When stylist and writer Sabrina Bangladesh asked whether I wanted to take part in her collaboration project with Rokit I immediately said yes. Being both a fan of Sabrina's and a customer of Rokit I was super excited about the proposal. The brief was to illustrate a outfit styled by Sabrina with vintage garments from Rokit. Each illustrator taking part would have their own outfit and era to draw. Mine was a 1920's look; a oriental print drop waist flapper style dress styled with a fur sleeved coat which echos the coats of A/W 2009 Dolce and Gabbana. Both pieces captured the decadent feel of the roaring twenties so for inspiration I looked at 1920's illustration across the board, from Vogue covers to advertisements. I also looked at photographs of actresses as I really wanted my design to fit the feel of the time.
Harper's Bazaar Illustration by Georges Barbier 1912
Illustration by Charles Worth 1923
My usual style is to illustrate the model/figure as a stand alone, I rarely incorporate backgrounds but I want to move towards a more tableau style with my illustration so this was the perfect opportunity for my to play around with a background. Looking at the artwork I had the idea of having a reflective concept of the illustration as this would allow me to add art deco features but also bring in other figures.
|Two 1920's Flappers|
Looking at pictures of actresses such as Pola Negri and Louise Brooks I started to put the idea of using a masculine element to work against the styled outfit. I loved the image below of Pola smoking, and the romantic idea of using a long cigarette holder but I also liked the blunt hair cut of Louise again adding to the masculine.
|The Iconic Image - Louise Brooks 1928|
Through my research of the actresses, I stumbled upon Shanghai actress Ruan Lingyu. Her stunning pictures really brought the design of the illustration together as I thought using a asian model would suit the brief perfectly, as apart from Ruan Lingya herself I haven't seen any other asian actresses or models celebrated in the 1920's.
|Ruan Lingyu was certainly a beauty.|
I then focused on the art deco element of the design, looking at authentic artwork and posters as well as contemporary examples.
|Art Deco Design|
Once I had the design and had found the poses I wanted the models to have I began to sketch the design out. Here are the images of my progress.
|Sketching out the pose and main styled look.|
Once I was happy with the sketched design and thought it had all the elements I needed I then moved onto the second phase of the hand-drawn part and re-drew it carefully on watercolour paper. I used watercolour paper to give the skin and fabrics texture.
|Completing graphite drawing on watercolour paper.|
As you can see I went for a YSL feel for the models either side of the styled outfit. Clean lines, with dart and pressed seam details.
For the fur details I literally scribbled, making sure I didn't press too hard leaving room to add light and tone so that the folds in the fur could be highlighted. I added the flapper style hat to not only complete the outfit but to differ from the figures.
Once the image was drawn, tone added and structure complete I scanned the image in cleaned up the lines and played around with curves. I always cut the illustration out so no unsightly marks are left, making sure the canvas is clean. This was completed entirely in Photoshop.
Here alot of progress had been made. The lines were darkened with burn, skin smoothed out with a layer of shade on top and colour added. I wanted to keep my signature paint/watercolour detail so I used a dry paint brush to add the black and white to the figures. The smoke was added with a smoke brush in clone. The smoke is actual from a picture of a supernova, as I thought the purple would contrast well with the green tones. As you can see the dress was drawn digitally. This was easy as I had a few pictures of the angles of the dress and I just created a mock design with three layers. One for colour, one for pattern and one for texture. Once these layers were at the right opacity I flattened them and used burn to show the folds in the fabric. The first layer of the background is a high res image of old paper.
www.charlottehoyle.com © Charlotte Hoyle
So here is the final image. The canvas size is different to the orignal scan to make it A3 size. I added another layer of shade to the paper background and made the contrast higher so the figures pop. The art deco elements are added too. This took some time so all the measurements were right and the image balanced. Not used to background elements this was something I didn't foresee but no problem I soon worked out what layout worked best. I also added a slight light source in the middle of the background to give the image more of a pop but I think I should've made this stronger. Here is my revised poster.
|Revised Poster - Not sure which I prefer.|
Once complete I sent over the original poster design to Sabrina in tiff format so that the poster could be printed easier to A1 size. Here are the photos of the artwork in the window of the London Brick Lane Rokit Store.
|Rolling out the Poster|
|Detail of Face.|
|Window - Decal with my website and illustration|
Sabrina's project also involved the collaboration of fellow illustrators Emma Block and Danielle Meder.
|Sharing the window with Emma Block|
|Emma Block's Window|
www.emmablock.co.uk © Emma Block
www.daniellemeder.com © Danielle Meder
|Danielle Meder and Abigail Daker's window|
www.abigaildaker.com © Abi Daker
|Abi Daker's window|
So, the project was a success! I am so happy that I got to create something for a store that is so iconic to London and lovers of fashion, it is the essential place for all things vintage as well as showcasing up and coming designers. It wouldn't have happened without the vision and direction of Sabrina. Find out more about the creative genius that is Sabrina Bangladesh at her site www.thescienceofstyle.com. And if you now have a burning desire to get your vintage on, then your in luck as you can now buy wares from Rokit's website www.rokit.co.uk.
If your a tweeter then follow me at @CharlottesNotes, Sabrina @ThisIsTheBang, Emma @EmmaBlock and Danielle @FinalFashion. To email me click here.
Thanks for reading!