All those who wander are not lost ..

Over the last few years, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I do .I will do my best to answer all of the questions .

In my experience and belief – we are ALL gifted with some creativity and we become experts at it by practicing the craft over and over again over a long period of time. Practice makes perfect . I don’t know if anything I ever do is perfect, I know that each time I practice, I get closer to perfection .

I came across this quote by Aamir Khan and it resonated with me . I am an optimist and believe that everyone can make a difference. I may not succeed but I want to try.

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Aamir Khan – In progress
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Aamir Khan – referenced from GQ India. Sketched with Dr.Ph Martins Ink

Here are some of the questions that have been asked :

  1. My educational background

I’ve described some of it here , in my about page .

As a young child, I drew a lot. I loved to paint, sculpt and more. I studied architecture all of my college life – undergrad in India and Masters in the U.S. I enrolled for college in architecture in Mumbai . I firmly believe a lot of my techniques for drawing and appetite for design were formed through my favorite subject – Basic Design in our first year. Over the course of college , we worked on sketching skills, creating perspective drawings of objects and buildings . What was interesting to me was, everything was created keeping the human scale in mind. Everything was relative to the human being using a facility . But I never did , once, draw human anatomy. We sketched a simple human figure, but never in great detail . It was an outline of the human anatomy.

i was always intimidated to draw the human anatomy . It felt more fine art and I always felt I had to achieve perfection – so I never tried . And so , a lot of my college friends are completely surprised by what I do now ūüėČ Because I never did draw what I felt like in college – I was always repressed and held back . I was surrounded by some immensely talented people and I was intimidated by what they could do . So , I just drew and sketched what was expected from¬† us and moved on to the next assignment. Although, I do remember, every time, I held a pencil to do a freehand sketch of a building at our trips to various places in India, I felt alive. Those were some of my best sketches . Ones, where I connected with my subject and didn’t care about who drew better than me or what my sketch compared to the person next to me – or what people would think of my work .

I remind myself of those experiences all the time – especially in this day and age of social media. Its so easy to compare one’s work with others and not perform to the best of one’s ability.

2. My journey into fashion illustration

I got back into painting , sketching slowly after I graduated from undergrad and then stopped again when I moved to the U.S for my Masters. I took up some painting briefly after I got my Masters in Architecture. I worked as an architect for many moons after that and life went on . Things change, and so did I .

Fast forward to 2015 , Instagram had taken over the world . My friend suggested I post my work on it . I did – it was mostly – patterns of flowers, leaves, geometrical shapes in watercolors and pen. This was January 2015 . About a month later, I came across some gorgeous illustrations – I didn’t know they were fashion illustrations. I didn’t know such a thing existed. I was following some wonderful illustrators – Megan Hess was one of them . I couldn’t help notice how beautiful the work was. I came across Shamekh Bluwi – an architect , now a fashion illustrator. And so on . I saw illustrations inspired by a single look- rendered in various artistic styles – some realistic, some quirky , some playful etc. It caught my attention . Soon , I wondered if I could try it . But then again, I hadn’t sketched human anatomy at all . I thought if I tried something , it might bolster my confidence to sketch . Months went by , I didn’t do anything concrete. But I had been always fascinated by the world of fashion – as an observer . I loved the red carpet gowns, I loved the various designer outfits on the celebrities. And art had always been in my life – one way or another. I just had no idea that a field existed where the two intersected.

The following September ’15 , I decided I would give fashion illustration a go . I decided to sketch the looks from New York Fashion Week – just that week to simply improve on my sketching skills. I thought , if I could get over my fear and nervousness of sketching a human anatomy , I could do just about anything. I figured , even if I messed up , who really cared ? I had about 250 followers on Instagram at that point . I didn’t think anyone would notice . My goal was only to have fun , learn something new and hopefully get better at what I loved to do . If you have the patience to scroll back on my Instagram feed , you can see the exact moment , I started illustrating fashion !

I sketched my ass off that week. I distinctly remember sketching 2-3 sketches per day during NYFW. Not only , was I pleasantly surprised at what I had produced , I got  a few likes on them, they were shared on various fashion illustration accounts. The sketches were decent for someone who had never sketched the likes of fashion illustration . Although ,now,  I do cringe at some of them !  I was especially blown away when Prabal Gurung liked my illustration of his design (see below). It bolstered my confidence that , what I created was good. I decided that I would not only sketch NYFW, I would sketch my favorite looks from Milan, London and Paris . So by the end of fashion  month , my Instagram following had doubled РI was at a 500 followers.

