Read the Interview Questions, below:
How did you become a Fashion Illustrator?
One of my earliest memories is of ‘drawing pretty pictures’ when I was a kid. I was always drawing pictures of people…then I discovered fashion & music as a teen, and my path was pretty much set. I took art classes in school, poured over back issues of fashion magazines in the local library & knew that I wanted to marry my love of drawing & fashion and decided to enroll in FIT for fashion illustration.
What does your work consist of exactly?
Most of my pieces consist of runway trends. I also do editorial scenes, accessories & lettering for various clients. I prefer to work on 14” x 17” , 90lb Stonehenge paper. I work strictly in acrylic & black ink.
What kind of commissions you get and by whom? What would they be looking for usually and for what purpose is the job commissioned?
I get commissions from magazines, websites, art directors, fashion designers & people looking for something lovely to hang on their walls. I tend to get hired for my illustrations because they are unique & fun- I’ve stayed true to myself working by hand, while many people have turned to computer art. My girls are pretty, fashionable & nice, combined with a bit of wit & cheekiness. They’re used for all sorts of advertising purposes & editorials.
What are you working on right now?
I usually like to work on a few projects at once. Right now I’m working with a young designer in LA, doing a few illustrations of pieces in her new collection to be used for advertising. I’m also working with some style blogs and revamping my website to sell original art & prints of my work. In between all of that, I like to keep my portfolio fresh, so I’ll do current runway sketches of designs that I love.
Do you use any specific techniques in your work?
I like to work acrylic like one would watercolor- really watery & layered. It creates a lot of movement & life that I prefer in my illustrations. I then go in with black ink to create line & shapes that bring the illustration together. I also like giving my girls a story line, so I’ll add some fun saying or song lyric in black ink to round out their personalities.
Would you say you had a particular style of your own? How would you describe it?
Yes, definitlely. My girls are beautiful & fashionable, but most importantly they are fun & have personalities of their own. I think that sets me apart from some other artists. My tag line is ‘Fun, Fabulous Fashion Illustrations’- I think that sums it up. Fashion is hard work, but I think it should feel light-hearted & effortless.
In your work and illustrations, from what are you influenced and inspired most?
I looooove the runway shows- the new looks, the models, the attitude, the freshness of it all. That’s my main inspiration, but I also find inspiration in everyday things- taking a walk around NYC- the textures in the urban landscape, the energy of the people, the music I’m listening to on my ipod. I’m a happy-go-lucky person & I think that shines in my illustrations.
Name a favourite Fashion Illustrator and/or Artist whose works you admire most. Why those in particular?
I think it’s a tie between Rene Gruau & Antonio Lopez, both for different reasons. Gruau was a master of line quality, shape & color. His girls are classy & gorgeous. Antonio was also a master of line quality, shape & color, but his 60s- 80s pop culture sensibilty really brought a different element to fashion illustration. I also grew up seeing his work in magazines, so that shaped my love of the field.
Which is your personal favourite work by you, and by another artist?
I can’t pick a favorite of mine, but I do have a few pieces that I’m in love with (you can find these on my website- www.jenniferlilya.com_) : “Dots of Fun”- I was very happy with the effect I got from the fabric & pattern of her dress; “Blossom”- For the brilliant bright colors & the shape of her lips; And most recently, “Fan Club”- I’m very happy with the few lines I use to achieve her hair, and I love the makeup on her.
I love “Red Sofa” by Rene Gruau. I love how she’s so sleek & laid back, and the red is just swallowing her up.
I’m not sure I can pick a favorite by Antonio, but there’s one illustration he did of Jerry Hall that’s just killer. It’s just a portrait of her with sort of a cactus as a hat. He captured her essence, her face, her background with just a few lines & a simple color scheme. Pure brilliance.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in Fashion Illustration as a job or even just as a hobby?
I think the most important thing is just to draw as much as you can- keep a sketchbook with you so you can draw when the mood strikes or you see something inspiring. The more you draw, the more you’ll develop your style & find the mediums you like to work in.
Do you consider yourself to be a fashionable person? Do you pay attention to style and trends when preparing outfits for yourself?
I consider myself fashionable- I looove dressing up to go out! I definitely pay attention to style & trends, but I'm not a slave to trends- I might pick a key piece (like some animal print this season) or an accessory or cool shoes to add some pizazz to an outfit. My basic wardrobe is black; black camisoles, black skirts, black jeans, that I either dress up or dress down. And I love cute little party dresses!
Also, do you think your own personal style this affects your work?
I think my style reflects in my work- easygoing, flirty & fun. and happy.