In Other News

In cleaning out our basement I found this relic of my girlhood, my Barbie carrying case from the late 1960s/early 70s. Note the hot pink babydoll smock dress with pneumatic sleeves (which you’d think might get in the way when you were mixing up your glass of Tang). I would regularly tote this case – full of all the related tiny clothes, hangers, purses, shoes and hats – from my front step, across one neighbor’s lawn (no kids there) to the next house over, where two of my good Friends-in-Barbiehood lived.

Inside the case I found a slightly damaged but largely intact World of Barbie book of fashions. The drawings are so fun and colorful, I can’t help but think that this helped spark my interest in illustration. Shall we step back in time and see the groovy fashions? Here’s the fab cover:

Here’s the first page of fashion plates you could totally dote upon:

^^^ The only outfit I had on this page was the blue knit-set ‘Togetherness,’ an appropriately 1960s-branded title. It was pretty difficult to pull those tightly knitted stockings onto Barbie’s rubberized legs, and it was like a Chinese finger trap getting them off. I so wanted Extravaganza and Jump Into Lace – sheer lace sheaths were a big thing, my 10-year-old self not thinking about how itchy the reality would be.

Here’s the facing page, kind of a Hot Pink Heaven:

^^^ I think I may have owned the Snug Fuzz outfit, because i remember having the usual difficulty getting the sparkly silver tights over Barbie’s lower limbs. They were not in any way smooth fabric, very gritty in fact, a finger snagging nightmare. I thought the donut-neck wedding gown was rather off-brand for Barbie.

And then we are on to this swingin’ lineup:

^^^ Like a Lime-Green Cowboy! I bet it was hard to actually keep that cowboy hat on her head, – this was the 60s after all and head gear was fast on its way out. I wore a hat at Easter when I was young, but hats as accessories lost big ground during these decades. I wonder why did so many of these drawings depict her with basically gray or ash-color hair? Was that a thing?

I’ll be posting more fab pages from this booklet soon.

Fashion Drawing of a Friend

My friend Lynne Anne Donchez, who is a master hair and makeup stylist, also has a terrific sense of fashion. She was dressed up for a special occasion last week and I had to capture her with this fashion drawing.

This is a combination of digital drawing and traditional methods – I drew her in pencil, transferred that to my computer, colorized the large shapes in the computer, printed it out and then drew texture & finishing touches on the print.

Fashion illustration project

I like trying fashion illustration pieces once in a while, and the opportunity came up recently for an event I was invited to, to draw a young woman who is quite photogenic and fashionable. She owns a tiny adorable Yorkie who fit beautifully into a scene of her striding along in one of her favorite gowns.



This was a combination of hand-drawn and digital work. The figure drawing was done with a brush pen, and after I scanned that I inserted some flat color on it thru the computer. I printed that image out and added shading with chalk pastels and details with a finer point pen. I wanted a wash background with an indication of some buildings in Washington DC, so I painted a loose wash on watercolor paper, scanned it, and drew a rough silhouette of the Capitol in black ink and used that as a digital stencil over the wash, to create the building outline behind her.

The

Dorothy Parker Illustration

The inaugural issue of Neshaminy magazine, which I wrote about in my previous post, also includes a poem written about the renowned writer, wit and poet Dorothy Parker, who lived in Pipersville, Bucks County in the 1930s and 40s. The editors asked me to create an illustration of Parker with some specifics mentioned in the poem. I tried several sketching styles but settled on one that leans toward a fashion illustration look, which seemed to work best because, while the poem deals with her wit and writing, it also mentions her smart style and elegance.

The finished illustration below is in ink wash.