Excited to have the first fashion illustrator on Opinion9!
I adore illustration, and fashion is one field where there is just so much opportunity to depict anything, in any way you like. I saw Cate’s style on Instagram, and her crisp and consistent drawing style really appealed to me. I love the glamour in her work- and I love the fact that it’s got a lot of heart. I’m aware that you don’t really see ‘glamour’ and ‘heart’ together much – but to me, that’s the best part of Cate’s fashion illustrations. They look beautiful and you can see that’s there’s a very thoughtful person behind them.
Read on to hear what she has to say!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
What sparked your interest in fashion illustration and just art in general? How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been drawing dresses way before I even knew that “fashion illustration” was an actual thing. When I was young, I remember posing my Barbies in different outfits and drawing them in my notebooks and sketchpads. I started drawing, designing and illustrating clothes for friends and acquaintances when I was a sophomore in university, but I’ve been doing this professionally for a little over three years now.
How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?
For me, art is everywhere – from the way the flowers on the roadside bloom to the colours of the neatly arranged shelves in my local grocery. I try to see the beauty in everything – nothing is mundane. I get a lot of motivation from art all around and I try to infuse it in my work.
What is your general process while creating an art piece?
First, inspiration has to strike. Even if I’m working on a project and on a due date, I have to be inspired. I have to be in a creative mindset.
Preparations (brushes, workplace, mixing paint) – I prepare my workplace basically, and that could mean anywhere, the bedroom floor, on the bed, on the dining table, in a coffee shop. But I have to make sure I have access to my supplies.
Rough sketch (pencil/paper) – Then I start a very rough sketch (mostly just lines and circles) which I then develop into a simple line art. I then lightly erase the pencil sketch and get ready to paint it.
Painting – a few brushstrokes usually do the trick. I try to not over-do it. I like the raw look of bold brushstrokes.
Drying – I let it set to dry. I usually tidy up my workspace while waiting.
Touchups – I look out for those tiny details I missed or might want to add.
Scanning and Upload – I scan it and upload it on my laptop, ready for upload or forwarding to the client and on my Instagram account.
What keeps you motivated to draw?
Beauty. Whenever I see beautiful pictures, clothes, shoes, flowers, landscapes and what not, I get really motivated and I try to channel that motivation to produce material and art.
How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?
It varies. It can be as quick as 5 minutes, or as long as two days if it’s a big project.
Just out of interest, what was your favourite piece of art you remember creating?
One of my favourite pieces is the painting I did of my grandmother.
What are some fashion trends you currently adore?
I know everyone’s wearing them, but I am currently in love with the Valentino Rockstud pumps/flats. I’m also a big fan of LBD’s – those never go out of style.
What would an ideal day be according to you?
An ideal day for me would be a sweater weather day with an Audrey Hepburn movie marathon playing in the background as I paint. Oh, and cookies. Freshly baked cookies have to be in that scenario somewhere. 🙂
Just for fun: what’s your outfit staple and flower and why?
Outfit: Skinny jeans and ballet flats – it’s so convenient it’s almost lazy. The combo can go from day to night. I can wear it while shopping for supplies, going to the mall and even on a late night coffee shop hangout session with my friends. Also, I adore heels, but I can’t walk in them so flats are my default shoe choice. 😀
Flower: Peonies – they’re just so delicate and pretty. Very feminine.
What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays? Old Hollywood. I love dramatic silhouettes and voluminous skirts. There’s something romantic and almost mysterious about it.
What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?
I use watercolours, gouache and acrylic. I use Winsor & Newton (Cotman) Watercolour. I’m also a fan of Sakura brushes, especially the teeny, tiny ones – those are great for painting on details. I also use Copic and Letraset Pro Markers for non-paint projects. Currently, I am on the lookout for a good eraser.
I love the colourful vibes and intricate pen work in your work! How did you create a consistent style for your fashion illustration?
It took me years to find a style I could call my own. I experimented with different techniques before I settled on the current one. If you look through my Instagram feed, you’ll see the “evolution” of my illustration style. I used to colour in everything (I still do, sometimes, when the project requires a fully coloured croquis), until I realized that I wanted my art to look easy and approachable but retain the class and glamour I’m trying to deliver through the clothes I’m illustrating. I wanted to have a more consistent look for my models and most especially, I wanted the garments to pop.
What do you think makes a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?
When I take a step back and I feel confident with my work, when I don’t feel like I have to change or add something else and when it feels complete. It’s all about the “feel” to me. It has to feel right.
Since you live in the Philippines, has the place inspired you and your art in any way?
Yes, absolutely. I love looking through Filipino history books and take inspiration from clothes crafted during the Spanish Colonial to Post-Spanish Era.
Thanks, Cate, for a glimpse into your lovely illustrated fashion work you do so well! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria
Find Cate’s work here on Instagram.