer paper, I


sketchbook is like wandering around in space

only to be sucked up by a black hole and

sent spiraling into a secret alternate dimension, you then go on to meet new energies of life that

you had only daydreamed of before as you float around in the amniotic fluid of this new motherly galaxy. It’s like tea time at the top of Mt. Hua

Shan, google Mt. Hua Shan. You should google Mt. Hua Shan, please!!!

A sketchbook is like when you go to cocoon in

your fort constructed of blankets woven from gold-

en looms upon the weighted darkness due to the

cloaked sky and you have your favourite Douglas fir incense burning in the middle of the arms of a cold winter as you wander off for eight hours to seven different psychedelic adventures. It’s like when you

are in high school and you are dubbed an outcast but you then have a paradigm shift and realize that you are so cool and you ask yourself to hangout in your bedroom in celebration in the form of lighting

candles and taking turns cuddling yourself, collaging

and reading comics in a makeshift tent illuminated

with flashlights, “MUUUUUm, it says DO NOT ENTER!”. This large container of loose papers is like falling asleep, the kind of falling where your head

participates because maybe you are on a bus, in

class or something like that and you slip away from

your physical reality for a second and the sensation of time is elongated only to be jolted awake as your head reaches the full extent of its swing. You know what I mean?


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loved paper. Like when I say loved you should picture a little girl running around a paper shop with stars in

her eyes spending hours touching and smelling all

the textures and colours to be found, “look this one has flowers!” What I was dedicated to in bounded

format was journaling, and then high school came, also known as the four years of distractions from what’s important. After high school came Ryerson

University in Toronto, and I had to art again, and this was the hand that lit the candles in my bedroom and

turned off all of the lights in the world. I became in-

spired; tapped back into my creativity. Also I realized that what I really wanted to be doing at that time was

Fine Arts, so that’s exactly what I did after taking a year and a half off to get to know myself. And one

of the most important things that happened in that year and a half was the sketchbook. My sketchbook.

My secret world where I could transcend the physical

barriers, that this tangible chunk of planet enforces, with all of my impossible ideas. I carried it with

me everywhere. For the first year my ideas weren’t impossible at all, they were quite realistic actually.

Portraits to be exact. Lots of portraits. Primarily my face because it was always there. My sister who

is an awesome animator had told me that people

were the hardest thing to draw, and once you could

draw them, everything else came so much more fluidly. I took that quite literally because if you look

through my first sketchbook from that year it kind of

goes like face, face, face, face, fAcE, person, FACE, fæce, FaïcE, person, face. Yeah? Then extrapolate

that for the rest of the sketchbook. Maybe with one butt in there somewhere.

fundamentals | contour


I remember when I drew for the first time after coming back from Ryerson, I had come back home late

November or early December, and I hadn’t found the energy for anything art until April, and I was so timid the first time I took my pen on a date to paper. I was

thinking about every line so much, I was scared of things not turning out the way they had unravelled

in my head. It’s inevitable for things to not turn out, but I needed to learn this after being intimidated for a bit and inevitably going through some loose

leaf paper, often ripped out from sketchbooks only to be dated and put

chronologically into a box, slip away from your physical reality for a second and the sensation of time is elongated...

how funny.

The following Christmas my family and I went to our traditional quaint farm to pick out our tree and they

have an awesome shop there filled with antiques,

dried flowers, cooking books, odds and ends and

a little stash of paper goods. Once I laid my eyes

on a recycled sketchbook my heart had attached itself to the pages. I got it and vowed to draw in it every day. This didn’t end up happening but I was

pretty good to my promise. A sketchbook is this

awesome compilation of your work that you can revisit and have a clear trail of progress to view.

It’s an unwritten book begging for you to document your research of life in it in as messy or pristine of way as you can muster with your hands, feet, hair or

face — even saying that is giving it some limitation.

It’s such an awesome way to learn through drawing because it is constantly provoking you to be more

thoughtful, analytical, observant, reflective and inventive, a notebook of research. Somewhere you can never be bored. Excuse me I must go sketch, because all of this talking about sketchbooks while

I am surrounded by mine is a terrible tease. Sketch on my friends.


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fundamentals | contour


the digital frontier it's hard to resist cheating on your pencils and paintbrushes every once and a while words & illustrations by taylor barnes


have found, over the years, that most people you

Now, when I say I’m traditional, I’m not saying it

where. So, with this in mind, I suppose I will just come

First Year of university just to get me to break away

encounter will tell you that denial will get you no-

right out and say it: I am having a love affair... with digital illustration.

It was an accident, really. I am very traditional, and I love my pencils and papers with all my heart. One

might say I was enticed over to the other side, and that I can’t be at blame at all. However, no matter which way you spin it,

from graphite, and begin exploring other media. Of

course they were right (as they always seem to be), and I learned to love markers, ink and watercolour,

and soon I began clinging tightly to these, avoiding pushing my talents any further for fear of failure.

I am having a love affair... with digital illustration

I have fallen deeply in love

with something that once terrified me, and soon I

will stop apologizing to my fading and drying out markers.

