The interview series continue with fashion illustrator Leigh Viner the source behind Jkldesign concept. Leigh is an amazing illustrator whose work you have already seen two months ago on a post on Fashionarium.
In this interview she is telling us how fashion and photography has inspired her to get into fashion illustration and also changed her view to the outer world.
Enjoy and get inspired!
*How do you describe yourself, Leigh?
I am a freelance artist/photographer/makeup artist and expanding into Fashion Design.
I would consider myself to be a very dedicated person who is for the most part always interested in learning and creating something on a daily basis. I love to read and find pleasure in the simplicity of everyday activities. I have a love for photography, music and film along with fashion, and definitely take all of those into consideration while creating.
* How did you get into fashion illustration? Was there something specific? Are you new in this world?
I think the fact that I am greatly influenced by the fashion industry is what set me on that path. I started drawing as far back as I can remember using those lovely Conde’ Nast publications as inspiration even when I was around 6. I had two older sisters and my Mom that always brought them into the house, which I would sneak and tear out pages that I found interesting. My Grandmother also used to do some modeling, so along with all of that I felt it natural to find myself on the path of fashion inspired art.
* What about your style of drawing? How do you describe it?
I would consider my work to be a cross between line and realism. I try to mix with different styles so I would have a hard time putting it into any certain category. I definitely try to bring forth expression within each piece and also being a makeup artist I love to have that inspiration in most of my work as well.
* What inspires you and your work?
I am inspired daily by reading, music, down to a simple quote or poem but fashion and photography are my largest inspirations for sure.
* Can you talk a little bit about your sense of color?
As of late, I am enjoying saturated colors, soft shades, anything with a vintage feel.
* What for you makes a successful fashion illustration?
If I am completely satisfied with a piece, I feel that it is successful. I could never sell a piece to a customer that I do not feel personally that I have put my all in. I have definitely grown into my style though this past few years and with time and practice as in anything you get better with what you do. I also just think it depends on each individuals style, with art I really do not consider there to be a right or wrong.
* How do you advance ( promote ) your work?
I have been selling online since 2003, so I have built a nice customer base in that time. I have always stayed true to great customer service and I think that has helped my success along with continuing my passion and using the internet at a great tool to reach all corners of world.
* What is it about fashion that fascinates you most?
Fashion is ever evolving and returning in different forms. I love the mixture of high and low with a touch of classic that can be inspired into a modern way. The way it can effect a mood or boost confidence by just wearing something always draws me in.
* What is your process when working with clients? Can you run us through a typical day?
On a client to client basis, I work with them on a personal level to find out what they are looking for in a piece and from there we will narrow down what would work with my particular style of art. I never have a typical day so to speak, my most scheduled part of each day is with my daughter and working around her activities. I can definitely say I am never bored, I have fresh ideas each week and am consistently finding so much inspiration, just trying to find the time to get to all of them can be a challenge.
* Do you see a possibility that your illustrations start regularly appearing next to photo editorials in fashion magazines, or into other kind of support ? ( clothes, furnishing, walls, etc.)
I have actually been lucky to experience that earlier this year. I was featured on the cover of Dujour magazine’s art issue with more of my work featured inside the magazine as well. Also I had a group showing this June at Charles Nolan’s flagship store in NYC.
I have a few other great opportunities, but it is a bit early to share, but I hope it continues to grow as such as it is a wonderful accomplishment for an artist to be recognized. Most important my biggest accomplishment after all is the continued support of my customers and knowing that they are satisfied and bringing joy to them from my creations makes me feel that I am succeeding.
* What is your most important dream?
My most important goal is that I am raising my daughter well, showing by good example, that you can be a good person, bring kindness into this world and achieve what you want for yourself with perseverance, hard work and responsibility. It does not always come easy and you do have to work for dreams you want. Which a few of my dreams would be to travel more and spend summers in Europe with my daughter, creating my work from those locations with my canvas and camera. Move to another city like, New York, I just love the energy there. I am living my dream of doing what I love, I just hope that each year I can continue doing just that and find ways to add to it.
* What projects are you currently involved in?
I am currently involved in starting a fashion line with ready to wear pieces I hope to have available soon, and the expansion of t-shirts, cards and other ideas with a few business partners that are in the works. I am always thinking of ideas and trying them to see if they fit well with what I am already doing now.
* Who is your favorite artist/ what’s your favorite art work?
There are so many, but tried and true my top favorite inspirations come from Guy Bourdin, Guy Aroch with photography and with art the illustrations of David Downtown.
* What advice would you share with someone who is just entering the world of fashion illustration, and is trying to create a work of his own?
My best advice is to stay true to yourself, find your own style and take advantage of the world of tools that are available today, the internet for example you can reach such a large demographic easily. Don’t be afraid to ask someone in the same industry or from others that inspire for advice. Most important, never give up, never stop doing what you love.
All images are copyright Leigh Viner.