Nothing is easy. Just about anything worthwhile doing takes time and effort if you want to get it right. Even something as seemingly simple as a fashion illustration. If you feel like you can do something better if you only push yourself harder, then why not push yourself harder? In the end, we should be the ones who know ourselves best. We should learn when it is time to push ourselves harder and when it is time to take it easy. One thing that I’m certain of is that you can’t improve your skills unless you work on them.
Whatever that set of skills may be, the old ‘no pain, no gain’ applies. Not that you literally need to be in pain to get something right. In fact, this year I suffered a hand injury because I failed to inform myself about the danger of drawing too much without stop. Supposedly, some artists ruin their hands for good this way. It is because painting and drawing takes so much concentration that most people tend to override the feeling of pain. So, like just about everything else in life it is about finding a balance between working hard and knowing when to take a break. It is definitely possible to love something so much that at times you are not even aware of how hard you are working on it. Sometimes people improve their skills without being aware of it, just because they do something that comes naturally to them. That doesn’t mean they haven’t invested time and effort into it, it just means they loved what they were doing so much they didn’t notice they were actually ‘working’ on it.
Recently I mentioned (and probably not for the first time) that fashion illustration was something I always enjoyed doing. Since I was doing it for myself, I figured that it doesn’t really matter if my illustration don’t look professional. There was also this another thing and that was that I didn’t want them to look professional, I wanted them to feel like my own, I wanted to be able to see that I made them. I didn’t want to imitate the prevalent style of illustrating. I suppose that what I wanted (but haven’t figured it out yet) was to develop my own style of fashion illustration. I was doing it the wrong way, though. You cannot get better at something, without working on it. This time working on it meant not simply drawing more but getting back to basics, learning more about fashion illustration and trying to find a way to do them that I would feel comfortable with.
About a year or so ago, on Instagram, one fashion illustrator left me a comment saying she doesn’t understand how my illustrations get likes on Instagram because they are really bad. That comment made me think. Were my illustrations really bad enough to motivate someone to write a comment like that? I obviously didn’t consider myself an illustrator, least of all, a fashion illustrator but does that mean I shouldn’t post my illustrations? I thought about it for a while and decided that if I was to use the hashtag fashion illustration, then I better put a bit more time and effort into my own fashion illustration. If you’re posting something out there, either as a hobby or a job, you’re going to invite criticism. Does that mean you should always make an effort? I think it depends on a situation, but in this situation, the right answer was a big yes. I needed to make an effort. If I was going to use the hashtag fashion illustration without looking silly, in other words- I had to earn it. You can’t break the rules, if you don’t know the rules. So, today I’m grateful for that comment because it is probably one of the things that drove me to work more on my illustrating skills.
Besides that negative comment that turned out to be a good motivator, I did also get a lot of rather encouraging feedback from artists, much more than I expected to. Sharing one’s art can be nerve-wracking, but all things considering, I don’t regret anything. Naturally I’m also grateful for all the positive comments and feedback from you guys. In reality, that might be one of the main reasons why I kept posting my art. The opinion of my readers is important to me. If you say you want to see more fashion illustrations then that is probably what you’re going to get. I do, occasionally, miss doing outfit posts but you when it comes to blogging you can’t have anything. Sometimes you have to let go of something you love, to make space for something that, at that moment at least, feels more important. Blogging is often about choosing, about editing, about deciding what to keep and what to let go of. If you choose to focus on one thing, it will probably mean that you have to push other things in the background or in some cases totally ignore them. Sometimes those other things will be something you enjoy just as much, but you have to make a choice. There is so much self- questioning involved in blogging. Questioning ourselves. Questioning our choices, our content, the things we choose to focus on, write and post about.
This article is turning out longer that I had planned but when it that not the case? It turns out I talked about everything related to fashion illustration, apart from the two fashion illustrations that I’m actually posting today. One of them is a casual outfit, while the other is obviously a more dressed up one (a gown). You can take them as a suggestion for a New Year Eve day and night outfit. Some people believe that red brings good luck, you know? I love it regardless of whether I believe it, but sometimes it is not that terrible to allow ourselves to be a bit superstitious. Anything that can motivate us can’t be that bad, right? Anyhow, the first painting shows a casual outfit, jazzed up with a lovely red fur jacket. I think it is a very cute choice for everyday wear. If you have something like that in your closet, why not wear it on the first day of New Year? The second outfit is something that I think could be perfect for New Year Eve. Very glamorous, very eye-catching and feminine. What are you planning on doing this New Year Eve? Are you going to celebrate it? If yes, how do you plan to celebrate it?
The medium for both of them is watercolour on paper. I did sketch them with a pencil prior to applying watercolour and I think you can actually see that on the paintings themselves. Sometimes I delete the pencil, sometimes I don’t and sometimes I don’t even use it but go straight for watercolours. I’m not sure about the brand of the paper, but it is nothing fancy. Typically, I buy ordinary sketching notebooks and use them for my fashion illustrations and paintings. I might invest more in high quality paper in the future. I might also work more on my watercolour skills in 2018, I feel like I have much to learn. I’m also posting a few images where you can see some other paintings I’m working on at the moment. You might also notice that this time the format of these fashion illustrations is a bit larger, but it is not that I don’t use larger format as well. I enjoy working in all formats, it is just that your typical A4 format can be more easily stored. One more thing, I didn’t made this bouquet myself, a friend of mine made it for me. Isn’t it beautiful? I think it is even better looking than professionally arranged ones! I loved it so much that I dried it and kept it. Dry flowers can be beautiful as well. Well, you know how much I love flowers. I often use it to ‘dress up’ my fashion illustrations. That would be all for today, thank you for reading!