Prada in Pencil

This is not a sad fishing post. I don’t say it’s a shit drawing just to get you lot to say “no, no it’s fab, your fab…“. It’s really about being honest and saying that not every drawing turns out how I want it. For every successful drawing there are dozens of fails or not quite rights. In this age of everything being ‘Insta-perfect’ I think that message sometimes get lost.

It’s February already and this is my first post for 2020!. It has been a hell of a start to the year in my part of Australia with fires, hail storms, and unbearably hot temperatures. As a result I haven’t been able to spend much time drawing but have, through much procrastinating on the lounge, discovered Domestika.

Domestika is “the largest creative community in Spanish”. They offer tonnes of online courses from some amazing Spanish speaking artists. The production qualities, the range of topics, and the knowledge of the artists are all excellent. The only down side is that the tuition is given in Spanish. There are English subtitles but these can be kinda hit and miss. Some have been quite good and some have been pretty atrocious. Every now and then you are treated to a cracker of a translation. A personal favourite “its always better when its bigger and harder”… indeed.

It was through Domestika that I discovered Spanish illustrator Carmen Garcia Huerta. You can find her work here. I love it when I come across an artist who uses colour pencils to produce really sophisticated and elegant artworks. I often feel that colour pencils are a rather basic, rudimentary, medium so when I see work like Carmen’s it suddenly reignites my passion for them. (And then my husband goes and DESTROYS* my ego by saying “nice colouring in”.😤)

What I noticed about Carmen’s work which reminded me of another of my favourite fashion illustrators, Hanna Muller, is the use of strong, clean, outlines. In my efforts to do very realistic drawings I tend to avoid any form of harsh outline but both Hanna and Carmen have a way of using them to make their works really pop.

The balance of softness with and structurual lines that appears in Carmen’s work reminded me of Prada’s Fall 2015 runway collection. The colour pallete was predominantly pastels but there was also something very strong and sharp about it.

“Sweet…but violent. I wanted impact. How can you be strong with pastels?” – Miuccia Prada

I was super pleased with how everything started out but unfortunately the end result was a bit disappointing. It doesn’t quite ‘pop’ as much as I’d hoped. It bores me! Oh well 🤷‍♀️ better luck next time!

I should add that this was completed with both Prismacolor Premier and Faber-Castell Polychromo colour pencils on Strathmore 400 Series Colored Pencil paper.

*the emphasis on DESTROY may be a little harsh. I’m not THAT sensitive and, while this is a true quote from the man himself, I know he doesn’t mean to be THAT INSENSATIVE. But I did kinda just wanted to make him feel a little bit guilty.

The Last Two: Paris Fashion Week Illustration

This is the last of my fashion week blog posts. After a strong start I am feeling quite over it and won’t bore you with any details. This is a straight up picture post featuring two colour pencil illustrations both from Paris Fashion week. Enjoy!

"Stella McCartney" - Spring 2020 fashion illustration

First off, the lovely Alina Bolotina again. This time its for Stella McCartney.

Unfortunately I don’t know the name of this model but it is from the Ralph and Russo Paris show.

I hope you enjoyed my colour pencil exploration of Spring 2020 fashion week. You can check out the all the other illustrations via the links below.

New York fashion week – looks from “R13” and “Jonathan Simkhai” 

London fashion week – looks from “Pushbutton” and “Margaret Howell”

Milan fashion week – “Tod’s”

Milan fashion week – “Missoni”

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).


“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.