Way back in Grade Nine, when I was in that awkward phase of my teenage years, my sisters gave me a

Wacom Bamboo tablet for my birthday. At this point

in my life I was set on becoming an animator, and the idea of being able to illustrate on the same screen I would one day animate on excited me. However, eventually it gathered dust in my room,

used once and soon forgotten. The idea of digital illustration was exciting, but for a beginner it is one

of the most daunting things you may encounter in your artistic career.


lightly. It took a lot of effort from my professors in my

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Not long after my first class, my fears began to drip

away, and I started to see just how much potential digital illustration possessed. There was even a determined phone call to my mother, where I exclaimed Then came Third Year. Once you get to Third Year

you are expected to easily climb out of your comfort zone, and explore the talents you have gained

as I walked home to my apartment, “I WILL figure out

these programs. I WANT to know how to use them to their full potential, and see what I can create.”

throughout your undergraduate degree. With this in

This determination faded for a brief moment. My

which made me anxious, I voiced this fear to those

at my table, attempting to draw on my dusty tablet

mind, seeing that I was enrolled in Digital Illustration

around me. I felt angry that we weren’t offered a traditional illustration class that year, especially when

it was something I was so passionate about. Why

force us to learn digital illustration when some of us are very content with the more traditional side of

things? It angered me, and I entered the class quite bitterly. I believed I had the right to stay inside my

comfort zone, and I hated that I was being forced out once again. And that’s when the affair began.

first illustration was, to say it lightly, horrible. I sat

(which feels as if you are drawing with your opposite hand, if you are a beginner), getting more and more frustrated. I threatened my computer that I would

whip it across the room if it didn’t soon behave and not long after the threats, tears were involved. But at the same moment, a friend sent me a cute

animated short she had seen, and my determination

returned. It can’t be THAT hard, can it? Just look at what it can create!

fundamentals | contour


Well, it turns out it is that hard, at first. I soon learned

that when I said I wanted to learn these programs

A quick line with an interesting brush stroke can turn into a fabulous, stylistic dress

(and by “these” I mean

Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop) to their full potential, I didn’t quite realize just how much poten-

So why the crazy love affair, you might ask? For

quite a few industry professionals who have said

love it because it’s easy and intricate all at once.

tial they actually possessed. I have encountered

they STILL can’t use all the features these incredible programs offer. However, surprisingly enough,

my determination remained. Where had my comfort zone gone?

After learning a small portion of Adobe Illustrator, I

felt that I was finally getting the hang of my tablet

and I was quite pleased with my first large illustration. It had taken me hours to complete, but while I

worked on it I would often say to those around me that I wanted to sit and work on it all day — I could ignore my other classes, right?

The same joy came again when I expanded into

Adobe Photoshop. I became totally entrapped in

the program, hunched over my tablet and laptop for hours on end, working on one illustration after

the next. I had finally found something I wanted to do endlessly — not just to complete an assignment, but in my spare time as well. It was a new

type of passion that I hadn’t experienced very often in my life so far. It felt so different to traditional illustration, but also very much the same.

me, the reasons actually contradict each other. I

You can create an incredible illustration with over a

hundred different varieties of brushes, all with one

tool, and one screen. It’s clean and concise, but offers the widest range of possibilities I’ve yet to find in any medium. A quick line with an interesting brush

stroke can turn into a fabulous, stylistic dress — add

some colours and blending, and suddenly you have a life like illustration with a story and personality all it’s own.

Perhaps the best part of all, especially for a tidy person such as myself, is that at the end of all of it, you simply hit save and turn off your comput-

er. There is no hassle or mess. Those hundreds of brushes used moments ago don’t need to be

cleaned for twenty minutes and hung carefully to dry, preserving the quality. There’s no newspaper

covered in ink splashes to dispose of, or cups of

murky water to dump. But just behind that screen is

an entire world of illustrative possibilities, all waiting to be tested and played with, pushing me further and further out of that comfort zone.

Specifically, I found that it was easier, and in a

And so, though I am only twenty and have years

that I had developed throughout my years of il-

my days of graphite and markers are beginning

strange way, more natural for me. The “style”

lustrating had finally found the perfect medi-

um — a tool that suited the strokes I created, and seemed to merge together into something I finally wanted to call art.


contour | fundamentals

of illustrating ahead of me, I can safely say that to fade. While I may still retreat to that comfort zone on rare occasions, enjoying that tactile expe-

rience of sketching on a crisp piece of paper, the affair I started with Digital Illustration might just be the real deal.

fundamentals | contour


doodles for days strength can be found when you let your pen and pencil wander words & illustrations by cleopatria peterson

Until recently, I’ve gone through a lot of my

drawings, thinking that I’m not good enough be-

cause I can’t draw realism, but that’s not necessarily true. There is always room to improve but

I am drawing for myself because it is what I love


probably started drawing (not kindergarten

scribbles) when I was around seven years old.

I had and still have a very bad attention span. When something couldn’t hold my interest, for

example math class, instead of taking notes I

would fill the margins of my notebooks. Saturday morning cartoons were extremely important and at 8AM I was there at my TV flipping between

Fox and YTV. It’s where my love for animation really started, I know you’re expected to grow

out of cartoons but I just grew into it. I learned by copying what I loved and I was always trying to

emulate what I inspired me at the time: Japanese animation.

When I was younger I was a part of two art

programs that didn’t do the greatest job at teaching art. You would learn fundamentals but not the things you really needed to know, for example,

anatomy or perspective. If you look at my work you can tell I have a poor knowledge of both.

