I came across fashion illustrator, Maria Mallol while posting about the Mary Katrantzou competition (she made it to the top ten!). Using pencil, watercolor, and gouache followed by a final digital edit, Mallol splashes color solely into the garments – creating a balance between the model and the clothing. Her background is fashion oriented, from the technical aspect of pattern making to the creative process of drawing ideas and seeing them executed.
I recently caught up with Mallol and talked to her about her style, background and how her father’s profession has inclufenced her as a fashion illustrator.
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Read Maria Mallol’s complete interview below:
D2G: Did you study fashion illustration specifically in school or were you a general arts major?
I did not study fashion illustration specifically, I actually majored in the most technical part of fashion, which is Pattern-Making. The reason is that since I was very young I’ve been painting, drawing and experimenting with different artistic means, I did my baccalaureate in arts modality, and I think that I myself have been learning to master on my own.
So when it came time to decide what I wanted to study, I chose something totally new and unknown, that at the same time would complement my ability to draw and design. I wanted to learn the process of turning my drawings into real clothes.
D2G: I know that your father owned a clothing store when you were growing up, did your interest in fashion illustration begin when you were young?
Definitely, he was not just the owner, but also the main designer and art director, so from an early age I was surrounded by clothes and fabrics. My father used to take me with him to visit the clothing workshops and stores. I was fascinated with what he was doing and from a very young age I knew I wanted to work in the same industry.
D2G: What mediums do you prefer to use?
My drawings are made primarily with pencil, gouache and watercolors, to then be digitally edited.
D2G: is there a reason you prefer these to other mediums?
They are simply the techniques that I enjoy working with the most and I really like the results I get when combining them.
D2G: In your illustrations your faces seem to be done mostly in black, white and shades of grey. Is there a specific reason for this?
While my models are drawn in shades of gray and they are able to capture the attention through their own expressions and poses, I like to add color to the clothes to give them more emphasis, which, in my opinion, gives a good balance between the actual model and the clothing.
D2G: In the past fashion illustrators such as David Downton used a free hand style creating somewhat abstract images of the garment more than the model. What made you decide to use photorealism in your work?
I don´t think my work is photorealistic, in most of my artwork you can find a very detailed drawing mixed with some spontaneous brushstrokes.
D2G: Where do you get inspiration for your models that you choose to draw or where do you get your faces from?
I´m often inspired by fashion photography, but I also like to draw friends or acquaintances, and in this case I try to portray not only the person but also capture their fashion style.
D2G: Are there any illustrators you have followed growing up? Who are your favorite illustrators now?
One of my all time favorite illustrators is Kareem Iliya, I love the way he uses ink and watercolor layers to create beautiful shapes and sparkles of light. I also like Arturo Elena, Adam Lowe, Cedric Rivrain and Ricardo Fumanal illustrations.
D2G: Is there any advice for up and coming illustrators and those studying art now that you would like to share?
You can never be too good at drawing. I still have a lot to learn, so I think the most important is to keep learning, experimenting and never stop evolving.
D2G: A lot of your illustrations seem as though they capture candid moments behind the scenes of a fashion show. Is this purposeful?
Yes, I love backstage scenes! I find very interesting to capture those precise moments, that atmosphere.
It’s backstage everything happens, it’s where you can see the nerves, the stress, the rush, also the satisfaction, the joy, the beauty…the magic! I love capturing those spontaneous scenes, where I also get detailed views of the costumes, the accessories and make-up.
D2G: What designers are your currently looking forward to seeing during NYFW?
I have to confess that I am in love with the Jason Wu Spring 2013 collection presented at this week in New York. Simply love it!
D2G: Are there any projects that you are working on that you are particularly excited about?
Yes, I’m also a designer so I am currently creating a very exclusive new brand of handbags and leather accessories with a friend, that will be launched in the SS2013. I´m very excited about it!
In addition I keep creating artwork to sell in limited editions and I also do portraits on request.
All this keeps me very busy, but I really enjoy what I do!
About Surfer Riley
Yes, Surfer is the first name given at birth by 2 hippies while living in...Ohio. Surfer is an artist and designer now living in the much prettier state of California. Drawing inspiration from the many facets of the fashion industry, Surfer helps discover fashion illustrators worth talking about.