It is always worth checking out the books and video section at the thrift store because you never know what you will find. Earlier this week I was lucky to come across Fashion Illustration Today by Nicholas Drake, a book I had often checked out of the library as a student. Of course the Today in the title is really 1994, when it was revised for a second edition.
There are all sorts of goodies in here, including early work by Kareem Iliya and Jason Brooks which is heartening to see as a developing illustrator. While the DNA of their style and their burgeoning talent is very apparent in “Today”, over the next 15 years they both have developed a significantly higher level of confidence and flair. In the back, there are small bios of each artist, and for the living artists, there are even phone numbers and street addresses. As if I could just give Joe Eula or Gladys Perint Palmer a call, or drop by. “Today” seems so far away!
I took photos of a few selections of spreads including images that are really grabbing me at the moment. Click the images for big.
Henri Matchavariani – particularly the image at the right. What a fabulous flurry of speed and smudgy colour, lines so active they seem to race across the page.
Joe Eula – ultimate confidence and brevity – especially the image on the left. Apparently Eula used to take his painters palette to fashion shows, sketch furiously, and wire the images to New York before the photographers could develop their shots. This inspires me. I have a post-it note on my computer, some scribbled fragment of an idea “illustrator in the photographer’s pit”. I can imagine the rush of competitiveness. This is something I would love to try, though I’ll never be Joe Eula and paintbrushes can never move as fast as pixels.
Michael Cooper – especially the image on the left. The sense of spareness and speed matched by a certain intellectuality – using unexpected elements like actual shadows and deliberately un-fashiony proportions.