The first life drawing class I took was in university, so as much as I have some art background I

would say it’s not the right art background, which is why I would say that I’m self-taught. Those art programs I’m talking about were very close

minded when it came to cartoony styles, they

basically insisted I shouldn’t draw like that and if I continued I would never have a career. If

you’re told stuff like that, especially when you’re

younger and trying to evolve as an artist, it really screws you up.


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to do. It makes me happy to create something

and it takes me out of my head. I have been told many times that I can’t draw. I couldn’t get into

my high school’s art program until my guidance counsellor fought for me to be in after seeing

my sketchbook. I didn’t really need to be in that

class because I would have been drawing anyway, but I’m glad that I’ve had people who could see something in my work.

fundamentals | contour



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My process is pretty parallel to a free write. I’m a

fairly introverted person and sometimes when I’m stuck in my head my mind can play like an over-

whelming broken record. My thoughts or feelings

are just kind of stuck in a never-ending cycle with nowhere else to go. That’s where the drawing

comes in. The majority of my work is just trying

to get something out. Be it a feeling, thought, or

phrase, that’s what ends up being the essence of my illustration. But for the process of sketching,

it’s really just me putting pen on paper and letting the lines tell the story. Originally I would just start off with a fine-liner, which makes everything per-

manent and forces you to be intuitive to what the

piece is trying to communicate. Now I find that my ideas are kind of evolving, so I do a rough pencil sketch first and then go over it with fine-liner.

Depending on where it’s going the piece can still change but I have more of an idea of what the end product will look like. It’s fun to switch up

from the two methods though, it depends on my

mood and what I’m trying to get out of the piece. A typical doodle can either take one to three

hours or one to two weeks on and off depending on the amount of detail that’s involved.

Last year I would probably draw about three to

four times a week but now that it’s a new year I’m really trying to push myself to draw every day. I

draw stuff from life or just quick gestures, nothing really intricate but enough so I don’t get rusty

and so I can improve my form. There is nothing

to lose in trying, only something learned, and that makes me happy.

fundamentals | contour


now it 's your turn to try!


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fill this entire page with an elaborate doodle

pretend this piece of paper is a computer screen and create a drawing that looks digital

get lost and draw yourself in the first place that comes to your mind

insights into the past, present & future of fashion illustration

perspectives | contour


fashion plates and la parisienne flaunting fashion in the 19th century words by ingrid mida, ba, ma.

It is not that Parisian women are faultlessly

required the investment of considerable time and

than perfect beauty. Perfect art.

of clothing over the course of a day, marking the

beautiful, but that they have something better ~ Louis Octave Uzanne, La Femme á Paris, 1894


he chic Parisienne represented the ideals of

feminine beauty in the nineteenth century. To

become a true Parisienne was “only slightly less

difficult than to enter the kingdom of heaven”, but

that did not discourage provincials and foreigners from emulating the ideal.

The nineteenth century was a time when gender differentiation was at its extreme, and fashion

took on enormous significance in Parisian society. Fashion was a marker of status and women were the foils of their husband’s wealth, seen as decorative objects. Fashion reflected their inaccessi-

bility and objectification. Becoming a fashionable

Parisienne in the highest echelons of society

money. Social codes dictated multiple changes time and formality of the event. At a minimum, a fashionable Parisienne required: a morning

dressing gown, a riding outfit, a simple gown for

lunch, a day dress for walking, an afternoon dress for visiting by carriage, a gown for dinner, and an evening gown for the theatre or a society ball.

Attending the races, art salons and the theatre

were important events for presenting one’s most fashionable toilette in public.

Parisian journals, such as Le Moniteur de la Mode,

Revue a la Mode, and La Mode Illustrée, used the coloured fashion plate to illustrate the colours,

silhouettes and details of fashionable attire for their readers. Although photography had been

invented in 1837, it was not until the latter part of the century that photography could be used for

reproduction in journals. Fashion plates, the original form of fashion illustration, were the primary method of disseminating information about the latest fashions in the nineteenth century.

right: in this undated 19th century fashion plate from journal des demoiselle, two energetic young women are depicted on horseback, riding side-saddle. their riding habits are made of fine wool and richly trimmed


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perspectives | contour


The standard presentation depicted pretty young women shown as full-length figures wearing contemporary fashionable dress. Typically shown in groups of two or three, the figures did not

necessarily interact with each other, but were

The background of the fashion plate was sup-

and silhouette. For example, after the crinoline

clothes might be worn – such as the parlour or the

arranged to highlight the features of the dress

fell out of fashion in the 1870s and the emphasis turned to the fullness at the back of the dress,

fashion plate figures were typically posed to the side or the back.

posed to indicate appropriate settings where the enclosed garden – representing an extension of the domestic sphere. Typically the figures were engaged in a feminine activity such as sewing,

painting, having tea, or receiving guests. As the century progressed, women were increasingly

shown outside the sphere of the home, in settings that included shop interiors, at the seaside, or at the opera.

Fashion plates depicted an idealized form of

beauty to entice the viewer to acquire the latest fashionable attire. Richly coloured and full of

charm, these illustrations from the nineteenth century convey the romanticized world of la


copyright notice: all rights are reserved by the author

above: in this undated 19th century fashion plate from journal des demoiselle, two young women wear crinolined gowns luxuriously trimmed with flounces, lace and ribbons


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untold story of live runway sketching the

recording fashion week with a human touch words by danielle meder

Every season, I’d revise my field kit and send my

show requests with choice sketches from last sea-


n 2006, I decided every opportunity to attend a fashion show would be an opportunity to sketch

fashion from life. I’d pack tiny 4" x 6" slips of paper

or small sketchbooks. Sometimes I used pencils, sometimes I experimented with watercolour and

markers. These early sketches were mere scribbles, barely suggesting models, attitude and clothing.

