I’m so honoured to be one of the many talented illustrators published in “Great Big Book of Fashion Illustration” by Martin Dawber! An even bigger honour is to be in the same book as illustrators I admire such as Danielle Meder, Charline Chua, Shingo Shimizu, Marguerite Sauvage and many more.
The book is available at your local bookstore and online. Here are my pages in the book:
Martin also did an unpublished Q&A with me for the book in February 2010:
Do you prefer the term ILLUSTRATOR or ARTIST?
I don’t prefer one over the other although illustrator is more specific and accurate in describing what I do. To me, this is what each term means: an illustrator is a person who is hired to visually communicate someone else’s idea. An artist is a person who expresses pure emotions and messages of their own regard in a medium of their choice. Professionally, I would be an illustrator because that’s what I do for a living. Outside of work, I’m an artist when I’m sketching my ideas just for fun or as roughs for personal pieces.
Did you attend any kind of school for drawing?
Yes, I studied the Bachelor of Applied Arts: Illustration program at Sheridan Institute in Oakville, Canada (Just west of Toronto).
How did your education benefit your career?
It taught me the principles of drawing, the emotional connection of an image, and the power it has to convey an idea. It also taught us business skills essential to surviving as a freelance illustrator. The program was full of helpful teachers and a warm student community – felt like a second home.
Were you already interested in Fashion?
Oh yes. I always wanted a career related to fashion but also knew I wasn’t cut out for constructing clothing. Sewing, measuring, fitting, it just wasn’t for me. What I do love is drawing clothes and my own designs.
When it comes to your own work, what inspires you?
Mostly fashion, music, pin-up girls, food and nature.
Do you have any favourite fashion designers – any which specifically inspire your own illustrations?
I love love love Tarina Tarantino, Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.
Can you describe your typical ‘start to finish’ workflow? Talk a little bit about the process of creating an illustration.
Before I start, I usually already have an idea of what I want to create. Then I do some sketches to see which compositions work, flesh out a finalized, detailed sketch and scan it into the computer. Next I hop on the internet to gather reference images and for inspiration. For the actual creation of the image I tend to use Illustrator for vectorizing and getting the flat colours, and Photoshop to add textures and painted details.
Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do when you get blocked or find it hard to create something?
Of course I do. What I find gets me out of them is to dance, go for a walk, meet up with a friend, exercise – anything that gets me moving because it improves my mood and gets me into a creative mode.
What would be your perfect job or assignment?
Oh where to begin. I would love to have my illustrations appear on a billboard in a high-traffic world city (like Times Square in New York City), collaborate with a major fashion label in apparel / textile design, advertising campaign, and to be a regular illustrator for a major fashion magazine.
How do you market and promote your work?
Through a promotional hailstorm of emailing prospective clients, direct mail promos, meetings, participating in shows and conventions, networking with friends and co-workers.
Do you feel running websites and blogs helps your career?
It helps tremendously. It’s become the norm and is a great way to keep fans and clients updated with news, shows, and work progress. With social media like Facebook and Twitter, it can really help to establish a devoted following and that is so valuable to an artist.
What contributions do you feel an illustrator offers to society?
We make the world a more beautiful and fun place to live in. We can’t help but remind everyone through our work that hey, it’s ok to kick off your shoes and do a wild dance from time to time!
What advice would you offer someone who is just entering the world of illustration?
Know your strengths and perfect them, don’t be afraid of failure, setbacks and rejection (because typically there will be plenty), work hard but keep a balanced lifestyle, exercise, eat right, read and most importantly, don’t give up!