Her name is Jennifer Lilya and I am attracted to her “Rock the Runway” fashion illustration series. Without further ado, let’s read this interview I have with her for this week’s feature!
M: Hello Jennifer, thanks for taking your time to answer some of my questions! Let’s start off with this, what made you want to become a fashion illustrator? Were you a fashion lover when you were small?
J: Yes! All I ever remember doing was sketching & playing with my Barbie dolls. I was also obsessed with my mom’s magazines & the terribly awesome fashion of the late 70s/early 80s. As a teen in high school, I spent my free time in the library after school (geek alert!) pouring over back issues of Interview & Vogue, as well as hanging out in the arts & music sections. All I wanted to do was to go to art school to get involved in what I saw in the pages of those fantastic books & magazines.
M: I am glad that you have turned your hobby into a career right now and your works are simply amazing! How would you describe your illustration styles? What illustration element you believe you have that sets you apart from other illustrators in the world?
J: I think I have a really classic fashion illustration style, but my girls are modern, cool & approachable. One thing that sets me apart is that I’ve never done my illustrations digitally. Aside from cleaning and resizing scans for clients/online portfolios, everything is done by hand & I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is nothing more amazing to me than putting my brush to paper & having something beautiful emerge from it.
M: I always feel like there is some kind of feeling you cannot achieve when you use computer to do illustration and this is probably one of the reasons I like your works. So, out of all the projects you have done till now, which one is the most challenging? Why?
J: I did illustrations & lettering for a California Closets catalog quite a few years ago. The illustrations were great & pretty straight forward…but the thing that challenged me was having to do lettering in French, which I don’t speak. I had countless words & phrases to paint, so I had to find a way to make them look natural, quick & fun. Also, I had to double & triple check the words to make sure they were spelled correctly while I was painting them. I painted each word so many times, that after maybe twenty rounds, they finally took on my usual loose Lilya Lettering quality. It was an interesting experience having to pay complete attention to each & every letter and making the word or phrase come together artfully.
M: Ah, painting the foreign alphabets is really hard and I can totally understand how challenging it was for you at that time. Now I am curious, how did you start the Rock The Runway series? Which one is your most favorite piece so far?
J: I sort of accidentally started it in Spring ’06, with “Shimmer”. I just love how the models look on the runway- all fierce & in their element. I love the movement & drama of the shows. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it just happened one morning, and now I get hired all the time for the energy & life my girls have. They’re their own story.
I can’t pick one absolute favorite since I love all of my girls for different reasons at different points in time. But one I’m loving right now is “Lady Of The Canyon” (Anna Sui Spring 2011)- she’s just so sweet, pretty & fresh. A perfect Spring look.
M: I could not pick my favorite from you collection since I like them all! Last but not least, what do you think of Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2011 collection? Which piece(s) do you want to include in your Rock the Runway series?
J: What’s not to love? Lots of black, silver, lace, sequins & stars! There are some great plays on the 80s, which I obviously adore. I started with “Lady Stardust” because that look is so strong & fun from head to toe- shiny perfection! I also did “Flirt Alert” because that look is so sexy & cool. Oh, I love the pops of color in the accessories too- super delicious!
Credit: Jennifer Lilya
For Marcus Kan's other interviews, click here.