If you’re looking for eye candy look no further than the Big Book of Fashion Illustration by Martin Dawber. And when they say big book they mean it. We’re talking 384 pages of juicy pictures. It features a foreword by Karen Santry, Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Executive Vice President at Fashion Art Bank Inc. After that Martin Dawber has written a small introduction and the rest is just art. It’s divided into seven categories – Womenswear, Menswear, Youth Culture, Children, Sport, Accessories, and Beauty. Each of those is then divided further into subcategories.
Oh, if you’re a subscriber to the elongated nine-head-length stereotype, you’ll want to look away now. Fashion illustration has taken leaps and strides in the last 20 years. There is no set template that’s followed anymore. Not just in size but in technique. You’ll see not only drawn and painted pieces but several other methods as well. Naturally there’s digital work and photography. But there’s also collage work. In fact, UK-based illustration duo, Jacqui Paull and Carl Melegari, have this to say: “We like to fuse two elements together to achieve our goal. It is more innovative and exciting. We mix a combination of techniques - photography, hand-drawn elements, Xerox, flat graphics, - all collaged together using Photoshop to give a more individual approach.” (taken from the introduction)
I got the book because my drawing skills are seriously lacking. At this point, you’re wondering how this would help, right? Because I have a dozen drawing books and they all tell you the same thing. Draw this particular way, with this particular pencil, on this particular paper. And I get so sick of drawing realistically. I don’t want to draw perfect people. As I flip through this book I see that I can throw all that out the window. Yes, I *can* draw a perfect-looking nose but why? There’s no character, no soul. I’m hoping it will inspire me to work on my individual style. And, it also makes me want dust off my Wacom tablet so I can develop some mad digital skillz.
I’m not the intended audience for this book, I’m sure. But there is so much that I’m getting out of it. If you have any desire to draw people or just need a creative shot in the arm, I highly recommend this book.