Red Carpet sketching is the next best thing after sketching fashion shows. While my favourite red carpet looks are usually from the MET Gala in May, the Golden Globes this year had some beautiful pieces also with a powerful message behind them.
Black dresses being the only colour this year to support the Time’s Up movement presents a fun creative challenge for an artist like me who usually focuses on colour first. Not being able to rely on elements of strong colour or vibrant prints, the dresses this year had me focused more on silhouette and material.
In an effort to try and represent the different weights of the fabric I experimented a lot with textured brushes, something I rarely do. I sketch on my iPad with the app Procreate, and usually stick to the same 4 or 5 brushes. But, Procreate offers so many more that I've never found much use for. Some are organic textures, some shapes with hard lines, and then just some strange things, like gemstones, which acts like a stamp, stamping crystal shaped rocks all over your canvas. A lot of them seemed very literal, until I started layering them and using them in a way that they lose their original obvious shape. To my surprise the gemstone brush ended up being really useful for one piece!
I'm often find that limitations can produce amazing results because they force you to be more creative. Experimenting with the brushes has also been a great asset to add to my quick sketching routine. It's an efficient way to portray the movement of the garments and brings an experience to the viewer that a photo can't represent. I was starting to be unhappy with a lot of my digital pieces lately because they seemed to flat and static, but now I'm excited to incorporate this new technique in to my work. I'm so pleased with the results of these new pieces, and am hoping to find the time soon to do a lot more digital pieces!
First choice to sketch was Kate Hudson in Valentino. This was probably a more typical choice for me, being drawn to the pattern and contrast between the sheer and the hard lines. I hadn't really experimented with the brushes yet for this one, relying more on the shapes and the contrast of her blonde hair against the dark black on the dress.
Kendall Jenner in Giambattista Valli, one of my favourite designers. Also here it is! The gem stone brush. If you look closely around her foot you can probably see it, but this one was the break through in my brush choices. The first version looked way too flat, so I flipped back to a few sketches I had done of gowns over the holidays where I was playing around with the brushes, and decided I should push even further and use something I would never normally have. The lightness of the fabric combined with how dense it is in the feathered areas was proving challenging, but the transparency of the brush combined with the hard outline solved the problem surprisingly easy. This one took less than half the time to execute as the first version, and I'm much more satisfied with the result.
Alison Brie in Vasslis Zoulias. This look to me is perfect. Classic yet modern, simple, feminine and unique still with the incorporation of the pant underneath. Vassals Zoulias is a Greek designer who is new to me, but a quick look over at his Instagram had me following immediately, because he creates such beautiful pieces. I also got a repost of this sketch on his account, a nice surprise and the best compliment! Also experimenting with a textured dry brush here, I wanted it to maintain a spontaneous gestural look to it. Also since there wasn't any sheer elements like the last two pieces, the contrast of the white background against the flat black seemed too distracting from the dress so I added in the grey to tone it down.
Millie Bobby Brown in Calvin Klein. This I think is my favourite sketch of the night, I'm really happy with how the ruffled elements turned out and that there's a simplicity still to the piece. I started following Millie on Instagram only about a month ago because I had no idea how stylish she was! I find her wardrobe incredibly sophsiticated for a 13 year old, and yet still age appropriate. There's a bit of an androgyny to her that I love, and her styling comes across both cute and mature at the same time.
Zoe Kravitz in Saint Laurent. So this one maybe I resorted back to my old ways and was instantly drawn to colour. The emerald earring next to the red lip immediately caught my eye. Anytime you can make red and green work without going "Christmas" is so refreshing visually because it's uncommon. It also works perfectly with the simple, elegant silhouette of the dress. Here I didn't play with texture and opted just for a simple flat black to keep the simplicity of shape. Again, a grey background to not distract, because that contrast of the green and red is everything!
Finally, Jessica Biel in Dior. The movment in the dress is what drew me to this one. I love the classic silhouette mixed in with a bit of asymmetry. It's another example to me of a simultaneously classic and modern gown. Similar to the Alison Brie sketch, I used a dry brush texture, but a bit more transparency with this one to keep it reading as a light fabric.
Overall I'm really happy with having such success with an all black palette. It has me looking forward to sketching Oscars looks, but also doing some new black and white pieces in watercolour to see if I can translate some of these new ideas into a different medium.