Class of 2016: BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration
As our LCFBA16 seasons draws to an end we meet Emily Brinkley and Jade Laurice, BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration students with unique styles and references. Read what inspired their final major projects below.
Give us one interesting fact about yourself…
Emily: I’m a collector of clutter- in particular I have a large collection of antique perfume bottles.
Jade: I have Pocahontas tattooed on my arm.
Talk us through your final project…
Emily: For my final major project I concentrated on developing a portfolio of work that demonstrates my skills as an illustrator and also references my interests in retro aesthetics and psychedelic influences. Building on Pop Art research and psychedelic art, both from the 1960s and from current artists and illustrators, as well as comic artists and vintage comics, my work seeks to channel these influences into a personal style of bright and fun fashion illustrations that personify my interests and inspirations. My somewhat romanticised vision of the past permeates my work – when applied within a modern, digital context, this creates illustrations which draw from the past but also look to the future of fashion illustration.
Jade: My project is an expansive personal project on the politics of hair and identity of African Caribbeans, and its significance within black culture. The final piece is my own fantasy wig campaign with posters and magazines in the style of 1950s afro culture inspired by African American magazines such as jet magazine, and my muse Dorothy Dandridge. My final project shows the celebration of black hair and feminism through a mix of media illustration, photography and poetry.
What do you love about what you do?
Emily: I love the solitude and intensity of drawing because I can get lost in my own world and in what I’m doing. 5 hours can pass when I’m in this state! The sense of achievement when an illustration that I am particularly pleased with is finished is always a great feeling too.
Jade: Other than having a personal connection with art after being brought up by artists, I love what I do because art to me is escapism and expression
What is the story behind your final piece of work?
Emily: I guess my work is very introspective in terms of it being fuelled by a personal motivation to develop and refine my style and technique. Fashion portraits, GIFs, comic characters and print designs encompass this final body of work driven by a sense of nostalgia and retrospective thinking, together with a quirky and feminine sensibility.
Jade: My project is motivated by my personal relationship with hair and the oppression I experienced and still experience socially as a dual heritage female. Because it is a personal piece – I wanted to present this is a modest way which exudes fun and vibrancy where people from other cultures will be able to appreciate.
What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
Emily: My work is very traditional, with minimal Photoshop editing. It combines cartoon-like vividness of bright felt tip pens with the refinement of tonal pencil drawing. I wanted to create an interesting duality of styles. What is seen on-screen is usually identical to what’s already in my sketchbook.
Jade: Still a beginner in photography, I’ve always enjoyed it so I set a challenge to use photography within my campaigns. Mix media has always been a style I’ve enjoyed, so I also included Lino prints, screen prints, hand drawn typography and digital photo enhancement
What’s the best thing about LCF?
Emily: The variety of guest speakers and guest tutors I’ve met over the last three years has given me a diverse insight into the industry. It’s so helpful to hear all kinds of feedback from your work; whether it’s feedback from illustrators, agencies, designers, or people working in totally unrelated areas of the creative industry.
Jade: Meeting people who are as creatively driven as you.
What’s the best thing about your course?
Emily: I love seeing the diverse illustration styles of everyone in my class- each student is unique. The course gives you the freedom to explore and challenge fashion illustration, and what it means to you through all sorts of mediums.
Jade: Being creatively independent within every project.
Have you won any prizes?
Jade: I won a prize to be featured in Volt magazine and also an outfit build and illustration competition for farfetch.com.
Have you been in the media?
Emily: I was recently featured on UK accessory brand Skinnydip London’s blog, where I illustrated some accessories for their ‘Young British Talent’ feature. I’ve also been featured by magazines such as Kit Magazine, Ballad Of… Magazine, and Twenty6 Magazine. My illustrations were published in the ‘Decades’ issue of The Alchemist Magazine.
Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?
Emily: The most inspiring visitor to LCF for me would have to be fashion illustrator Connie Lim, who teaches life drawing classes. I was already a fan and follower of her work on Instagram and it was great to learn from her as her drawing skills are so natural and effortless.
Describe your work in five words…
Emily: Quirky, bright, fun, pretty and retro.
Jade: Quirky, fantasy, bold, vivacious and eclectic.
Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?
Emily: I wouldn’t say I have one particular muse, but I’m always inspired by the fashion and style of young women in the 1960s. I guess you could say that my muse is that era. I’m obsessed with women like Edie Sedgwick, Pattie Boyd, Twiggy and the whole Biba aesthetic.
Jade: My muse is fundamentally powerful women. For example, in my final major project, it was Dorothy Dandridge, as she is not only beautiful but was an iconic women within the revolution of black culture.
What inspires you?
Emily: I’m a hoarder of clutter so my bedroom is an archive of inspiration – vintage books, comics, clothing, records, postcards and trinkets. I’m inspired by anything from the Edwardian era up to the 1970s, so the past definitely permeates my subconscious. I’d say my bedroom is like a museum!
Jade: Within each project I obtain new influences and everyday something new inspires me to draw. I’m quite an emotional character, this reflects within my colour palette and mark making, so something so simple can be projected in my style taking it to a different level. I adore the designer Ashish and artists Sara Jimenez and Laura Laine.
Where do you want to be in your career in five years’ time?
Emily: In the next five years I hope to gain experience working in the creative industry, but ultimately I would love to work full time as an established freelance illustrator.
Jade: I love fashion, art, collaborating with brands, and working on independent projects so my future could go in any direction. I just aim to be comfortable and still doing what I love!
How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve your plans?
Emily: BA Fashion Illustration at LCF is the only one of it’s kind in the country, I feel that already gives students an advantage and deeper insight into this very specific practice. LCF careers are also always proactive in advertising upcoming competitions and internships to help students like me who are still relatively unknown and inexperienced to gain exposure.
Jade: LCF is a university which people take seriously. I think people in the industry will respect my attendance at such a respected university.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to study your course?
Emily: I’d definitely say if you don’t already, get into the habit of drawing every day as it’s the only way you can really improve your skills and get to the place you want to be with your work! Also don’t be afraid to let your work evolve and change – my work is totally different to when I first started, and I have no doubt it will have changed in another three years. The most important thing is to keep your voice and narrative running through all of your work, let it be an extension of you!
Jade: You have to be motivated. No one will knock on your door so make yourself seen. Also stop Googling other illustrators and create your own unique style.
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