Christabel from life


It seems like I always end up at Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School by myself, but now that I have been there a few times I am beginning to recognize the regulars and the MC Brett Despotovitch always says hi and makes me feel welcome. Since I have never been to art school this is the only “life drawing class” I have had the opportunity to attend regularly, and so I am happy to indulge in the subject at hand and let the social part of the process take its natural course.

I especially love the models. It may come as no surprise that I like to draw pretty girls. This weeks model was something else altogether – after meeting Christabel in full regalia at the Anti-Art Show I was so impressed to see his total commitment to dressing up, I knew I had to sketch at his (its?) session. Not a conventionally pretty girl, Christabel stretched the limits of my abilities. At first I found it difficult – the first outfit was an inflatable that bore no resemblance to a human body, and the second outfit was abundantly hairy and fringed. But once I let myself break free from drawing literally, I allowed my pencil to draw more expansively, and it became a lot more fun. My favourite outfit at the end was a pleasure to draw – high contrast black and white with a great silhouette, I busted out the soft pencil and really went for it.

I love life drawing!

tfbb 14

TFBB 14 thumbnail


featuring 1 dozen brunchers


Carolyn Rohaly – Toronto Fashion Incubator

Melissa Shum – Just Cuz I’m a Girl

Patricia Sheng – Luxual

Henna Singh – Canadian Beauty

Susie Love – Jewelry Designer

Anita Clarke – I want – I got

Rebecca Leung – Photographer

Danielle Meder – Final Fashion

Gloria Chik – Urbane Bloc

Chris Tsang – Mindzai

Vanja Vasic – Toronto Alternative Fashion Week

Sonja Andic – Fashion Hero



topics du jour


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC – Feb 2-8

(Henna and I are going – are you?)


Tradeshows in Las Vegas – February

(Patricia and Melissa are going)


L’Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto – March 17 – 22

(Looking forward to it!)


Theme parties.

Faking it is fun.


Christabel is fun and exciting!

(Draw him at Dr. Sketchy’s tomorrow!)


Setting the tone for success.

On dressing, blogging, designing, drawing and walking with confidence and intent.

fashion fortune hunters

CBC Newsworld’s new show Fortune Hunters is a quick and light take on entrepreneurship in Canada. Two of the recent shows caught my eye.

The second episode “The Web” features Ali and Alex de Bold of Chick Advisor. Ali has attended a couple TFBBs and even invited the local fashion bloggers to the Chick Advisor Shop Crawls. (Catch a glimpse of our fashion hero Sonja at 8:50!) Watching this show was an interesting peek at the life behind her site.

It seems like being a dot-com entrepreneur is vastly different from merely fashion blogging despite the content crossovers. The world of investors and advertising and affiliate programs is not part of my internet experience and therefore I do not understand it very well.

Since 2005 we have seen Julie from Almost Girl build and sell Coutorture and now she is living her dream to be an online fashion editor, and on her own terms. It seems like this path holds a lot of possibility for the passionate and determined. The expert panel expressed a lot of confidence in Ali and Alex and I wish them all the success they are striving for.

The third episode “Fast Fashion” has a few amusing moments and one really interesting segment.

The featured entrepreneurs are bringing a fast fashion diffusion of Escada to Toronto. “There really is no competition, especially here in Toronto, because ladies here don’t know how to dress.” (5:10)

Rita Silvan and Shawn Hewson quell my Project Runway Canada withdrawal with their improvised fashion punditry. (9:30)

The best segment is a profile of the founder of Le Chateau at the end of the episode. (16:48) Mr. Herschel Segal is successful, experienced and charming. I had the pleasure to meet him very briefly once. I found it interesting to watch him tell his own story.

Illustrating Fashion 1968

For the past five or so years as I have worked my way through the fashion section at my university library, I have only given a cursory glance to the old illustration texts with their dull schoolish covers, but this week I took a second longer look, and could not take my eyes away.

Besides being a wonderfully practical text Illustrating Fashion gives a better sense of how to understand the elements of a good fashion illustration, and makes a point to explain confidence, practice, gesture, and all of those intangible things that great fashion illustrators possess.

