The role of fashion illustrations in the fashion world - Interview with Fashion Illustrator Sarah Hankinson
Sarah Hankinson is a talented fashion illustrator who creates elegant, striking and provocative illustrations with a harmonious combination of traditional and mixed media techniques. She defines her works as being a delicate balance of light and dark, thick and thin and play off broken lines and bold splashes of colour.
I have talked with Sarah about her style of drawing, the technique she use, tools she love, the role her illustration plays in fashion, and many more of her “secret weapons” which you’ll discover below.
Please meet the creative world of Sarah:
How do you describe your fashion illustration style?
I’d say my style is quite simplistic, usually focusing on one detail. It’s youthful and confident; some of the pieces are elegant and some of them are playfully.
Talk a little bit about the techniques you use when drawing your fashion illustrations?
I draw the artwork first in a grey lead then like to incorporate perhaps a watercolor or ink into the illustration. I then scan the work and play around with the levels, layers in Photoshop.
What tools do you use to draw your artwork?
I usually use a 2b or 4b pencil which is softer and darker. I actually don’t have a favorite particular brand of pencil! As colored pencils I use Prismacolor as they are also quite soft and easy to blend. I’ve had the same set of Koh I Noor Hardtmuth watercolours I’ve been using since high school!
What is your favorite tool and why?
My favorite tool is definitely pencil sharpener, I just get whatever I can find usually the cheapest. Now I’m using a Faber Castle. I cant stand using a blunt pencil and feel I get a much nicer quality of line if the pencil is super sharp.
What is the role that your fashion illustrations plays in the fashion world?
Sarah’s mural at Habbots Store
I create fashion illustrations for T-shirts and yardage prints for Fashion houses, but also my work is mainly used more in the advertising side of the labels. I often do illustrations to be on websites or look books. Recently I collaborated with Target to create illustrations for their Facebook and Twitter pages and also with Habbots Store to paint their walls. I also sell my prints on my Etsy Shop.
What are 3 books that inspired you to develop your style of illustrating fashion?
Kat MacLeod is one of my favorite illustrators and her work definitely inspired me a lot. A few years ago she illustrated “The cocktail” book each illustration linking to the ingredients or name of the cocktail. I love it, its so cute and clever. I also love her book named 3 Deep Design – Bird. I spend many days flicking through Illusive a guidebook featuring many beautiful illustrators.
What for you is one of the most important things as a fashion illustrator?
I adore being a fashion illustrator as much as I love fashion. I think, as a fashion illustrator it’s very important to be on top of current trends and know what is new, which for me this means a lot of time looking on blogs or other websites.
How hard is being a freelance fashion illustrator? Do you have monthly projects to work for or do you also have a job?
I am quite busy at the moment and usually have steady work. I also work 1 day per week at a fashion boutique however which provides a little stability and it’s a nice change of pace.
How do you promote your fashion illustrations?
I promote my work primarily online. It’s very important for me to get creations out there. I’m now at a stage where thankfully clients come to me but when I was at the beginning it was very important to constantly do marketing to sell my artwork.
Name 3 of your favorites objects that inspire you.
Fashion photography, books, magazines and blogs.
Why did you choose this area of fashion illustration? Why is it so important for your soul?
I live fashion and illustration. So, I’m lucky and happy doing what I love and working for myself. I couldn’t imagine it any other way now.
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