Hello! Long time no blog! I thought I'd show you guys the process for the latest illustration I have completed. For those of you who follow me on instagram you may have come along for the journey of the Louis Vuitton pencil illustration that I completed last month. So hers’s The story.
In around February or March an article popped up from HYPEBEAST
about the latest drop from Louis Vuitton: a monogrammed leather colour pencil roll! Actually the most me thing I’ve ever seen. Shortly thereafter friends started sending me links to more articles about it saying: ‘look! Can you believe this exists!?’ and ‘You need this in your life!’ also ‘You have to get this!’. I was in total agreeance, so I decided that the earnings from my next private commission would go towards this very indulgent luxury collectors piece. It was decided. Luckily I work on the same street as Louis Vuitton in Perth and even more luckily I have friends who work there, so I popped in on my lunch break one day in May. I had to order the pencil roll in as it is a rare and limited edition piece and I also had to put down a 100% deposit. Eeeek! But a week later it arrived, and, as I was meeting up with friends after work that day it came to the pub with me and got passed around to a chorus of ooohss and ahhhhs. I’d made a great choice :)
Then I was faced with the decision of ever using the pencils. I was informed upon purchase that there were no refills (much like my beloved Anya Hindmarch diffuser
in the scent ‘Pencil Shavings’, what’s with all these pencil and pencil related products that don’t do refills!?). The only way I could conceive of making the most of these pencils was to create a big illustration of something Louis Vuitton related. I was completely obsessed with the last show they staged, and especially the last few looks from that collection. The cruise 2020 show was held at the TWA Flight Centre in New York, originally designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1962. Wonderful video of the show by the one one only fashion documentary maker Loïc Prigent here
. Being a long time follower of Corey Tenold’s beautiful backstage photography, a Vogue article
popped up showcasing his atmospheric shots from the show. I knew I had to draw one.
So to start the fashion illustration I used an A2 (42 x 59.5cm) piece of Archers watercolor paper (smooth, 300gsm, $115 for 15 sheets) and measured up the composition of the photo by eye (not recommended, use a ruler, really) in 2B lead pencil. Then using a witnessed C.J Hendry
technique, I taped photocopy paper around the rest of the page that I would not be colouring. I used Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape from Jackson’s Drawing Supplies
, it won’t tear the surface you’re working on AND the whole point of the exercise is to protect those covered outer edges from the excess that comes off the pencils and smudges from your drawing hand while colouring.
I started with the model's face because that's my favourite place to start and Clémentine Balcaen's is so beautiful. It was a nerve wracking thing to use that first pencil! I was also worried about the quality not being as good as my Prismacolors but they were incredible, DUH! So easy to blend, not a massive amount of pressure needed for a strong result and so rich in pigment. Also, I didn't need to keep constantly sharpening them which is always heartbreaking when they break while doing that and in this case literally would feel like shaving down money! Anyway I worked from the face out completing little bits of background from the left to the right. I'd have to say the black part of the top was easiest to draw and the hair was by far the most difficult! That end section in the middle where it's lightly fading into the background but getting thicker towards the roots?! Aghhhhhh! It's weird, I was listening to a great BOF podcast while drawing that part, with Tim Blanks interviewing menswear Craig Green, so I feel equally relaxed (from the great interview) but frustrated (from the hair battle!) while looking at that particular part of the drawing. I can generally look back at most artworks I’ve done and remember what I was listening to at that moment...but I can’t remember my husband’s phone number after 16 years.
So I figured out the whole piece took around 12hours of solid illustrating time. And I had the absolute best time. Having a bit of hindsight and perspective I feel like I’ve been avoiding painting for a while now. I think because my life has been feeling very much like limbo-land with my mum being sick, my retail job winding down due to the economy and a general sense of ‘time to grow up a bit’ I have been really reaching for something new to get that creative spark sparking. I think this is a fun path for now. I’m reluctant to say ‘it’s all pencils going forward!’ But I have visions of a series or an exhibition, anything to keep that good-drawing-feeling going. Stay tuned I guess!