Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?  Not quite!  I managed to knock over two more Myer Fashions on the Field illustrations this week with just one more left to do.. phew!

First off, this week is the 2011 winner, Angela Menz.  Angela is a milliner and designer who created this winning outfit and headpiece for $400!!  And no my sweet but ignorant husband, she is not wearing a giant vagina on her head … it’s “fashun” darling… FASHUN!  Angela is also responsible for On Track Trend which you can also follow on Instagram if you like keeping up with all things racing fashion.

If you read last week’s post you will know I chickened out of doing a complete colour pencil portrait and ended up with a bit of half and half (graphite and colour mix).  This time I went for it and did my first ever colour pencil portrait.  I am actually pretty happy with how it turned out!


version 2

Second up is 2010 winner Jaydee Menegon who won wearing an $18 dress …bargain!


Photo Credit 1/2

Emily Hunter – Fashion on the Field Winner 2015

final version 4.jpgwrok in progress

I finally feel like I am getting close to the finish line with these Myer Fashions on the Field National winners. Six down, five to go!

This time it is the 2015 winner, Emily Hunter.  Hands down the best fascinator, millinery, head-piece, whatever you call it on ground ever!.  Okay maybe that is a big call but it is a very pretty head piece.

I went for a slightly different style with this drawing, pulling back on the detail in her face to focus my attention on the headwear.  I had initially thought to complete the whole drawing in colour pencil but I chickened out!  I don’t yet feel confident enough with my colour pencil skills to do a complete portrait.  Anyway I quite like the finished mix of the graphite and colour pencil!




Photo Credit: 1/2


Chloe Moo – Myer Fashions on the Field Winner 2013

Graphite, watercolour and digital colour fashion illustration of Chloe Moo winner of the 2013 Myer Fashions on the Field

Graphite, watercolour and digital colour fashion illustration of Chloe Moo winner of the 2013 Myer Fashions on the Field

This is one of my favourite looks of all the Myer Fashions on the Field National winners.  Chloe Moo’s dress was designed by her mother using fabric screen printed by Merrepen Arts at a community south of Darwin in the Northern Territory.  Nineteen year old Chloe matched the red, black and white dress with Valentino Shoes and a matching fascinator by Monsoon Millinery.

This piece was created using graphite pencils, watercolour and digital colouring.

Follow the links to see my illustrations of the 2017 and 2007 winners.



Photo Credit: 



New York fashion Week; colour pencil illustration

This is part 2 of my most recent colour pencil adventures.  You can read part 1 here.    To quickly recap the most important lessons / tips I learnt at last weekend’s colour pencil class;

  1. Use a sharp pencil held upright (i.e. perpendicular to the page) in small circular strokes.
  2. Smooth paper is essential to creating a smooth finish.
  3. Three methods of blending;
    1. layering colour pencils
    2. solvents
    3. colourless pencil blender
  4. Use a burnishing pencil to “polish’ the paper to create a shiny surface.
  5. Hold the tip of the pencil against the object you are drawing to achieve the best colour match for your base layers.
  6. Create shadows using a complementary colour and analogue colours for a smooth transition.

This week I put these tips to the test on my New York Fashion Week illustration.  I took at tonne of work-in-progress photos this time to document the process.  I am a little bit reluctant to share them as colour pencil is seriously best viewed at a bit of a distance.  It looks terribly grainy up close especially with unforgiving overhead lighting.

You can read all about the process of putting these tips in to action below or, just cut to the end for a look at the final image.

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Crikey, I’ve lost my mojo!

"Emmi" - Colour and graphite pencil drawing (detail)

I often use this blog to give a bit of the back story to each of my drawings; where my inspiration comes from and how the illustrations came to be.  I’d love to have a great back story to this piece but .. well… there actually isn’t one   I started this drawing late last year when I had four or five unfinished drawing “failures” hanging about.  Failures is probably too harsher word but illustrations that just hadn’t come together and consequently I’d lost any desire to finish them.  I felt like I had completely lost my mojo.

After taking a bit of a break I decided that the best way to rebuild my confidence was by drawing something that I am comfortable with and that I know I do quite well.  Take the easy road!  A graphite pencil portrait of a pretty girl!

