ILLUSTRATING FASHION WITH EUGENIE ZHAN
Katey Bulner | On 23, Oct 2016
Meet the young artist behind the pen and paper of Brisbane’s latest fashion illustrations. Capturing style and fashion one drawing at a time, The Creative Issue would like to introduce you to the wonderful and talented: Eugenie Zhan.
TCI: Tell us a little about yourself, and your passions for fashion and art.
Eugenie Zhan: I’ve always been fascinated with drawing ever since I was a little girl in primary school. I mostly like fashion illustration because of the detail that is involved in drawing little aspects of clothing, such as the fabrics, folds and shadows, or the intricate lace detailing. My spare time has now been consumed with illustrating time, and sometimes uni and work time also ends up being drawing time too… I just love it too much! Sometimes when I am freestyle drawing I surprise myself with what I come up with – in fact most of my drawings on Instagram are results from spontaneous spurts of immense creativity.
TCI: What are some of the challenges and achievements you’ve experienced in your field of work?
EZ: Live illustrating would have to be one of my biggest challenges to conquer. The designs probably cross my field of vision for 30 seconds, and in that space of time I have to draw the silhouette, the clothing design, and quickly add some colour before moving onto the next model. It’s fast pace and on the spot, but really fun because it forces you to illustrate only the important qualities, and the things that your eyes are first drawn to.
As for achievements, overcoming my fears and just putting myself out there is what has landed most of illustrating experiences. Back in high school, the Self Service UK fashion group (management for many different brands, like Finders Keepers) found me through my site and asked for illustrations of their latest collection to promote them. I was so excited, as that was my first ever official illustration for a proper enterprise. In a similar fashion (pun not intended) I approached a few local fashion magazine publications to practice and promote my work. Other companies I’ve illustrated for include Rummage Magazine, Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival and Undress Runways.
TCI: Through your drawings, what have you learnt about fashion and style?
EZ: I have learnt that every little thing makes a very big difference. Things such as adding shadows, creating different forms, shading the skin darker, or even changing the colours of a surrounding; can completely change a illustration. In regards to the fashion industry, I have learnt that anything can be fashion, and in such a evolving and fast-paced world, things are constantly coming back in and out of trends.
TCI: Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process when starting an illustration? How long does it take to complete a drawing?
EZ: I want to create designs that are unique and unexpected, so when I’m coming up with my original designs I take inspiration from my surroundings which include random bits and bobs like a blue USB, or a flower covered notebook, or even my perfume bottle! I always start with drawing the collarbone and neck, followed by the cheek bones, arms and finally the body down to the waist. I always sketch the outline of the design with a black ink pen, and then proceed to fill it in with colour. Usually I draw without a pre-planned idea and instead make it up as I go. A full complete head-to-toe drawing will take me 30 minutes.
TCI: What for you makes a successful fashion illustration?
EZ: When everything is well balanced – colour, pose of the silhouette, the position of the legs, the lighting and shading etc. But mainly I believe it’s when the illustration looks as though it’s telling a story with a designed movement. There needs to be more to a drawing then just a simple person with nice clothes.
TCI: What are your plans for the future?
EZ: So far it’s to improve my illustrating skills, gain more experience, promote myself and hopefully grow my influence in the fashion illustration industry. I then want to branch into fashion design and translate my drawings from pen and paper, to real-life garments on the runway.
TCI: Where can we see more of your work?
Images supplied: Eugenie Zhan