Karen Santry
Big Book of
Fashion Illustration

Karen Santry
“Women with Pugs”
Book Cover of the
Big Book of Fashion Illustration

Author: Martin Dawber
Forward: Karen Santry
Book Cover: Karen Santry

To smoke out the images in this exciting book, Martin Dawber has become a kind of Pied Piper eliciting, with astounding digital pitch, the cutting-edge visions of hundreds of fashion illustrators around the world.

Encountering his artists in the light of monitors, at the foot of fashion runways, on the streets of Paris and in the pages of little-known magazines, Dawber found fashion art alive and well, albeit changed. HIs subjects do not portray fashion in beautiful isolation as was common in the 50’s and 60’s, they transpose it – with seamless integration – into contemporary lifestyle.

Coffee at Starbucks, skateboard ramps, Shoe Fest at Bergdorf’s, and even the bedroom, all provide a new stage for the daily interaction of fashion and lifestyle. Make no mistake, though, what Dawber captures is anything but mundane. His ability to dictate new trends by showing us images we see every day but in a startling new way amazed me from cover to cover.

Karen Santry Gangsta Rapper’s Daughter Bride
oil on rosewood

Line, like the baton of a skilled maestro, he takes the viewer throughout The Big Book of Fashion Illustration making drawing a central theme. Whether the artist is using a Number 4 pencil, or a Wacom tablet line is tantamount. Throughout history, the skilled use of line has always been one of the most effective artistic methods used to convey emotion. Dawber employs this time-honored technique to delight and surprise us juxtaposing high fashion and tears, heartbroken women face to face with gorgeous, well-dressed, men, bored sprawling youths on skateboards, and angry bad boys flying around the hood like a pack of hornets, to name a few.

In the ongoing and ruthless competition between fashion illustration and fashion photography, the confluence of hands-on materials, the latest digital programs, and the best use of attitude, character, and–of course–style (which always comes from within) are what wins.

And the artists in this book are winning. All born of a generation deeply influenced by comic books, gaming, music videos and cartoons, the multi-vantage points enliven the illustrations, inviting viewers to participate as opposed to keeping them at a distance behind the velvet ropes. Page after page, sexuality is brazenly flaunted, often turning the viewer into a voyeur. This is fashion illustration at its best, incorporating every weapon of seduction. Hang on to your hats and wallets – these formerly endangered artists are out to get you!

What’s more, these illustrators come from many cultures and countries. Any reader attempting to identify the roots of each illustrator will be happy to find that East has been busy meeting West creating a truly inclusive global representation of fashion illustration.

Karen Santry, Associate Professor Illustration
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York NY
Executive Vice President, Fashion Art Bank Inc. (USA and Japan)
Westbeth Artist’s Housing since 1990!

Karen Santry on Westbeth website

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