Milan Fashion Week Illustration – Part 1

The arrival of fashion week usually sees me spending (wasting) hours scrolling through various websites checking out the runway shows for drawing inspiration. Each season I seem to happen upon a model whose face I find particularly captivating for one reason or another. This year I found myself saving pictures of this same girl over and over. Eventually I discovered her name; Alina Bolotina. Isn’t that a name that just rolls of your tongue?! Alina. Bolotina. Alina. Bolotina. Alina. Bolotina. She has an interesting, kinda unusual, face; a bit doll like; a bit duck-face/lips (in a nice way). Disappointingly, Alina Bolotina is Russian, not Italian as I had imagined her to be with that name like that and this being a post about Milan fashion week, featuring an Italian fashion brand. Oh well, you can’t have it all… on to the fashion.

Tod’s is a luxury Italian brand established in the early 1900s. Shoes and leather goods are their thing. Allegedly they are also famous for their iconic Gommino driving shoes. Yes, you read right, a “driving shoe”. In writing this blog, I stumbled across an article which pondered the compelling question; “Are Tod’s driving shoes worth the money?”. I didn’t even need to check out the price of a pair of Gomminos, to answer “no”. A driving shoe?WTF? Who wears a “driving shoe”? Now I appreciate that you cannot drive a car in six inch heels, but I never knew you needed a specific shoe to be able to drive a car. And at $690 a pair … it is a resounding “no” from me to the Gommino driving shoe. Oh, and in case you were wondering what the real answer was, the ol’ Gommino’s don’t stand up so well to general walking around town so, if you do decide to get a pair, best to keep them just for driving your Maserati to the supermarket and then change in to your UGGs or your thongs for the actual shopping process.

Wow, this blog post went way off on a weird tangent there! Sorry! Lets get back to the actual drawing.

I chose Strathmore Toned Tan 118gsm paper for this drawing. I’ve used the Toned Grey before but this is my first time using the tan. I think I’m in love. This paper is so nice for portraits, it really makes the whites of the eyes pop. I only wish it was a little heavier weight, 118gms feels a little flimsy for my liking.

I used a fairly limited palette of Prismacolor Premier colour pencils and relied a lot on the tan of the paper to form the bulk of her skin tone.

Once I’d finished I was a bit disappointed and felt like the drawing looked a bit lacklustre and unfinished. I decided to add a bit of white background in the hope that it would lift it. White pencil on its own wasn’t giving me quite enough coverage and I couldn’t create the dense white that I wanted. I dove in to the cache of purchased-on-a-whim-and-never-used art materials under the spare bed and emerged with a Derwent Pastel pencil and a Pan Pastel in Titanium white. I’m not a huge fan of working with pastel pencils as I find they are difficult to sharpen with the lead often breaking and crumbling. The pan pastel, although not as easily manipulated into the little nooks and crannies, is much better at covering large areas.

So here it is the final illustration of Alina Bolotina for Tods at Milan Fashion week. I am trying to do two illustrations from each fashion week, so there is another Milan piece in the works. Stay tuned! (I will try not to ramble on about driving shoes next time).

Ciao!

“Tod’s – Spring 2020”

London Fashion Week – more colour pencil illustrations

"Pushbutton - Spring 2020" colour pencil fashion illustration by Alison Sargent
“Pushbutton – Spring 2020”

A few more fashion week illustrations, this time from London. This first one is from “Pushbutton”. Unfortunately I have no idea who the model is. This was completed on Arches 180gsm smooth paper using a fairly limited pink and yellow skin tone palette. I used all Prismacolour Premier pencils; Cream, Light Peach, Deco Pink, Rosy Beige, Blush Pink, Henna and Tuscan red for the darkest shadows.

“Margaret Howell – Spring 2020”

My second drawing is from the Margaret Howell show. I think this model is Nathan Westling who has quite an interesting backstory. For this piece I tried to use slightly less conventional colours for the skin. Rather than sticking to a palette of pinks and yellows I used; green (Caran d Ache Luminance – Green Ochre); yellow (Caran d Ache – Raw Sienna); orange (Prismacolour – Spanish Orange); light blue (Prismacolour – Blue Violet Lake) and purples (Caran d Ache – Violet Grey, Violet Brown and Light Aubergine).

This is not to say that I didn’t use any traditional ‘flesh’ colours at all but to be fair I think there is only one flesh (Faber Castell – Light Flesh) and one light pink (Prismacolour – Deco Pink) and a red (Prismacolour – Henna). Oh yeah and Caran d Ache – Anthraquinone Pink which is, on first glance, a fairly offensive pink but somehow seems to work perfectly anywhere you need pink in a portrait … go figure. If you decide to fork out the $4.70 EACH for a Caran d Ache Luminance pencil this is the one to get. (Do you think they’ll send me a free pencil for saying that? 😇)

Anyway on to Milan next week… not literally…. just fashion-weeky-wise.

New York Fashion week

It’s fashion week again and I have packed up my watercolours and brought out the colour pencils. My first piece is from the R13 collection. I couldn’t resist the combination of camouflage and leopard print. I love this drawing! I never say that but I am actually really pleased with how it turned out in the end. (Leaving part of it “unfinished” IS intentionally in case anyone was wondering 🙄)

‘R13 – Spring 2020 – Ready to Wear’

I was feeling pretty cocky after my first drawing turned out to be such a masterpiece, I thought Id try out some toned paper. Judging by the amount of toned paper I have in stock I must have had this thought numerous times before but have obviously never followed through! I have three unused pads of the stuff! For this one I chose the Toned Gray from Strathmore. For my first toned paper attempt I am pretty happy although looking at this now I may have got a little carried away with the white pencil highlights in the end.

‘Jonathan Simkhai – Spring 2020 – Ready to Wear’

And just to prove not everything goes to plan here is unfinished drawing number three from the Kate Spade collection. This one just didn’t work for me from the very start. I had so much trouble with her skin. I think I am just not well practiced in drawing dark skin tones. Admittedly it doesnt look totally horrible, I just personally don’t like it and have no appetite to finish it. I think I was trying to do too much and too many things in one drawing and now I feel a bit lost. Maybe I will go back to it one day!

More Mixed Media Portraits

I’ve been practicing my watercolour. I think I am slowly improving. I still find it a very challenging medium to use. The hardest part for me is to let go and allow the watercolours to really do what they want to do. The looser I can let myself be the better the end results.

These two portraits I did straight after one another. They are both of a Russian model called Sofia Steinberg and the reference photos appeared in the Zara online catalogue. She has a really interestesting quirky look about her that I like. I say interesting and quirky my husband says “pissed off and bitchy”. Regardless I am a bit obsessed with her now… not in a weird stalky way … although I have tagged her in everything I put on Instagram (which by the way she NEVER acknowledges.. maybe she is bitchy?)

Since I am still a pretty shitty water-colourist I always go back to my colour pencils to “refine” things a little (okay a lot). For both of these portraits I used colour pencil for the facial features and to refine a few edges. I quite like the end results. I think the colour pencil give it a bit more “pop” than I could achieve with watercolour paints alone.