Illustrating Fashion by Eunice Moore Sloan 1968

Featuring many of the 20th century’s greatest working fashion illustrators. I especially enjoyed seeing a great variety of work from Rene Bouche, Antonio and Kenneth Paul Block among others.

Illustrating Fashion by Eunice Moore Sloan 1968

It has all the basic simplified human anatomy, gestures, working with a model, and many other useful guidance for practicing the craft.

In particular I am studying the sections on media; it discusses all the classics like ink and charcoal and mentions fancy new-fangled techniques with halftone paper.

Illustrating Fashion by Eunice Moore Sloan 1968

More and more as I am working on mastering the figure, I realize my next step is to develop an ability to create compositions and understand space, as well as master both action and interaction in one grouping as Antonio does here.

Exciting and inspiring!

a quiet click

It is time to catch up on what I found clickable lately.

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful cheers on my wee turn in NOW last week. To be called “a quiet force” by Andrew Sardone is a pleasant revelation. I shall endeavor to use my force for good. In addition to editing the style section for NOW Magazine, Andrew has joined the ranks of Toronto’s fashion bloggers with his new online offering Style Sticks and Stones. Because no matter the media, fashion people love to dish. If you love to get dished, this is a mandatory subscription.

I have been unable to fill my post-Project Runway Canada void. Project Catwalk, America’s Next Top Model, and the US version’s later seasons fail to satisfy. Project Runway Canada is simply the best of them all. Even PRC’s annoying reality-show conventions seem tolerable, even subtle, compared to the rest of the lot.

But wait… what has become of PRC’s contestants in the past heady month?  The drama continues…

Bernadette Morra updates us on the progress of Kendra Francis on January 18.

“A lot of the designers on the show thought that Biddell would win,” Francis reveals. That’s funny, I tell her, because the fashion editors I talk to are puzzled, even miffed, at the judges’ choice.

“I think they were looking for something different,” she says. “We could all whip up a dress. It was more of a mind game than a game of skill.”

Biddell’s cockiness worked in his favour, but he is going to need an attitude adjustment if he is going to make it long-term, we agree.

This is an excerpt from Rick McGinnis’ article “Biddell’s Runway Success” which ran in the Metro Daily on December 18. Found via PRC model alum Joelle of Mad Glam.

Now that he’s won a package of prizes that includes $100,000 to make a collection and a mentorship at Winners, Biddell insists he’s not going to live up to anyone’s expectations about what he should do next. “Now that I’ve done that, what do I have to drive me? Oh, all those people who think I’m not going to do anything with this win. Oh, I’m not going to do what you want me to do, that’s for sure. I’ll keep you posted about what I’m doing — throw it in your face and …”

With this, Biddell blows a juicy raspberry that’s more eloquent than any magnanimous statement.

Dress and Suit introduced me to Sarah Lazarovic, one of those wonderful people who possess an enthusiastic smile and abundant ideas. Besides being interim curator of the Portrait Gallery of Canada, she is also a prolific cartoonist and illustrator. Her weekly cartoon “Another Week” offers that earnest and wry Canadiana that I can not get enough of. She recently revamped her website and started a new portrait project, painting a hundred Canadians in as many days. I am always curious to discover what Sarah will be working on next.

More fashion illustration, of course. I can not get enough.

Henna from Canadian Beauty turned me on to Stila, who have adorable illustrations demonstrating their makeup.

Stina Persson does incredible, graphic fashion illustration in a variety of media, focusing almost wholly on faces, and Martin French does dramatic illustration that manages to be both detailed and full of energy. I discovered both of these fine illustrators thanks to a reader, Ibe in Nigeria.

Fashion blog karma to share with some of my lovely commenters! Inspiration and animation from the iron chic, orchids and sketches from angelyn, masquerades and interiors from all things bright and beautiful, and fashion student stories from sleepless nights of design and sunshine.

my first editorial

NOW Magazine 17-01-08

One of my resolutions for 2008 was to break into editorial fashion illustration, but I never expected to accomplish that goal within the first month! Andrew Sardone at NOW Magazine chose to feature bowties in this week’s Take 5 and had the idea to place the ties over some illustrated heads – and he asked me to draw it up.