Like many fashion design students, my early illustration style was tight and static, more concerned with

son. I’d save my meager earnings from my more

commercial work and spend it all on tickets to New York, Paris, Berlin or Milan. Fashion publicists were

surprisingly gracious with invitations, considering I rarely had a client for a style that was still rough. The

novelty of bringing a sketchbook to the shows was like a magic ticket. People were curious — seeing

an artist sketch at a fashion show was a rare sight. Over the course of many seasons, my drawings began to develop consistency and confidence.

rendering design details than expressing attitude

I lived in London for a couple of years, and while

to shake me out of that habit, forcing me to do the

respected fashion critic (and former fashion illus-

and flair. Sketching at fashion shows was an effort

exact opposite, to help me develop a more mature, sophisticated drawing style.

I was there I visited the Design Museum where trator) Colin McDowell had curated an exhibition

on fashion illustration. I asked him about artists at

fashion shows, as he must have seen some during

his many years on the beat. He told me that fashion illustrators drawing at shows was more myth than

reality. My own limited experience being otherwise,

I disagreed. But it did occur to me that if an expert

on fashion illustration knew nothing about this it was an unwritten history — and in fact, there wasn’t even really a name for it.

perspectives | contour


Deciding to call it “live runway sketching”, I started

Early fashion shows were small affairs intended for

mention of artists at fashion shows. Whenever I saw

restricted for both photography and illustration. Pho-

keeping my eyes and ears wide open for any rare another artist sketching street style outside the tents

or sitting in the audience at a show, I’d make a point of introducing myself and inquiring about their work. In the library I’d sift through books, noting anything tangential to this topic. I discovered two surprising

things about sketching at fashion shows. One, artists

have been sketching at fashion shows since fashion

wealthy clientele and elite media, and access was

tography, as a new medium, wasn’t considered to be classy. Sketching was aggressively discouraged

because it was used for piracy. In her book Fashion

Is Spinach, Elizabeth Hawes recalls her early career

in Paris in the 1920s, surreptitiously sketching at fashion shows so American department stores could knock off Parisian designs:

shows began — sometime in the early 20th century,

When I stole designs from the French dress-

found myself at the vanguard of a new movement

veloped between me and the mannequin. Her

and not for the reasons they do now. Two, I had

of live sketching artists. Every season — especially in

2013 — I noticed more and more people drawing at

the shows, and saw more and more runway sketches featured in online media. The idea of live sketching,

which seems anachronistic at first glance, is actually a 21st century phenomenon related to modern technology. More about that later.

makers, it was, originally, a game which I depart was to try and get the dress out of the

room before I could master the cut of it. My part was to digest its intricacies without missing a seam or a button. ... swiping [Chanel’s]

designs accurately was violent mental exercise. If you made any more moves with your pencil than enough to write the equivalent of a number, someone suddenly leaned over your

shoulder and grabbed your paper out of your hand. And these were the sketches the buyers wanted most.

~ Elizabeth Hawes, Fashion is Spinach


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By the 1960s, fashion shows had become publici-

Perhaps the purest practitioner of the art of live

members of the press. John Fairchild, the Editor

orator with designer Halston, Eula’s art captures

ty events, and illustrators were made welcome as

In Chief of Women’s Wear Daily wanted his paper to appear distinctive, and so WWD had an entire

illustration department. The most enduring member of this roster was Kenneth Paul Block. His drawings aren’t fanciful or abstract, they are reportage,

showing the clothing with both accuracy and flair. When printed on newsprint, ink drawings had superior clarity to black and white photography.

[Kenneth Paul] Block travelled regularly to

runway sketching is Joe Eula. A longtime collabthe fluid, modern attitudes of 1970s minimalism with the incredible immediacy that can only be executed live.

I was considered the fastest pencil in the field, a mannequin need only do her turn down the

catwalk at a fashion show, and voila — an illustration.

~ Joe Eula

Paris to report on the couture shows from the

early 1960s onwards. He never knew what kind of reception he

might receive, since

WWD was often feuding with designers. Sometimes he found

himself ‘off the list’

I started keeping my eyes and ears wide open for any rare mention of artists at fashion shows

and had to work ‘from

dictation’. At other times there was special

treatment and access. It is a tribute to Block’s skill that it is impossible to tell his real and imagined images apart.

~ David Downton, Masters of Fashion Illustration, pp. 15

below: nolcha fashion week fw13 by mara cespon

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Block’s successor in on-site reportage is Gladys Perint Palmer. She is able to recognize and caricature the fashion show attendees along with snippy

over-heards and humorous gossip. She documented the catwalk phenomenon

The nature of social media encourages the practice of illustration-as-performance

as it reached its apex in

the 1990s, when runways became theatrical and

Perint Palmer’s British contemporary Richard Gray

dia spectacle it has now become. Her 2003 book

live runway sketching allows. He discusses why

the scene was beginning to explode into the me-

Fashion People is the only exclusive collection of live runway sketching I’ve ever seen.

