23 April 2013

David Downton Master Class

Hi all,

Bath in Fashion has become a highlight of my year! There are so many great events that they put on, and this year was no different. I attended two events on saturday with my good friend Sophie from Imitation is the greatest form of flattery: Check her blog here...

Original illustration by David Downton of Linda Evangelista wearing Christian Lacroix
for V Magazine USA, July 2004. Gouache and ink on paper. 

The first one is the David Downton Master Class. David Downton is a well known, and amazing fashion illustrator/artist (he is currently artist in residence at Claridges in London), so to be able to do this master class was so exciting. It was held at the Bath Spa Hotel, in the Grange Suite, which was a really beautiful room with amazing wall and ceiling details. Anyways, room aside. The group doing the session was about 30ish people. One of which was Milly Mackintosh from made in Chelsea.
The atmosphere was great, the model, Jade Parfitt asked David questions, whilst we drew her. Throughout the session I gained an insight into how he works, and I feel I learnt lots of great tips. The drawings that I made in the session were not amazing, but the experience and what I have taken away from it really made it worth it.

These are some drawings I did at home, using what I had learnt in the session:

So I shall share some of his tips:

1. He makes an initial drawing, where the aim is to get as much information as needed down, and to get the most accurate drawing possible. Then he takes that drawing, a new piece of paper and a light box, and he EDITS. This means that he pulls out certain lines to create the drawing style he is known for.

2. Tip: If you are drawing and you are getting stuck, change material. If you are working in pencil, try using fine liner, sharpie, colour.... (he quite likes working with a brush pen as it gives a nice fluid line)

3. Where it goes wrong, don't be afraid to use tip-ex!! He doesn't work on the computer much, so his way of making corrections is to use the dreaded white liquid. If you need to, go for it.

4. When making a fashion drawing he starts with the head. As you work towards the bottom of the page (remember to fill the page) and you are still drawing legs, don't force yourself to draw in feet. If they don't fit onto the page, then they don't fit. Nothing looks odder than feet where the calves should be.

5. He tends to emphasise one eye more than the other. He explained that this stops the eyes from becoming too overpowering. If you draw two eyes with dramatic makeup the model can look like they have panda eyes. Not a good look (....except on a panda)

And finally my tip:
When starting out attempting his minimalist approach to fashion illustration grab a fashion magazine and some tracing paper. Use an image of a model and try pulling out lines from it. You will see how little you need to draw in order to capture the figure.

xox Niamh xox


  1. Great post !!!!!! I lvoe your drawings really good :) had a lovely day with you :) wouln't have been half as good without you !

    1. Hehe, thankyou :) and it wouldn't have been half as good if you hadn't been there :)