In 2008, I went to New York Fashion Week, and I convinced a national newspaper to give me a full page for sketches and notes. With blithe overconfidence in my ability to deliver, I attended three fashion shows by Canadian designers, including Jeremy Laing. Pencil in hand I threw together a brief sketchbook diary, which I jazzed up in Photoshop a bit.
I remember opening the page when it ran, and my heart fell. Great, the entire nation gets to see this? I thought as I pushed the paper away from me. The images lacked punch and didn’t reproduce well on the newsprint – and somehow, the sketches from Laing’s show were cut from the final layout. At the time, it felt like I had messed up my big break.
The takeaway from that experience was that I needed a lot more… experience. I spent the next five years on my own dime, sketching away at fashion weeks, client-less. This time, when I came back to New York, I wanted to make sure I sketched Jeremy Laing right.
I did a few beauty sketches on the iPad using Paper backstage to warm up – one of them did get picked up by WWD, which felt like it went some way to making up for my earlier omission. Then I did something I’ve only done once before – something I love – which was place myself in the photographer’s pit for optimum front views. Behind me, an old school photographer shared his memories of working alongside Kenneth Paul Block with me… I felt like I was in the right place.
It was the last show of the week I used watercolour for, and the flow was really nice, I got several decent drawings done. The sketches turned out minimal and sincere – suited to Jeremy’s style, I think.
This is the last live sketching post from this season for me. This New York Fashion Week was a truly profound one for me on my trip as a fashion illustrator. Revisiting these final few drawings a few weeks later, I still feel I need a lot more experience to achieve what is possible in live runway sketching.