It is important to learn the phrase “La Premiere

has a more time-intensive, intricate style than

sketching at fashion shows was necessary for his

work in this interview with Richard Kilroy for Decoy


Rang Surélevé”, the first raised row, usually the

When I was first asked to draw at the Couture

Saint Laurent used to seat his mother in the

couple of seasons were in the early 90’s ... At

third or fourth, where the view is better. Yves first raised row.

When the rows are not raised, it is another matter. From the second row, you can find a sliver of a view. From the third row you see only the heads in the first row. The fourth row

is death. I have perfected the spot-and-sprint approach. Wait for the right moment, crouching, just before those with the standing tickets

are let in, then leap — vault, if you will — into the front row. Timing is everything. If you leap too soon, the rightful occupant of the seat

may turn up (generally Marie-José Susskind of L’Official who is always late) and you have lost both your new seat and your old seat.


Gladys Perint Palmer, Fashion People

shows it was a really interesting time. The first that time there was no Internet access, and no photography, so you had to quickly sketch

every outfit that came down the catwalk in

case the editor decided she wanted you to draw it, because there was no other way of getting reference.

~ Richard Gray

Perhaps the most famous and successful live runway sketcher working now is Richard Haines. He is

the master of capturing menswear — his experience

as a designer, and his interest in a specific, sophisticated-casual aesthetic has served him very well. It happens very quickly! It’s really difficult to

get details, so I focus on the shapes and the

silhouettes – the shoulder, the length of the jacket, the shape of the head/hair. It’s chal-

lenging but so much fun – like a quiz show

where you have to answer 20 questions in a minute!

~ Richard Haines right: jeremy laing ss14 by danielle meder


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I interviewed a number of emerging fashion illustra-

tors who have done live runway sketching. One with remarkably assured style is New York-based artist Mara Cespon. She generously shared some insights Another accomplished contemporary fashion illus-

into the development of her field kit:

trator is Bil Donovan. As a teacher of illustration with

I try to experiment every once in a while just to

confidence in front of an audience. It makes sense

ed and time limited situation. Lately, I’ve been

decades of experience, he is able to sketch with that his work is adaptable to the art of live runway

sketching, however he didn’t start practicing drawing at fashion shows until 2007. In September 2013,

he produced a live runway portfolio for New York

Magazine’s The Cut blog. I asked him whether he’s

noticed any trends in this niche of fashion illustration. It was practically unheard of years ago... but

using the refillable brushes just so I don’t have to worry about spilling. Watercolor inks are my favorite. The process, however, changes every

time because I’m constantly trying to figure out which approach is best with the given time I

have to look at the models when they’re on the runway or backstage.

with the influx of smart phones and Instagram

Mara’s friend and fellow fashion illustrator Lily

instantly... the idea of drawing live is unique

shows since she was a small child in Beijing. She

and the ability to take a shot and publish it

with a particular charm and allure... Hallelujah!

Donovan also described the unique experience of live sketching. can never be comfortable, it is an organic experience and that is fueled by adrenaline

and hopefully that unique energy and experience be communicated into the finished work.

It is all intuitive... from the minute I leave the house till the minute I return home... I am in the zone of documenting.


figure out what would do well in a really crowd-

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Qian told me she has been sketching at fashion

has noticed that her live runway sketching work has translated into a related niche — live event sketching. Now that photo booths are ubiquitous at fashionable

events, savvy publicists are looking for fast sketchers to capture their attendees in a more unique, artistic way.

right: ralph rucci by bil donovan | the art department

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Another New York based illustrator with impressive hustle who has capitalized on the trend for live event

sketchers is Claire Thompson. She prefers to sketch from the end of the runway:

Access can be difficult at times, because

Touchscreens are undoubtedly the future of illus-

way illustrator sketch a fashion show. I usually

their infancy and don’t yet offer the sensitivity and

many people don’t expect to have a live runsit in the [photography] pit if I can, or will stand

in the back so I have a better view of the runway. I’ve been turned away many times, and

other times I’ve been given front row seating and backstage access to shows. Once people

see what I am doing they are usually intrigued

and end up liking the idea of a fashion illustrator sketching at a show. I think it’s just a matter

of time before live runway illustration becomes more accepted — and encouraged at shows.

Canadian fashion illustration advocate Marcus

Kan co-ordinated a collaboration between Microsoft and a few emerging Canadian fashion illustrators

at Toronto Fashion Week in October 2013. He describes the challenge of adapting sketching tech-

niques to new media — in this case the Microsoft Surface tablet.

I worked with a few illustrators on a digital runway sketch project and they found using

touchscreen devices to sketch was very different. They told me that it was a bit difficult to control the pressure of the brush on a touchscreen, which some of them preferred to revert back the traditional mediums.


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tration, however drawing programs for them are in versatility of analog materials. They more than make

up for it in convenience, however. Drawings created on a touchscreen can be uploaded to the Internet

instantly, even while the show is still on, without having to be scanned or photographed and edited to be optimized for the screen. Considering that

almost all artwork is now viewed on a screen, it makes sense to make it on a screen.

Concurrent with the development of these programs is the development of stylus accessories for the

tablet. Not only because most human beings are unaccustomed to drawing with their fingers, but also

because it’s the only way to introduce pressure sensitivity. Since the tip of the stylus tool also has to be roughly the diameter of a fingerprint to register

on the touchscreen, it can obscure small details as

you are trying to draw them. However, if the program is responsive and the stylus is reliably connected, excellent quick sketches can be achieved.