I normally do my works on A3 (297 x 420mm) Arches paper but for this one I needed more space so I busted out the rarely used A2 (420 x 594mm) paper.  I find A2 a bit too large and awkward to manage.  And when you have an A3 scanner it can be a complete bitch to scan A2 and match up the two halves seamlessly.

I started with the graphite pencil face and then the hands using my usual Tombow mono pencils.  Initially I wasn’t planning on doing anything other than the face and hands but since it was going along quite well and my confidence was up I decided to add some colour.  I have no idea why I chose to draw them in colour pencil I think it was just an intuitive thing at the time.   It didn’t even cross my mind that my last effort with colour pencil had been a little painful.


(Now I am going to crap on about colour pencil for a while, so you can just skip to the end to see the final image if this is all a bit boring.)

I started with an underdrawing using complementary colours; green pencil for the red flowers, red pencil for the green leaves and purple pencil for the yellow flowers and buds.  With my last colour pencil drawing I had difficulty getting sharp, crisp, edges.  Once again the colour pencil queen, Carrie L Lewis, has come to my rescue with her conveniently titled “How to Draw Crisp Edges with Colored Pencils”.  Read her blog for a more comprehensive explanation but in short; mark the outline before you start shading and ‘draw a light outline with every colour you use on that area’.  Why didn’t I think of that!

I used my Prismacolor Premier pencils to outline the red flowers in Kelp Green and then shaded in the darker/shadow areas in the same green.  I outlined again in Crimson Red being careful to travel as exactly as possible along the initial green line.  I repeated the Crimson Red outline with each layer of colour I applied.  You’d think this would be a pretty straight forward and simple process but truthfully I got better at it the more I did and my last flowers look a hell of a lot better than the first couple.  It takes a bit of a steady hand to trace accurately over the line below each time.  The more accurately you can do it the more crisp the edge will be.  Again I added more shadow in Crimson Red and Scarlet Lake for the centre.

To be honest, I really only used three colours on the flowers.  I’m seriously starting to believe that the LESS colours you use the better.  Creating ‘red’ with only three colours (one of which is not even red!) is more effective that using six different colours.  Maybe that’s just me!  Maybe a more experienced artist uses a lot of different colours I don’t know! (Maybe the colour pencil companies are a scamming us with their box sets of 72 different colour pencils and in reality you only need 2 reds, 2 blues, 2 greens, 2 yellows, 2 browns and black and white?… conspiracy?)


Flower-no2-v4.jpg(The top photo is one of the first flowers I did and the bottom photo the last one.  I think I got better!)

For the leaves and the yellow petals I followed the same process of tracing over the outline carefully with each colour I used.  It really did help me get a crisper, sharper, outline.  As with the red petals I continued to use a fairly limited palette starting with a complementary colour.


In my last colour pencil piece I liked the stage where some white paper was still showing through.   I prefer this over pushing it to the limit with as many layers as possible and removing all signs of the white paper.   This piece does lends itself well to that ‘style’ as I imagine it is a white blouse with the flowers and leaves embroidered on top so naturally there may be some white fabric peaking through.


Initially I had planned to add hair.  I struggle with hair a lot so I decided to leave it until the very end.  Now I kind of like her ‘hairless’.  I don’t know. What do you think?  Am I just being lazy!?



Beauty illustration – Perfecting the smokey eye

Graphite Pencil and digital art illustration of Matilda

Last week I completed my graphite illustration of Matilda.  You can read about it here.  This week it’s time to put my Photoshop skills to the test and see if I can perfect that old classic – the smokey eye.


It’s pretty rare for me personally to go to the trouble of putting ANY makeup on these days, let alone taking half an hour to master a smokey eye look.  Now days it’s no makeup or my Homer Simpson makeup gun is set to whore.  Seriously I am that clueless about makeup!


Fortunately, Emmi and the girls at Maya Organic Beauty Therapy know what they are doing and wrote me a step by step guide smokey eye tutorial.  With my guide in hand it was time to tackle Photoshop.

Into the Wormhole

Now I am only slightly more adept at Photoshop than I am at makeup application.  I have had Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom tablet and pen for about seven years but everything I’ve learnt has been through trial and error.  My skills are pretty basic but, to be honest, I have no desire to become a digital artist anyway.