As if seeing my illustrations printed and distributed all over the city was not thrilling enough, Andrew also included me in an online feature about fashion illustration in Toronto. Its a bit humbling to be mentioned in the same space as Marilyn Brooks and Virginia Johnson, accomplished veterans I admire so much.

Meder has been a quiet force on Toronto’s fashion scene since graduating from Ryerson in 2006. She initiated the monthly blogger brunch series that bonded the city’s dot com style writers. Many of her blogging buddies and other fashion pros now carry Moo business cards featuring her illustrated figures celebrating their personal style and wardrobe signatures. She also cooks up a pretty tasty cookie party.

“I called my graduate collection ‘Final Fashion – The Last Collection’, so I guess I was demonstrating some kind of ambivalence about being a fashion designer,” says Meder and to that end she’s decided to launch herself into the world of editorial illustration.

Andrew asked me a few questions over the email, and in case you are interested in learning a little more about me, you can read them below the fold.

Continue reading “my first editorial”

project blogway – Nadia the Grey

grey wool
grey wool

Today I bought this fabric for Project Blogway. I am making a jacket for Nadia the Crafting Adventurer, and she requested grey wool; something that would be suitable for the cooler months in Vancouver. It is a felted woolen cool grey, soft and fine feeling. It has a handsome soft sheen when it drapes. Once I got it home I had some cognitive dissonance over it. I worry that it might be too lightweight.

On the other hand, I think it will look soft and interesting as a jacket, and not heavy. It has a very subtle nap.
Still, I can’t take it back.

I also have some heavier, dark charcoal wool with a similar texture and finish left from the coat I sewed for Ray. I am thinking of combining both together; for instance the grey could be the facings. Hmmm. This design will probably creep a bit but luckily that is allowed on Project Blogway right?

always learning to draw – marker practice

Marker sketching is a classic method of quick rendering for fashion – many designers use markers to get their ideas across because it is quick, cleaner than paint, and versatile. I did a lot of marker work in school, but since then I have rarely delved back into it.

The recent acquisition of a light table has made marker work a lot easier. I am doing some practice for a presentation I am working on and happily discovered that many of my ancient markers still work. It is very quick and satisfying but I have to fight an instinct to overwork it.

My first few efforts surprised me, I never thought of myself as having a great talent with markers but it seems like it is coming more easily to me now than I remember it. I am just fooling around, drawing actresses for practice.

The ultimate reference for fashion marker work is Bina Abling’s Fashion Rendering with Color. It is a comprehensive guide covering everything from stroke direction to texture, tight rendering versus loose rendering, shading and highlight styles, and so much more. It really is one of few great books out there that is really useful for more experienced illustrators as well as novices.

Abling’s Fashion Sketchbook is the ultimate primer for fashion illustrators – there are several editions and they are all excellent. I did the exercises in the book on my own while I was in school (the book was not one of our official texts) and I experienced a lot of illustrative epiphanies while I did. It includes a lot of useful information that many similar books omit.

There are a lot of crappy how-to books out there about fashion illustrating. The weird thing is when I was just starting I could not tell the good books from the bad. I acquired a few bad habits from bad books, luckily I did not stop practicing and developing and I was able to shake (most) of them.

Part of the job of being a fashion illustrator is the process of continually learning to draw, which is a very satisfying process for me. I feel like there is a lifetime of development within this narrow specialization, which is why it is so exciting to have the opportunity to make this my career.

Dr Sketchy’s – Chantal de Bisous

Chantal de Bisous

I went to Dr. Sketchy’s solo again. (Last time it was for the one and only Lena Love.) This time the model was figure skater and burlesque girl Chantal de Bisous. Here is a few of my favourite sketches from the night.

Chantal de Bisous is a beautiful model with a gorgeous body, and really shapely legs. She showed a lot of variety and did a lot of physically challenging poses with impressive strength and poise. Especially unusual and fun were her figure skating leg positions, it is not often that a model will bend her knees on a standing pose.

Chantal de Bisous

When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a figure skater until I realized it was hard physical work. I really just like drawing pretty girls in interesting outfits.