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Prabal Gurung SS16 at NYFW ’15. Sketched with Winsor And Newton Watercolors

This was completely unexpected and not something I had planned on. Shortly after Fashion Month , came the biggest surprise of all . I was included on Who What Wear’s list of Ultimate Fashion Illustrators on Instagram . I remember going through the article and wishing secretly that someday , I could be a part of such a list – only to find my name already included. I almost fell off my chair . Mind you, I had no clue what I was doing, at the time.

But, I was determined to figure it out . Have I figured it all out yet ? I’m not sure about that . It has been a steep learning curve. I have no background in fashion nor any formal training in illustration/ art . So , I have had to improvise and try new techniques and investigate somethings through trial and error . Some were a hit, some were a miss. But , I stay hungry and I stay foolish – the only way I will be able to learn and get better at what I do .I can assure you , noone’s journey in any field or life is the same. You’ll see that everyone has their own path that they explored before they are doing what they do.

I ended that year with so many people asking if I would do illustrations of them for Christmas gifts for their loved ones . Again, none of this , I had anticipated. But, I guess , if you take a calculated risk – it does pay off . Things picked up then on and I’m so happy that what I do , puts a smile on people’s faces, when it shows up on their Instagram feed. More importantly, I am happy doing what I do . I’m lost in what I do .

So in a nutshell , to those of you , who’ve asked me about how do I start ? Simply start . Practice . Practice . Try new techniques. Ask questions. Try new materials . Get over the fear of trying. Its just that – fear. Nothing more. It gets better . You will do better than you did yesterday . Don’t compare your work with others – it gets you nowhere .You only set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Figure out what works for you . What works for one person, may or may not work for you. Work towards being the best at what you do and to be the best version of yourself. Positive thoughts go a long way , don’t give up .

I guess , you could apply this little nugget to anything in this world – no matter if you are an illustrator or a lawyer or an architect ūüėČ

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

New York Fashion Week Diaries – FW17

Here’s a run down on my trip to New York Fashion Week . Finally got around to it. I spent 4 days in New York . It was everything I was hoping for and more. I love the energy it comes with and meeting friends , and meeting new people.

The first day of NYFW , we had a storm Рof course.

TADASHI SHOJI 

I was fortunate to get backstage access at Tadashi Shoji before the show. I love seeing everything put together before the show. The hair , make up , last minute touches and the energy is almost palpable. Here are a few sketches that I did backstage . These were quick and in less than 5 minutes of the hair and make up .

I used my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil this time at the shows. It was quite easy to navigate in the crowded spots and , not to mention, easy to move around with . I drew on Procreate app on the iPad.

Here is the link to the final walk on Instagram.

An illustration from one of my favorites from the show – my favorite part of post show ūüôā

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NOON BY NOOR 

I was supposed to head to Noon by Noor’s backstage. But I didn’t have the courage to exit the building into the storm to get backstage. Not happening -unless, I really had to . So I headed straight to the show after Tadashi Shoji within the same facility.

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I have a thing for capes ..

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HAKKAN AKAYA

This show was all black , all fierce and edgy . Loved the vibe.

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JILL STUART

JIll Stuart’s presentation¬†was filled with haunting beauties in one of the most gorgeous architectural spaces I have seen in New York – The Skylight at 195 , Broadway Street.

 

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FRANCESCA LIBERATORE

There was lace, metallics , bold graphics and typography , stripes and patterns along with the most gorgeous makeup and hairdo.

My favorite look from Francesca Liberatore illustrated below.

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I hope you liked the run down Рa mix of photographs and illustrations . These were the illustrations from some of the shows that  I attended. Sketches from my other favorites are already up on Instagram.

All the illustrations above have been sketched with iPad Pro using Apple Pencil in Procreate app. Its¬†easy to carry around and I can grab at inspiration when it strikes. I worked on some sketches in between shows, easy to carry , store away. I had to make sure to get my charger , portable charger along to charge my phone and iPad (sometimes). While I am all about my pens, markers, watercolors, paints and brushes, I wanted to try out the digital materials this time at NYFW. Downside – I had to be really careful not to drop the iPad or the Pencil – for obvious reasons ! I would’ve not been happy with my decision – but both contraptions made it through backstage trysts , coffee shops, lounges and lived to tell the tale of this trip. Hope you like them.

If there are any questions about the illustrations , or NYFW, feel free to write to me and I’ll do my best to answer them

Take care,

Lakshmi

NYFW Illustrations

 

Hello friends, its been a while !¬† I’m finally getting around to uploading the rest my illustrations¬†inspired by¬†New York Fashion week.