I do occasionally watch a YouTube Photoshop tutorial but I either get bamboozled by the tech speak or, having the attention span of a gnat, tune out after about five minutes.  I have recently discovered Draw with Jazza who keeps it simple and to around 20 minutes per tutorial (I am yet to get past the 10 minute mark but that’s my issue not his! – New Years Resolution = learn to focus).

Photoshop is a wormhole.   I step in at 9am and then few moments later I am disturbed by a dull headache from being hunched over staring at a computer screen (without my glasses on), only to discover that it’s now 4pm!.  I sit back and look at what I’ve achieved and then….


….and here we are back where I started at 9am but for the addition of some blue eyes.


The ability to remove all trace of what you’ve done is kind of what’s good and bad about Photoshop.  It is brilliant that if you mess something up, it’s not quite right or for whatever reason you don’t like it… voila…  you can just hit delete and in seconds remove all trace that it was ever there.  You can’t really do that with traditional art works.  Yeah you can erase it or paint over it but you can only do this so many times.  At some point you have to call time, there has to be an end, a finish point.  The paper won’t take any more erasing or any more layering of pencil.  Any more paint and things will just turn muddy brown.  There is a point where it is as good as its going to get and you have to stop.   With Photoshop…


And so panned out my first three days of trying to ‘makeup ‘ Matilda.  I’d work all day long only to get to 4pm to discover that I didn’t like it any more and in a moment of frustration delete everything.

Finally I gave myself an ultimatum.  This was it.  Last day.  Wherever I get to today that is it.  Let go of my perfectionist tendencies and call it finished.

web-final.jpgStep by Step

When I was a child I always wanted to be a graphic artist (and a vet, and a pilot, and an architect, and… you get the picture) but my parents “encouraged” me to study sciences, go university and get a “real” job.  I ended up as a police officer?!?.  I am not quite sure that was what my parents had planned!

Anyway I digress… I wanted to be a graphic artist.  I love designing layouts.  I can’t explain it but something fascinates me about layouts. I am a layout nerd.  Hence I came up with several different, increasingly complex versions for my final step by step tutorial.  And when I say complex I mean complex, there were arrows, connecting lines, different fonts, close-ups, colours, shapes …

In the end the most simple version seemed to be the most effective.





Graphite Pencil and digital art illustration of MatildaI also have to say in retrospect, while it was not my intention, this has ended up a very similar layout to Kimberley McCone’s beauty illustration I mentioned in last week’s blog post.  I guess it must have stuck in my head.  So I herby gratefully and respectfully acknowledge the inspiration Kimberley’s works has given me and the amazing-ness of her talent!

This project was really just for my practice anyway and I have no intention of using it in any commercial sense.  (But hey if any makeup artists out there do want a collaboration, you know where to find me!)

Photo Credits 1/

My top 5 illustration of 2017

This is a bit of a self-indulgent blog post to celebrate the end of the year.  My best bits… according to… me!

I was aiming for a top ten but to be honest I could really only manage five drawings that I was sufficiently pleased with to call my top illustrations for the year.

So here they are in no particular order (okay “Stella” is my fav, but after that …)

Stella - gouache and graphite pencil illustration
“Stella” 2017
Alisha Nesvat for Mani - graphite and pencil illustration
“Alisha Nesvat for Mani” – 2017
fashion illustration of Lindsey Wixson in Chanel
“Lindsey Wixson for Chanel Fall/Winter 2013” – 2017
Fashion illustration - Eudon Choi Spring 2018
“Eudon Choi Sprint 2018” – 2017
Graphite and pencil illustration
Untitled – 2017



I am adding in one more illustration as a special mention.  This illustration of Alisha Nesvat in Rodarte Spring 2018 is a bit of a love/hate one for me.  I really like the concept, the composition, the negative space, the hands.  BUT …execution let me down with the flowers and the gold background.  If I had of got those elements right this would be my favourite illustration of the year.  Oh well I like to think either way I always learn something out of the process.