In February 2013, I was

among a number of artists who sketched on the iPad

at New York Fashion Week in collaboration with Wom-

en’s Wear Daily. Using the drawing app called Paper

Twice a year I’m refining my kit, innovating new techniques, getting closer and closer to the ideal of the spontaneous, elegant line

by FiftyThree, I attended

several high-profile fashion shows including Alexan-

The models, the clothing, the music, the movement,

finished sketches literally as the house lights went

arm, and on to the page, and you abandon con-

der Wang and Oscar de la Renta, and uploaded the

up. Seeing my work printed in the same paper as my hero Kenneth Paul Block was a career highlight.

Live runway sketching can seem like an anachronism — the reaction of many unfamiliar with this micro-niche of fashion illustration is “why?” What is it

about this moment that makes drawing at a fashion

show an interesting endeavour? Technology is defi-

all courses through your eyes and ears, down your

scious thought and enter the creative state of “flow”.

You feel like a conduit for fashion, as if you are breathing it. Far from being a twice-yearly chore,

sketching turns each fashion season into an adventure. Twice a year I’m refining my kit, innovating new

techniques, getting closer and closer to the ideal of the spontaneous, elegant line.

nitely a factor — and not just because of new drawing tools. The nature of social media encourages the

practice of illustration-as-performance. Anything that

is broadcast “live” captures the modern imagination. Drawing a fashion show live is an electrifying feeling.

perspectives | contour


diversity in fashion illustration one size does not fit all words & illustration by colleen schindler-lynch

Some in the fashion industry have taken steps

toward a more diversified representation on its runways and in the pages of its’ magazines. At Ryerson University, a more diversified direction

has been implemented with plus and petite sized croquis developed for the students to use when designing garments. But when we look on the

printed page or at the use of representations of


n oxymoron don’t you think? When you

consider fashion, you probably envisioned

designs draped on tall slender caucasian women. When you think of fashion illustration, even more exaggerated images of stretched out, elongated, unbearably thin or impossibly proportioned

women, comes to mind. And why wouldn’t you?

The bulk of the images that you see in print and online help perpetuate that idea. Thankfully, a

growing awareness of the issue of diversity and

through the efforts of educational institutions, that very narrow scope of typical fashion imagery has begun to broaden.

fashion as a whole, apart from body diversity,

we don’t see much else. You have to sift, to find strong powerful, feminine images of women of

different ethnicities. Jade Pilgrom renders graphic collage based images of black women — strong, sophisticated and fashionable. Her illustrations are energetic, engaging and expressionistic — 

exactly what we would hope to see and aspire to be. In the 1980’s, NY based illustrator, Antonio’s illustrations included models of colour. And so we do see diversified illustrations dating back

decades. Beginning in the early 1990’s, fashion illustrator, Jason Brookes, frequently renders

Asian women in his sleek digital images — sexy, urban, and confident. Graham Rounthwaite is

best known for his ethnically diverse representations of English street fashion and culture. You’d be hard pressed to find fashionable images of

men and women beyond Black or Asian. But they are out there; we just need to demand that we

see more of them in the pages of the publications we follow.


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A very eye opening, interesting campaign

What you don’t see, are healthy fashionable

images have on the public is exhibited in the

Strauss “Original Wearers” campaign shot by Nick

designed to show the effect that these distorted Star Models, “You are not a sketch” campaign. It

was designed to draw awareness to the issue of anorexia. It presented a sketch of a figure, with the proportions of a typical fashion illustration

and compared it with a physical body. The results were strikingly disturbing. The affectations on the illustrations, when translated into photographs, left the models woefully emaciated and drew

our attention to these distasteful and distorted representations.

translations of people of different ages. The Levi Knight in 1996, featured Josephine Mann and

shows you can be fashionable at any age. These images are far and few between. Photographi-

cally you find them but not in fashion illustration. Fashion illustration has traditionally occupied

the realm representing current or future fashion. In this instance, I would have to say that some

ground has been gained with respect to the vari-

ous manifestations of diversity in fashion, but that there needs to be a more representative voice to the images and illustrations disseminated.

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now it 's your turn to try!


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add some diversity to your work, draw a plus sized fashion figure

draw the next fashionably outfitted human you see

take to the streets and do a live sketch of someone walking by

fashion captured in new ways

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draw upon the classics

created using pencil crayon, acrylic, watercolour, and ink illustrations by jessica herrndorf


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art prints

fashion will always reference other cultural feats and artistic endeavours since after all, fashion strives to be wearable art

sporty chic

opposite page: athletic inspired fashions have staying power. sportswear is effortless and allows women to jaunt around the city all day long emergence | contour 51


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power suits

sleek and crisp tailored suits are always a good choice. feeling strong and confident will never go out of style

evening embellishment

opposite page: as day turns into night, high shine and sparkle comes out to play. gems have longevity

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going global new places and exciting travel inspires the fashion crowd. creative sources add texture, colour, and life to a classic wardrobe

ladylike touches opposite page: whether you want to wear pleats, soft pastels, or tea length dresses, it is okay to show off your feminine side every once and 54 a while contour | emergence

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the art of ( not ) looking the beauty of blind contour illustration words & illustrations by jazmin welch


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grew up sitting, kneeling, or hunching over what was

In the core art courses that I took in grades 9 and

home. It was there that I would scribble away for

a method called blind contour drawing. This mode

called the ‘craft table’ in the kitchen of my parents

hours with whatever I could get my hands on. As a

child, I could draw for hours each day, more proud of each drawing than the last as I would rush over to my mom or dad to show them how great my new drawing was.

