How exciting would it be to meet AND work with someone whose work has inspired you for years? I can tell you from personal experience – VERY EXCITING.
This past weekend, veteran fashion illustrator Bil Donovan came to Drexel University and blessed us with three days of lecturing and workshop teaching. The first night, he gave us an overview of his incredible career (Christian Dior and New York’s St. Regis hotel are just a few of his major clients), and for the next two days, he taught an intensive workshop — an illustration bootcamp, as he calls it.
I’ve admired Bil’s work for a long time. He works primarily in brush and ink, giving his illustrations a sense of movement and ephemeral glamour. My friend Jeanne was in awe of his technique. “Look how he controls the water,” she gushed. “The man literally CONTROLS THE ELEMENTS.” (That made me laugh).
Still, Bil’s style is quite different from mine. While he works in ink and brush, I work with graphite and markers. And while his illustrations employ selectivity — of color, of line, of everything — mine (at least for now) have a highly rendered style. Suffice it to say, I was worried if I’d be able to make the cut in one of Bil’s classes! Turns out there was no need to be – Bil is a super engaging, incredibly encouraging instructor, and encouraged me to continue working in and developing my own style. “I’m not worried about you, you got it,” he told me.
I might have squealed.
Anyway, here are a few snapshots of my work over the weekend:
Quick gestural drawings in brush and ink. I’ve always loved warming up with gesture drawings, and sometimes they turn into their own work of art. This one is going up on a wall in my apartment.
A new favorite exercise introduced by Bil – continous line drawings. (Don’t take your pencil off the paper. EVER!)
The weekend was not without some excitement. Particularly, the inkspill I had on day two. Yikes!
No worries, though. My friend pointed out that the spill looks like a shoe, so I’m going to turn it into an illustration of a stiletto bootie. :o)
The last sketch of the weekend. “Just go for it,” Bil told us. So this is me playing around with water, ink and composition.
I gotta say, I’m kinda in awe that I got the opportunity to learn under someone whose work is so inspiring to me. Many many many thanks to Bil for being a great teacher and cheerleader, and of course, shout-out to Drexel’s Fashion Design Department for making such an awesome weekend happen.
I have more snaphots and some video over on Instagram. Make sure you follow me there. I’m @veronicamarche.