Rosie McGuinness

Let's start with a bit of a basic question: let's talk about who you are, what you do and where you're based.  

After years in East London, I am now living and working back where I grew up - in Lewisham, South East London. I’ve recently taken a new studio, which looks out onto the river, with lots of natural light, it is a very peaceful place to work.

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I have gathered you went to study Fashion Design first, then decided to continue on the Illustration path. What made you switch to the discipline in particular?  

I studied womenswear design, but it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have the patience required for pattern cutting or construction, always much preferring to work on sketchbooks and illustrations. I’ve focused on drawing ever since - I like the instant nature of drawing, and my studies did provide an understanding of garment detail and construction, as well as textiles, etc, which are useful when illustrating a clothed figure. 

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You work primarily with inks and pen: has this always been your favourite medium or did you find it after testing out a few others? 

I predominantly draw in pen rather than pencil, as I like the more definite line. I use a black block-printing ink, which is very black, and Matt, and can be used loosely, watered down, or straight from the bottle, for a grainy, strong line and coverage. 

Your clients list sound like a pretty rewarding one: Net-A-Porter, the V&A Museum, i-D... Can you tell us how did it all start and how do you currently "find" your clients?

Initially I was working mainly with friends, collaborating with a stylist friend of mine on illustrated editorials, or producing some illustrations to accompany another friend’s write-up of a collection, etc. Working on commission was a steep learning curve, but it’s a good way to work out how you are comfortable working, or not, and how to make it work for you. It's important that I keep personal work going alongside commissions, and to keep drawing for the sake of just drawing. 

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In terms of inspiration, do you have certain artists, music or places that have inspired your work in the past? 

I’m inspired by style, rather than ‘fashion’, and women, the figure, the shapes the figure and the figure clothed make, how someone puts themselves together, their attitude, etc...

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You seem to have gone pretty far since graduating - what advice would you give to Fashion illustrators starting now? 

Just to draw as much as possible, particularly from observation, rather than images/photos. Go to life drawing sessions, observe and draw the figure, develop an understanding of the body, and therefore how clothing works around and sits on a person. 

You can find Rosie McGuinness' work here.

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