This unwavering confidence is what many children

grow up with. Every child does not just think they can draw, they know it! But somewhere along the line, as

children turn into young adults, this self-assurance

is lost and if what is created is not an accurate and

perfectly realistic depiction, they feel as though they cannot draw. As we grow older, we are conditioned to see the world in more practical terms.

Over the years my drawings had become quite rigid

and static. In various art classes I have been trying to reverse the effects of time, and bring back that

confidence to be able to become free once again. A helpful lesson I received in a summer course I took as a teen, was to not just look at the world

how you expect to see it, such as the white shell of

an egg, but really study exactly what is in front of

10, I learned yet another lesson, this time through of illustration has the power to bring out the child in all of us.

A pure blind contour illustration consists of nothing but one continuous line that is created without

looking at the paper, not even for a tiny glance, and without ever lifting your pen or pencil off the drawing surface even a millimeter. This is a fantastic exercise and I absolutely love it for its freedom, flowing expression, and abstraction.

The results are extraordinary! Faces are disfigured

with noses above eyes and mouths trailing off the edge of the paper. This abstraction that we would never allow ourselves to produce is drawn out of us

to create the most free and happy masterpieces.

They are full of energy and life. Every single drawing is different and unique. It forces us to not just look at the figure we are drawing but really see them,

and see the shapes that construct their faces and bodies, without worrying about being perfect. Blind contours are by nature imperfect, raw, and abstract, and will leave you saying, “I can draw!”

you, every minute detail until that egg becomes all

shades of the rainbow as flecks of light display tan-

gerines and limes, and the shadows become moody hues of purple and teal. This was still a realistic

impression but it was a more expressive impression that allows the world we

see to be heightened and

exposed to a much more colorful and exciting level.

This is not simply looking, this is seeing.

Blind contours are by nature imperfect, raw, and abstract, and will leave you saying, “I can draw!”

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Blind contours have allowed me to loosen up my drawing style and diverge away from rigid and tight

lines. Now when I am creating an interesting new fashion illustration I often like to start with a blind

contour of a live individual or a photo. Sometimes I

initial blind contour on a new page reducing some

my eyes and imagine a figure in my head. Then I

slightly more recognizable for a fashion audience. I

will even put my pencil on the paper and just close may draw it again but this time peeking a little bit at

my page just so that features are abstracted but not

so far off base that the eyes are on the other side of the page from the head. Or I will trace over my

of the abstractions just slightly so that features a find this tool helpful especially in the case of fashion

illustration, because although I see fashion illustration as an art form first, the secondary purpose is to express style and mood and usually a particular outfit. The abstraction of blind contours can provide

the mood and style while the retrace allows for a

slice of realism to ensure certain clothing items are being seen.

Once I have created or modified a blind contour

illustration, I like to add to my crazy abstract work. I

often add colour, and try to emphasize some of the kookiest and most abstract elements of the piece. It adds even more whimsy and fun to an already vibrant and always one-of-a-kind sketch.

So just try it. Don’t look down at your page. If you do, your mind will restrain your hands to ensure that

your drawing is aligned. Just let go. There is art in not looking. There is art in seeing.

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by step


the how-to guide to blind contour drawing words by jazmin welch


Chose a drawing tool, medium, and a surface to

draw on. To start, it will be easier to use pencil or pen on paper but this method can be done with

any medium including digital tools such as tablets.


Follow the lines of the subject with your eyes

and try to track your pen along in unison. Take

your time and draw slowly. Keep the pen on the surface for the duration of the drawing.



a clear view. You should be comfortable, with your

and take your time to think about the shape of

Decide on a subject to draw and be sure to have drawing hand in a good position.


Put your pen, pencil, or other drawing tool onto the drawing surface. Lock your eyes on your subject,

do not look down at your hand, and begin to draw.

If you reach a difficult point, just remain patient the subject and slowly continue moving your hand. Remember, these drawings are not meant to be perfect.


When you feel that you are done, lift your hand and look at your abstract masterpiece! Feel

free to add colour and additional details to your drawing to turn it into a piece you want to hang up on your walls.

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now it 's your turn to try!


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create a blind contour drawing of someone on the street

do a blind contour drawing of your face using a mirror

draw your idea of a classic outfit

q&a with up-and-coming illustrators

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joanna pranitchi what inspires you to create art? I believe that it comes from the hope to create

what is the greatest source of inspiration for your work?

something new or different and to bring into reality

I feel like many things inspire me (possibly too

something new or different but I never stop trying

tecture, fashion, as well as other artists, really

the ideas I have. I’m not saying that I ever achieve to reach that idea.

describe your ‘happy place’?

easily). Things like news and word events, archianything that I find evokes an emotion or reaction for me.

