From celebrated fashion magazine covers to distinguished designer sketches, illustrations have always been a major part of fashion; and a personal favorite topic of mine. Hence, today we are discussing fashion illustrations with talented illustrator and writer Naomi Alessandra Schultz from Inkbramble
, an online illustrated magazine dedicated to fashion and culture.
Naomi introduced us to her favorite illustrators, shared her thoughts on the future of fashion illustration, discussed her work and revealed her future plans.
Fashion illustration blossomed during the previous century. Do you have a favorite era or a favorite illustrator?
I have always been passionate about the illustrations Leon Bakst did for the Ballet Russes at the turn of the 20th century – the illustrations seemed to move and flow like dancers do. There was a particular romance there that’s hard to describe.
On the other end of the spectrum, I had a definite Gibson Girls moment when I was a tween – I loved William Henry Gibson’s sporty, all-American girls. René Gruau’ graphic strength strongly influenced my line work.
Among more contemporary illustrators, I adore Jean Philippe Delhomme for his incredible originality and whimsy and David Downton is an absolute master. Ruben Toledo’s watercolor flow is amazing. But many of my favorites of all time, like Yoshitaka Amano and Arthur Rackham, are illustrators of other genres entirely (graphic novels/video games and fairy tales, respectively) – though certainly style definitely enters into each of those illustrators’ work despite the fact they are/were not strictly fashion illustrators.
Laird Borelli claimed that “[fashion illustration] has gone from being one of the sole means of fashion communication to having a very minor role.” However, judging from the amount of illustrations available on Pinterest and people’s keen interest in them, we seem to witness a powerful comeback. Why do you think that is?
Quite simply, illustration can express something – many things – that photography cannot. That is no slight to photography; I greatly admire the many incredible artists who work in that form. And yet, there is a glut of photography in the world, and whenever there is too much of anything, it can become tiresome. Illustration offers a new perspective, a view into a scene that can be less literal and therefore perhaps more impacted by the artist’s unique point of view. In my mind, there is plenty of room for both photography and illustration – and endless combinations of the two!
What do you think the future holds for fashion illustration?
As fashion films become ever more popular, I imagine we will see a similar trend in fashion illustration toward animated fashion films. I think (hope) that we will also continue to see more and more illustrated features in online and print mags. And I personally hope that my new project, Glamsketch, will open an important new niche in the industry by revolutionizing the way that fashion illustration is created and consumed – most notably, by making it easy for ordinary people to become fashion illustrations themselves, on demand.
Based on what criteria do you choose the designer collections you illustrate during fashion weeks?
I think I generally look for the same things that magazine fashion editors look for – drama, excitement, newness, volume, interesting silhouettes, surprising color. Though I love chic, minimalist designers like Phoebe Philo for Céline, The Row, Ann Demeulemeester, etc., for my illustrations I tend to gravitate toward the designers with more of a dramatic punch. I try to focus in on which collections are my personal favorites, and then decide which look best exemplifies the collection.
Whose Resort collection you can’t wait to illustrate in a few months?
I’ll be paying close attention to Peter Pilotto, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Altuzarra, Dior, Givenchy, Prada, Jonathan Saunders, Tsumori Chisato – among many many others.
You’ve recently launched Glamsketch. How is drawing portraits different from fashion design illustrations?
Glamsketch launched in January, so it’s still quite fresh. It’s an interesting process to illustrate portraits, because I do want the subject to feel that they can recognize themselves in the illustration – while at the same time, I want to keep that looseness that makes an illustration really sing. It’s a delightful process to learn how to keep that balance. In general, I want people to feel that they are receiving a fashion illustration of themselves, so it’s not too different.
You also welcome collaborations with other “artists, musicians, designers, performers, writers and fashionistas.” How do you see your magazine in five years from today?
I think Inkbramble will actually be folded into Glamsketch in the not-too-distant future, as its daily magazine. That will take place later this year. Glamsketch will also eventually expand to include other illustrators, so that clients can choose what kind of illustration style they want (as well as what kind of package they want). As far as collaboration goes, I simply adore illustrating people who are passionate about what they are doing artistically, and who are brave about their sartorial choices.
Most of your work is online, however, illustrations have always been associated with paper. Would you ever consider taking your magazine into print?
For now, it will remain an online magazine – but I am always delighted when my work shows up in print as the result of a client project. Though I am passionate about the printed page (I still read actual books with paper pages!), there’s no denying that online is the way to touch the most people with my work.