  1. Marissa Webb : I love how both these looks work in their own ways. Ms Webb has a flair for perfection.
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Marissa Webb

2. Rossie Assoulin : As you can see both these sketches – Marissa Webb and Rossie Assoulin – have swift strokes . For some reason, my hand moves quicker with certain looks . They inspire me to work quickly and deftly . Maybe it’s the movement in the fabric or the way it drapes around the model – I’ll never know why my hand moves the way it does ! These were Winsor and Newton watercolors and Sakura micron pens.

Rossie Assoulin’s style is very unique . I love the playfulness in the outfits along with the ways she conjures up new styles that gives it the stylish and chic look.

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Rossie Assoulin

3. Bibhu Mohpatra : The color of the fabric, the silouhette and the gold flecked eye shadows took my breath away.

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Bibhu Mohpatra

4. Ralph Lauren : That gold dress – that’s all I have to say¬† ! I used every gold tool I had. I think this may have been my first time experimenting with Gold leaf as well. It works well for shimmery looks .

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Ralph Lauren

5. Marchesa : They can do no wrong . Look at that dress – so beautiful that I illustrated both front and back .

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Marchesa

6. Caroline Herrera : Its a vision in purple as Karlie Kloss floats in this gorgeous creation.

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I hope you like them ! Comments, thoughts, please share.

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

NYFW16 – Herve Leger

Saturday was COLD, did I mention earlier ?

I had wore lovely Pierre Cardin blouse with a brown skirt with tiny orange flowers all over it. It was a summery look on the outside which contratsted with  very wintery (multiple!)layers on the inside. It was frigid weather with the wind blowing in every direction possible Рor as I like to call it РPenguin Weather.

I attended two shows on this day. The first one was Herve Leger – an arm of BCBGMaxAzria.

Herve Leger show was packed with grunge glam excitement. The dresses were a slight shift from their bandage style dresses that they are known for. The make up , the hair , the dresses and the boots (!) were all on point . My photographs were so bad , they are not worth posting. But I loved creating the illustrations. Don’t these ladies look like they are ready to take on the world ?

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Now if I could get the stylists to do my hair like them , that’ll be awesome. I love working on hair details, if you haven’t realized by now.

AND the boots .. can we agree that a dress with boots works for every occasion ?

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Cheers !

Lakshmi

 

NYFW FW16 – Recap – Tadashi Shoji

Hello my dear friends,

I have been absent for sometime. Here is where I can get wordy and write about what lights my fire. I have been gone for good reasons Рnot excuses ! Late in January ( like the 31st of January) , I decided that I was going to attend New York Fashion Week. I felt like I had to experience it all myself, in person. I wanted to work on runway sketching and sketch  live as much as I could. I wanted to meet the people I have befriended on Instagram.

Not knowing how to go about it, I still did. I had no idea if I was going to get passes to attend shows, considering I had never been to one. But, I decided the days I wanted to be there and the shows that I really REALLY wanted to attend .

Once I did that, I made my requests for shows. And I was blessed with passes for most of the ones that I asked for . I was at NYFW on the 12th and 13th of February .

As the days drew closer, so did the weather forecast – one of the coldest weekends that New York City was going to experience. So fun.

I felt my entire experience was a learning one. I figured out that this is the right place for me to be. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I met some of the friends that I wanted to meet. So much more fun meeting in real life . I met some kind strangers and befriended them . I realized I was one of the few women who moved between shows all myself ! Everyone had a girlfriend, associate, fellow blogger , colleague – you name it ! But when you are by yourself, your instinct to work your way to being noticed and meeting new people kicks in.

Both days were cold. Friday was not as bad as I thought it would be. I was wearing a bright orange dress by AND – Anita Dongre’s western line. I picked it up when I was visiting India in December. I made sure to dress in layers . And I was glad I did !

Do I have pictures of my looks from either day ? Of course not. Because that would mean, I’d be very organized about my own OOTD . I was , of course, obsessing over other people’s looks. Fashionistas who braved the cold and were dressed in short dresses and killer heels. Ladies, I don’t know how you do it.

The SHOWs :

Finally , lets talk about why I went to New York . I was to attend 3 shows on Friday and 3 shows on Saturday – a total of 6 shows. I was able to make it to 5 of them. Turns out 3 shows a day can be pretty busy. Lucky for me 4 of them were in the same spot and one was further away. On Friday, all three shows were in the same place . So I did not have to travel from one spot to another. I stayed pretty close to the venue during the breaks between shows and met up with blogger friends and Instagram friends , as and when I could.