Fashion illustration Rodarte Sprint 2018
“Rodarte Spring 2018” – 2017


Merry Christmas everyone.  See you next year

Alison xxx

Myer Fashions on the Field National Winner 2017 – Crystal Kimber

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know I have been involved in racing fashion for the last two years as a judge at my local Fashions on the Field.  To be honest I don’t know an awful lot about “racing fashion” but I know what I like and it is always great fun to be part of these events.

There are so many fabulous artists attending racing events here in Australia and live sketching the fashions.  This is such an incredible skill and I’m a bit jealous truth be told.  I am dead hopeless trying to draw anything under pressure let alone in a few minutes or even half an hour.  I don’t think I’d be able to draw anything that looked even vaguely human in a few minutes!

So I’ve taken the luxury of time (its been over a month since the Melbourne Cup!) to sketch the national winner of the Myer Fashions the Field 2017: Crystal Kimber.  Crystal is a Fashions on the Field enthusiast and designer from Melbourne.  She also has a great website where you can follow her fashion adventures:  This particular outfit that won her the National title was originally her grandmother’s skirt which was refashioned into a stunning dress.

Collage_Fotor.jpgImage credit Getty images for the VRC

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Girl Crush – Time For a New Victoria Secret Angel?


Dear Victoria Secret,

First off I do love your knickers.   Lets just get that out of the way.  And your runway show is a spectacular of the highest order: the music acts, the glitter, the sequins, the feathers, the crazy wings, the hair extensions … all of it!

But lately, I must confess, I have been feeling a little … well… uncomfortable about it all.  Something’s off.  Somethings missing……

4Photo credit: Elle

Things are feeling dull, repetitive, same-same-but- …. well same. I’m bored! Despite the fascinating little controversies your show manages to toss-up every year (the Native American outfit in 2012 .. whoops, the angel-wing-bitch-slap in 2014, a model with an afro 😱 in 2015,  PETA protests in 2002, no show in 2004, Gisele eating a pizza 2015! ‘unretouched’ photos in 2016 (is un-re-touched even a word… not according to my spell check.  Aren’t they just original photos?… or aren’t they just photos? … ahh my head) and then there’s Gigi with the Buddha cookie racism thing).  Ahh, so many epic moments.  I know you are trying to keep the excitement alive but ….

slapPhoto credit: Elle

…it’s just not enough.  I need more.

I think it’s time you kicked things up a notch; moved forward in to the 21st Century with the rest of us.  Recognised that we, your customers, want something more, something we can relate to.

You really do seem capable of grasping this diversity thing (black models, asian models … maybe even ageing models – I mean Adriana Lima must be like one hundred ‘model’ years old by now!) but there’s a bit more to diversity than nationality, colour or being over 30 years old.

[dih-vur-si-tee, dahy-] 

1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness:

diversity of opinion.
2. variety; multiformity.

3. the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.:

diversity in the workplace.
4. a point of difference.

But one step at a time.  I’m not expecting to see transsexual, biracial, octogenarians  strutting their stuff down your runway any time soon (but I do live in hope).  Baby steps.

38FA328C00000578-0-image-a-51_1475300640616Photo Credit: Stefaniamodel

This is Stefanie Ferrario.  She is not a “plus sized” model (#droptheplus).  She is an Australian size 12, fit and smoking hot.  She has just the attributes your casting director John Pfeiffer looks for in his angels, “beautiful, strong, healthy and engaging”!  Plus she’s intelligent and articulate (which might also be good attributes to start adding to your casting list).

You know and I know that it’s only a matter of time before you spice things up and get with the times.  I know you can do it.  I’m not asking you to create a new range of   lingerie.  I get that takes time, money, and requires a whole other level of engineering.  I get that you can’t just turn an A cup bra design in to a G cup.  Yes bigger cups required different design techniques I get it. But last time I checked you sold up to an XL (Australian 16) in your stores yet we don’t see those ladies not the runway … just saying … seems kinda obvious.

In closing, I am sure it’s going to happen one day soon.  You are going to fully embrace this thing called reality (sorry diversity).  You’re not just going to embrace it, you’re going to smash it out of the park!  But in the meantime I thought I would give you a little inspiration to set you on your way.  Good luck xxx


But damn if she didn’t go and dye her hair pink!  OMG Victoria Secrets new PINK Spokesmodel ….