Computer Arts: Tell us more about Fashematic ...
Rebecca Abell: The project was a editorial piece for new online fashion publication – Never Underdressed (opens in new tab). I was commissioned to create three ‘fashematic’ illustration editorials as a feature for their launch.
Each illustrated fashematic equation provides a break down of inspiration behind international collections by Louise Gray, Fendi and Celine. The brief was pretty laid back, with plenty of creative freedom. I like these jobs. The simple instruction was to illustrate the following three sets equations in my style of practice: the Queen + Tesco Value = Louise Gray. Carebear + Punk Mohawk = Fendi. Laundry Bag + A Hug = Celine. The idea being, that adding the two ingredients, ultimately generates the look from the catwalk.
CA: How did you put the illustrations together?
RA: My creative process begins with collecting reference material for me to draw from – gathering lots of photographs from the fashions shows, researching designers and so on. I select a few images from my research to use to sketch compositions for my illustrations, which I'll finally develop to the finished piece. All of my work is primarily pencil based, which I scan and edit in Adobe Photoshop. I add colour digitally, using a combination of my own paint brush tools and ones I 've downloaded.
For this project, each illustration took on average two-three hours to draw – maybe a little longer for the more detailed figures – and then an hour or so in Photoshop. I found the Louise Gray catwalk look the most challenging, as this was full of detail and an absolute pain to colour in. The coat is really textured I found this most difficult to represent through my illustration.
CA: How did you get into illustration?
RA: I actually wanted to be an Eskimo when I grew up. But, I was also really good at drawing pretty pictures, so I stopped dreaming of living with Pingu in igloos and ended up at art college. After completing my art foundation, I landed at Birmingham City University with the ambition of becoming a children’s book illustrator. However, my direction changed and after lots of experimentation and exploration I began taking an interest in other areas of illustration.
Towards the end of my degree I focused mainly on fashion-orientated pieces and was majorly influenced by illustrators Esra Roise (opens in new tab) and Kelly Smith (opens in new tab). I took inspiration from their work, along with exploring various contexts where my illustration could be used and really refined my own style of practice. My ideas develop from everyday life. I love studying different traits in people as well as exploring different cultures. My final major project is where this took off: it focused on British traits and I illustrated a series of portrait illustrations based on British idioms and proverbs.
Check out more from Rebecca Abell on her website (opens in new tab).
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