Illustrations by Sam Battersby

Rose | Rabbit Family Portrait, by Sam Battersby

Have you ever seen an artist’s work and think, man we are on the same wavelength? That’s how I felt when I first saw Sam Battersby’s illustrations in her Etsy shop Matou En Peluche.

Her work is graphic, bold, and simple. Working in pastel, pencil, and charcoal, her illustration has a powerful two-dimensional quality. There’s a definite retro vibe about it, and Sam clearly has a penchant for fashion history.

Art Deco Afternoons | Wood Nymphs, by Sam Battersby

When I asked her about her interest in historic fashion, her answer slew me — she told me that her favorite museum in the universe is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London because she has spent “days and days and days” in the fashion and costume exhibitions. Well, me too. When I did my study abroad in London, I went to the V&A eight times in three weeks just to see the fashion displays. I would have gone more, but I had to go to class.

Yvonne | Poppy at St - Tropez, by Sam Battersby

I asked Sam about her artistic process. She told me, “usually I have an idea for a drawing, which I have in my head, and I’ll play around with that with plain paper and a pencil until I want to commit to the pastel and charcoal. Sometimes the idea is a complete success, but sometimes what I thought would be a terrific idea completely fails, but then it always leads me down another interesting path, so whether an idea works or not is sort of irrelevant really. They all work in one way or another!”

I think it’s fairly obvious why I love her work and why I can’t decide which piece to get. Some of the illustrations are such classic fashion sketches. In portraits, she captures the aura of the women without a lot of distraction. For instance, the flappers with their blunt bobs and rouged cheeks are reduced to shape and color, giving them their edge. And other pieces have that wonderful retro whimsy. I’m looking at you, mermaids. The illustrations that capture all three — fashion, aura, whimsy — are the best in my opinion.

Hot Pink Bathing Beauty | So Chic, by Sam Battersby

Check out the rest of Sam’s work on Matou En Peluche.

Winter Black

fashion plate from 1910-1913, from Metropolitan Museum of Art

It’s snowing again in Chicago. I hate to whine about the weather constantly, but my commute is growing exceedingly tiresome as I slug through slush puddles and get blasted by high speed winds each day.

Of course I never look as chic as the woman in this illustration does, but I do like her black winter ensemble. She’s in black from head to toe in preparation to battle the elements just like I am. Or maybe she’s just in mourning about summer. Ah, maybe that’s the real reason us northerners wear so much black in the winter.

But I think the real lesson in this illustration is that I need a muff of my own.

Exhibition File – Fashion Illustration

illustration by Sara Singh, from Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look at Brooklyn Public Library

In the contemporary fashion world, fashion illustration might seem like a disappearing art form. But it still is alive, and there are artists doing really exciting things with the genre.

In a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library, 11 artists are featured, showing some of the coolest work in fashion illustration.

The show is called Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look, and it will be on display until December 1. You have a little less than a month to check it out!

illustration by Marcos Chin, from Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look at Brooklyn Public Library

Address: Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY
Hours: Monday 10-8, Tuesday 1-8, Wednesday 10-8, Thursday 1-8, Saturday 10-2
Admission: free

But please be careful New York! I’m still thinking about you and wishing I could do more than just send money to help the relief.

Illustrating Summer

I love these Puck magazine covers I stumbled upon from the 1910s. The illustrations celebrating summer at the beach are brilliant.

I thought they were fitting to usher in the last weekend of August.

Hope you have a great summer weekend! It’s going to be fall before we know it.

Geneviève Marquis

Yvonne | Evelyne by Geneviève Marquis

I’m excited to share the work of Geneviève Marquis with you today. She has a true talent for drawing and illustration. Her shop, called Mademoiselle G, was one of the first I fell in love with when I discovered Etsy.

Geneviève’s work is influenced by costume history and fairy tales. There is a certain amount of mystery, fantasy, and twistedness about them that I find really compelling.

She finds inspiration in historic portraits, old photos, and films. Geneviève combines all that imagery in her mind and then puts it to paper with pen and ink. She also creates some of the most charming art dolls I’ve seen.

Geneviève is from Montreal, Canada but now lives in Brussels, Belgium.

Harold and Lorna | Family Portrait by Geneviève Marquis

I own two of her prints. The first is called Dilemma, a portrait of siamese twins from the 1920s. The other is the sweet rococo Marie Guillotine. Both of them perfectly portray Geneviève’s talent at combining sweet with disturbing. The prints are currently in my office at work, and I love them.

Geneviève is running a really great sale in the Mademoiselle G shop, so hurry over to Etsy by June 30! All prints and dolls are 20% off.