This is a little hard, I wouldn’t say I have one

what caused you to fall in love with fashion illustration?

friends and family and everyone’s happy or may-

I think it is because fashion is so recognizable in

I guess but those sound pretty good.

ately recognize the train of thought. This makes

happy place. Maybe it could be anywhere with

be a bookstore? I haven’t really thought about it

what is your favourite medium to work with? I really enjoy ink and pen or computer illustration mixed with collage. I find you can achieve a lot

through those mediums and create a lot of different looks and techniques.

our every day lives that the viewer can immediit easy to play on this idea and touch different notions I have about not only the industry, but

also about society and other aspects of life. On a lighter note, It probably also has something to do with my love of couture clothing and the creative expression you can get from that as well.

where is your favourite travel destination?

how would you describe your artistic style?

In terms of places I’ve been, I would have to say

I’m not sure. I think it really depends on my mood,

and fashion presence in both locations, it was

don’t have one yet?

New York or Venice, because of the strong art

amazing the impact that the lifestyle, even the

graffiti, had. If I could choose somewhere that I

would like to go, I would choose Japan because there is such a different living style that mixes

both eastern tradition and modernity that I have never experienced.


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I don’t think I could personally pinpoint it, maybe I

right: illustration by joanna pranitchi

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above: quote by coco chanel | right: quote by subcomandante marcos | illustrations by joanna pranitchi

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ketzia kobrah what inspires you to create art? Art is something that has always been in my life.

what is the greatest source of inspiration for your work?

I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid! I used

I am inspired by a lot of things. I’ve always liked

it open under my homework, my teachers were

trasts between historical themes and modern con-

to bring my sketchbook to every class and have never very happy with me but it’s the only reason

I’ve come as far as I have as an illustrator. When I started drawing as a kid it was to illustrate the stories I would come up with, I was never much of a writer, but I could at least draw my ideas. I think I’ve carried that desire to tell stories with

me into adulthood, and its what I try to bring to my illustrations.

describe your ‘happy place’? My happy place is being surrounded with loved

ones, watching a movie, drawing pictures, with a nice cup of tea.

what is your favourite medium to work with?

the idea of an anachronism. My art is full of contexts. Most of my favourite artists are illustrators from the 1850s-1920s. I use visual themes from these older works, the colors, or settings, and

merge them with modern aesthetics of tattoos

and body modification, or contemporary clothes.

what caused you to fall in love with fashion illustration? Fashion is something I hold very dear. I think

clothing is an amazing outlet for creativity and

personal expression. I think capturing the intricacies and beauty of fashion in an illustration is a great challenge, and its something I am determined to perfect.

Definitely between watercolors and digital paint-

how would you describe your artistic style?

that I love to work with. Watercolors are one of

something that just kind of forms after drawing

ing. I think each medium has its own character

I can’t say much about my style, I think that is

my favourites for the natural movement of the

for so long. But my voice as an artist is all about

medium. The unpredictability of the paint always gives the most beautiful energy to paintings,

and I’m a firm believer that the best parts of art always happen by accident. But I also love the exactness of digital painting. Working on the

computer lets you really create an exact repre-

sentation of your ideas, with infinite possibilities of colors and textures.


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building contrasts. I definitely have a very feminine point of view in my works, all pastels and flowers, but I try to push the limits of femininity. I want the women I draw to be warriors. Warriors who aren’t afraid to kick butt, and look good while doing it!

right: illustration by ketzia kobrah

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above & right: illustrations by ketzia kobrah


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spotlight | contour


laura gulshani what inspires you to create art? When I see a beautiful or striking image of anything,

what is the greatest source of inspiration for your work?

whether than be an outfit or a flower, I am inspired to

Tumblr is probably my greatest source of inspi-

painting or drawing.

there are producing; the level of creativity that

create my own interpretation of what I see through

describe your ‘happy place’? Behind the wheel of a car. I love to drive, so I will deliberately make up an excuse, such as ‘I need

to buy more paint’ or ‘We ran out of eggs’, in order to take the car out.

what is your favourite medium to work with? My favourite medium combo to work with as

of late is acrylic with pen. I used to be a big oil

paints girl, but I tired of waiting for the medium to

dry. Acrylic is great for creating thick textures and

ration for my work! It’s amazing what people out exists in the world and most of the time, unknown to the general population.

what caused you to fall in love with fashion illustration? I actually starting drawing Manga at a young

age — nerdy, I know — but I was always more inter-

ested in creating what my Manga character would wear. Then I discovered that my city was offering community fashion illustration classes and the rest is history.

a layered effect without the time concern.

how would you describe your artistic style?

where is your favourite travel destination?

I’m still trying to define that, but I’m an uncon-

My favourite travel destination is Paris. I don’t

think one could ever get bored in Paris, at least

if you love art, design and baguettes. I especially love the almost-hidden Montmartre neighborhood behind Sacré Cœur Basilica that has a

main square where artists sell colourfully painted

Parisian sceneries and if you turn the corner, you’ll find back alleys and shops selling even more paintings, drawings and photographs.


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scious lover of minimalism, so when I’m looking at a photo, my mind eliminates all unnecessary

details and sees only the central ideas, and most of the time, I think that’s what ends up on paper.

Unless I felt like drawing everything that day. Like I said, I’m still trying to define my style.

right: illustration by laura gulshani

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above & left: illustrations by laura gulshani

above & right: illustrations by laura gulshani


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spotlight | contour


now it 's your turn to try!


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draw something you have never drawn before

draw a fashion figure with your wrong hand

draw whatever you fancy on this page



Contour | The Fashion Illustration Journal  

This journal delves into current discussions within the field of fashion illustration, highlights brilliant illustrators, various methods, a...

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