Illustration from a text:
The original article was featured in The Sunday Times newspaper in February and mentioned the fact that a famous actress, Kristen Scott Thomas, had made a comment regarding the wearing of mini skirts by English women. It was quite a disparaging remark about the state of their legs and how French women are considerably more sophisticated (see image attached).
The key words that I found the article was about are highlighted in pink. However, there are other statements regarding ‘never getting drunk on a Saturday’ and the reason why French husbands cheat on their wives. I felt these were also relevant to mention but were not the key point of the article. They were secondary pieces of information to support the assumed shock at the statement.
So based on the highlighted bits, I thought I would try a few different styles to see which one suited best. The first approach was to gather an image of Kristin and see if I could sketch her and get some form of a likeness. This proved quite difficult.
I went with it and tried to capture a likeness but ended up using a reference and just using colour to suggest a likeness for the digital image.
Various images that I felt were relevant to the article were the actress herself, perhaps in a class black dress that suggests sophistication and makes her more recognizable for her role in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. The image of a mini skirt, the union jack flag and a ‘banned’ sign along with a bunch of drunk girls wearing mini skirts.
The digital image was largely a case of trying to layer images with screen and overlay effects so that there wasn’t one defining image but a collage of them. I felt it was important to try and get the likeness of Kirstin to be looking slightly disapprovingly at the young women drinking in their mini-skirts, while also referencing the flags of the countries mentioned.
The end result is a mash up of mini skirt patterns, bad legs, flags and a banned symbol over the young girls to suggest this is not approved. The images were all referenced from google and very basic. I created a reference/mood board just to make sure I had the key points translated into the image with a fairly good likeness.
The end result was a strong digital image that combined the elements outlined above and with the focus on the disapproving Kristin as the article was mainly about her judging others for how they dress and act.
Next I tried to loosen up the style and try to move away from the digital format. The idea was to use the pattern theme of the mini skirt and contrast it with the covers of old dress making patterns as they often represented sophistication and refined style.
The sketches outline the type of direction I was trying to go in. I wanted to try and loosen up for some and then try a more ‘patterned’ type of illustration. Below are the sketches for the various attempts at doing this.
After reviewing the sketches I chose the mash up of patterns and quick sketches to move on with and I did a new sketch of the type of model you would have seen gracing the front cover of the older pattern books for elegant dresses. They always reminded me of a sophisticated woman and since Kirstin mentioned this in her rant, I felt it would support the image I was trying to portray from the article.
I thought this was going in the right direction but it wasn’t giving the full message still. It needed to show clearly that the focus was on English women having bad legs for mini skirts. The face for the main woman in the image wasn’t anything like Kirstin, but I thought I’d leave that for the moment and just see where I could bring this image first.
The markers image was bright and this worked, but it didn’t look like the pattern covers, it was too cartoon like. I decided to bring the sketch back into Painter X and AI and PS and try them out to see if I could soften it and maybe give that fashion sketch look to it.
It ended up pretty layered again, and although I had started out with pencils and markers, I was back on the computer to finish the image. This wasn’t the original intention but I decided to go with it anyway.
The end result wasn’t bad and I am happy that it gets the message across. It may not be as obvious as the first image but it has the elements of the British flag, the hint of the French flag, the suggestion of Kirstin in the female figure and a clear association with patterns and mini skirts. The statement was very obvious but it seemed to fit nicely into the pattern layout.