It's only a few weeks until the Final of Miss World where England will be represented by the fabulous Jessica Gagen. Throwback to September and the wonderful event I got to illustrate at Londons Taj Hotel. The Miss England and Fab Uk Top Model Finals.
Anyone who knows me from my younger years will confirm I was obsessed with beauty pageants and would draw imaginary ladies in a line up and watch Miss World on TV marvelling at the dresses and glamour. This, therefore was a bit of a childhood dream come true! The best bit was meeting and drawing the current reigning Miss England, Jessica. I met so many lovely contestants and guests including the current Miss Asiana who I also sketched in her gown and Ethical Queen winner Rebekah Watkins in her Boho themed attire. There was also a Bridal wear round with beautiful gowns by Puneet Bhandal. Miss Fab Uk sponsored by Fab Uk magazine was crowned on the night with the honour going to Paige Loren who automatically qualifies for the Miss England Grand Final.
Click here for a Event reel ! www.instagram.com/reel/CyLXq4xNVlP/?igsh=NTc4MTIwNjQ2YQ==
As part of the London Fashion Week schedule this September I had the opportunity to draw both backstage and front row for the Hector Maclean show "Orlando in Opulence" at St.Pauls Church in Covent Garden. I was with fellow artists from Drawing Cabaret Couture and we were treated to a fantastic show from Hector of a collection made entirely from deadstock materials, repurposed into couture garments.
Another fun aspect to the show was that while waiting for it to begin I live sketched a couple of the celebrity guests - Actress Roxanne McKee (Hollyoaks/Game of Thrones/Lip Service) and Gbemisola Ikumelo Bafta award winning actress and writer! (BlackOps/Famalam/Aloto) they both shared lovely words alongside the drawings on instagram and Roxanne actually asked for a photo with ME!
February saw the pencils out and the bag packed yet again for more Live drawing in the heart of the action at the Autumn/Winter collections at London Fashion Week.
This time I was not only thrilled to be invited back to the Fashion Scout premises in Shoreditch but also to get an exclusive invite with Drawing Cabaret Couture to sketch the new Hellavagirl collection and see the showcase of designers at the Fashions Finest venue by Hyde Park.
So much glorious material to work on over the next few weeks! Check out instagram for the sketches as they happened!
This month my work was selected to be exhibited in Miami at an event celebrating the work of jewellery designer Elsa Peretti and her work for Tiffany & co. The print on display in the Instituto Marangoni in Miami as part of Art Basel Miami will be auctioned for charity and then 24 prints will be available to purchase through Fida worldwide.
My portrait of model Mary Ballantyne dressed in Pam Hogg Couture from London Fashion Week has been short-listed by the judges in the 6th FIDA Awards. The Awards will take place in London at The Conde Nast College on Tues 22nd November. You can buy a ticket to the awards here.
**edit I didn't win - but Im still super proud of this portrait being selected.
In September I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Shoreditch to the live shows hosted by Fashion Scout for London Fashion Week. I was tasked with recording events both at the catwalk and backstage over 2 days. The designers featured were rising talents from Fashion Scout China and FJU talents, solo collections from JU-NNA, Kei Wong, Yonghao Xie and JE Cai; as well as British design icon Pam Hogg making a return to live shows.
The experience was amazing. Aside from the frantic drawing where you could only capture an "essence" of the look (I had learned this term from the legendary illustrator Bil Donovan a few hours earlier at the Gray MCA exhibition where he was doing a demonstration of fashion drawing) I did my best to lay down some colour and mark making, with a quick video of the collections as they finished.
Being there, absorbing the music; the ambience and observing the garments moving on the figure was something you can only get from a live show and it was inspiring. The models were also so beautiful, of all genders and ethnicities with amazing hair and make up. This brings me to backstage..
Wow... the speed with which the teams backstage work is like nothing I've ever witnessed. It was a hive of activity with hair by Balmain and Make up artists from AOFM conjuring up mesmerising looks to complement the creative visions of the designers. Photographers whizzed around snapping the activity, as we illustrators, sketched and painted our interpretations of events.
My tools for the two days were both traditional and digital. I had a sketchbook, drawing board and paper, watercolours and pencils, as well as my iPad and Apple Pencil. I used both to equal effect. The iPad was particularly useful for live drawing at the JE Cai installation, as I could go out to stand in the audience and soak up the atmosphere hearing the enthusiasm for the collection, while equipped with all the colours and tools Procreate offers through my Apple pencil!
Spectators at the shows were enthusiastic about what we were capturing, complementing us on our drawings as we worked on them between collections. The models and photographers backstage were also fascinated by us and several photographers asked to take pictures or film as we drew. I never got their details unfortunately, as I was mid flow drawing and you really couldn't stop if you were sketching someone get their hair or make up done; they would be gone within minutes and the next person in their seat - such was the pace of events.
I made one attempt at drawing the live catwalk show with the iPad with no real idea of what I was was doing, switching layers and colours on the fly in the hopes of getting as much down as I could. The result was actually quite successful ( Link to my instagram reel) when played back through the Timelapse function that records the drawing. The culmination was a bizarre abstract image but one which encompassed the energy and colours of the Yonghao Xie show quite well I thought. ( I can't however, un-see the giant screaming Pumpkin in the middle! see below)
Head over to my instagram for more reels from London Fashion Week and Timelapse drawings.
Throughout the months of September/October my artwork “Cherie” (Giclee print - signed) taken from www.drawingcabaretcouture.com/Jean Paul Gaultier inspired live drawing session will be in an online exhibition of fashion illustration and photography curated by Helen Spencer.
View the exhibition here. www.adventuresinapparel.com/current-exhibitions All works for sale
Running until August 11th is an exhibition of prints and paintings in the Eastgate Gallery in Harlow. It’s a window show as the gallery is currently closed but it’s my first solo show in 3 years and it’s all new work. Some pieces are prints on canvas of artworks created on the iPad, others are paintings created for Lomo restaurant in Hertford that I’ve had made into prints on canvas. There are also some original paintings in acrylic and mixed media and some embellished canvas prints which are prints with paint applied.
I think it’s important to keep exhibiting your work both online and in person when you can. There are plenty of open exhibitions out there to submit work to for exposure. Most galleries now show pieces in virtual exhibitions as well as physically. (Even more so in current COVID times.) And artists if you haven’t got your own Instagram page you need that too!
Two pieces of my work taken from a series of studies of Las Vegas Showgirls will be on display as part of the International Women's Day exhibition at Gatehouse Arts Eastgate Gallery in Harlow, Essex.
One piece is a large study in pastel on paper and the other is a small hand tinted print.
The exhibition which runs from March 4th-23rd is a collaborative exhibition between Gatehouse Studio Artists (such as myself) and the Brentwood Nomad art group.