The first show that I attended was Tadashi Shoji . I am a huge fan and I love his dresses for their feminine quality. Sublime and simply gorgeous.

According to the show notes, this was a ‘remix of body orientation’ and concluded with ‘ gather your tribe. The night is young.’ The mood for the show was very mysterious and I could not wait to see the collection.I wish I had better pictures to share from this show, but I was at the top row and my pictures just aren’t good enough to share, but I’ll share them anyway !

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Check out the tribal design for the backdrop of the show

The collection had sheer, geometric patterns, intricate designs that had a tribal feel . Colors Рblack,  dark purple to copper tones.

Even from where I was sitting I knew wanted to sketch the two looks below ! I guess, there’s something about the design or the fabric that captures my eye.

¬†Here’s the man himself !..a grainy image , I apologize .

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And finally … ūüôā Below are a few looks illustrated , my favorite part. I have to say, to see a collection in person, and experiencing it first hand with the music and the vision the designer has , impacted my sketches .

 

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I am  obsessed over the drenched hair, the chokers and dark, mysterious coppery eyes that the models sported.

I hope you like the illustrations from this show. I loved detailing the drenched hair, and of course the dresses. Its hard to pick favorites !

I’ll be back soon with the recap and illustrations of few of the other shows that I attended¬†and other looks from NYFW. They are already up on Instagram.

Cheers!

Lakshmi

 

December is here..

Hello lovelies,

I cannot believe the ¬†year is almost drawing to an end. Its the beginning of December. ¬†In our household, it means, I just got done with both my kids’ birthday parties. Majority of the birthdays in our family begin in October. My sisters, my husband, father- in-law, my niece , my son , my brother-in-law and my daughter. Lots of birthdays, phew !

December begins with my daughter’s birthday , there’s holiday parties, Christmas , my own birthday and of course the year ends – in that order .

There’s lots of illustrations to be done , in all of this, of course.

I’ve been busy with a few commissioned pieces, which I love. If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram, you’ll see the stuff I’ve been playing with.

It’s hard to pick , but here are some of my favorite pieces.

I came across this gorgeous dress designed by Suneet Varma, an Indian designer. The red just caught my eye . Give him some love. Really one to watch .

This particular piece was regrammed by the designer. yay.. to me its a recognition that the designer appreciates the way I interpret his vision in my own way. I also feel very connected to the designer and his/her vision.

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Suneet Varma

Who doesn’t like shoes and heels ? Pair them up with some frayed hem jeans as reported by The Zoe Project – you’ll be on point.

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Heels and frayed jeans = awesome 

 

I love illustrating movement , as is obvious in many of my sketches – be it fashion , street style , dance and sport . Its all about conveying that energy in an artistic way. I am inspired by the photographs taken by the nycdanceproject¬†. If you haven’t checked them out, you should. Here’s a sketch inspired by their picture from last Monday.

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Ballerina

More shoes. I love them .. which girl doesn’t , right ?

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Pantone delighted the world by announcing the Color of the Year for 2016 – not one , but two – Rose Quartz and Serenity ! Thank you , Pantone !

 

 

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This is me, literally , thanking Pantone !

This dress .. speechless !

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Marchesa Fashion’s SS16 couture from NYFW¬†

I also want to highlight the fashion happening in Australia . I am an Indian-born Australian living in the U.S. I tend to stay connected to all these parts of me through illustrating them . Keeps me inspired and hopefully , I bring to you content that is fresh and new.

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Erin Holland dressed in Danni Minogue for Target Australia and Jean Paul Gaultier. Pretty Stunning , huh ? 

Lastly , I want to leave you with this gorgeous ballerina – yes, again …

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Leanne Lovette for nycdanceproject 

This one just felt like she was floating – poetry in motion. One of those pictures that you feel just has to be illustrated !

I hope you have a lovely week ahead of you . I will be back again to share more with you . In the meantime, email me Рlsartillustration (at) gmail.com)  to say hi or follow me on Instagram to keep up and connect .

Cheers,

Laksh

NYFW , SS16

I had so much fun last week illustrating some of the many beautiful designs that were showcased at the New York Fashion Week featuring the spring collections for 2016. If you follow me on Instagram , you’ve probably already seen these.

If not, enjoy the sketches !

Monique Lhuillier
Monique Lhuilllier
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Prabal Gurung
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Prabal Gurung
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Reem Acra
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Angel Sanchez
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Christian Siriano
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Michael Kors
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Naeem Khan
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Anna Sui
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Naeem Khan