August 13, 2013

Westfield Doncaster recently joined forces with Melbourne based, internationally acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan Hess to create The Sketch House, an in-centre fashion illustration studio that allows shoppers to become the subject of their own artist-drawn fashion sketch. I have long admired the work of Megan, I feel transported into a world of luxury as soon...

Westfield Doncaster recently joined forces with Melbourne based, internationally acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan Hess to create The Sketch House, an in-centre fashion illustration studio that allows shoppers to become the subject of their own artist-drawn fashion sketch.

I have long admired the work of Megan, I feel transported into a world of luxury as soon as I look at her captivating sketches. She is famous for illustrating Sex & The City author Candace Bushnell’s book covers and her work with luxury labels like Saint Laurent, Dior, Chanel and Carter. I loved chatting to her this week to find out how her exciting career in design evolved.

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Can you tell us how your passion for illustration an design evolved? Have you always love to draw?  Yes, I’ve always loved to draw. It’s something I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. This is how my career got started:

After working as an Art Director in Ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there I realised that I had a burning desire to be an artist.

At this time I’d became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whist I loved art directing fashion I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from this art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow.

After about a year I found myself with non-stop work. I wasn’t earning a fortune but I’d never been happier and I knew I was going to do this forever.

As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. This was when things took off at rapid speed for me. Her book became a New York Times best seller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’. Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine and Vanity Fair magazine in New York to create portraits for them. This was a dream come true and I still can’t believe I work for them. Following this, I was commissioned by department Store Bergdorf Goodman in New York to illustrate their Windows and then Cartier in Paris to illustrate their collections. Today my clients invlude: Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Montblanc,Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Fendi, Ladurée and The Ritz Hotel Paris.

You have a prestigious client list that includes Chanel, Dior, Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Candice Bushnell and the New York Times. Does one job hold a special place in your heart?  Seeing my cover for Sex and The City on billboards around New York was very exciting. Being called by Tiffany & Co to Illustrate their iconic 5th Avenue Building was an amazing experience. Creating my first portrait for TIME magazine in New York was a great moment. Being commissioned by Vanity Fair magazine to illustrate Jackie O was something I will never forget.

And probably the biggest, was recently being asked to do a series of portraits of Michelle Obama for the First Lady herself. That was terrifying but I felt like I’d climbed Mt Everest once I’d finished them!

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You recently released your own illustrated interiors book ‘Fashion House’ inspired by the icons of fashion design, was this a dream come true? It really was. I had the idea for that book swirling around in my head for years so it was a wonderful experience to finally pull it together. Its really a book that combines my two loves, fashion and interiors.

 What does a typical day involve for you? There really isn’t a typical day for me! Every week is different depending on what briefs I have on. I normally start the day with the family rush of making lunches etc.. then I’m in the Studio (which is at my home) and I’m working on lots of different briefs. These days I’m very lucky to pretty much only work on lovely projects – which I don’t take for granted! There was once a time in the early days when I had to illustrate an entire horse manual!! So I feel very lucky that I get to work with very inspiring clients and projects these days.

Outside of design/illustration, what are your interestsWhen I’m not illustrating I love just hanging out with my little family. I love to travel, enjoy delicious food. I love a relaxing Saturday of good coffee, reading the papers and listening to music.

 What are you working on at the moment? Right now I’m in the process of the release of my book Fashion House and I’ve just released a collection of larger scale prints taken from the book. The illustrations in the book took so many hours to create so Its such a pleasure to see them out in the world!

Image Credit: Megan Hess

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