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passion for illustration May 2, 2010

Posted by Karīna Sīmane in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,

Abilities to rule your hand and to be able to express ideas through drawings have always been admired by those who say that they can’t draw. In my opinion simple drawing is just a matter of an exercise – as more you draw as better you get. But then there comes a higher level- called art. Where you don’t only draw what you see but put some special expressions and thoughts that nobody else but you can apply for that special piece of work. In other words – not only copying the nature but searching further…
During my “travels” around the world using internet, I discovered a passionate and joyful fashion illustrator Baiba Ladiga. Originally coming from Latvia, now she is living and working in Shanghai, China. Most probably you have already heard of her. If not then you’ll definitely will.

1.How would you describe your work?

As for fashion illustration – I mostly draw girls, so it is feminine, often bright, a bit chaotic and messy, still poetic and fresh. As for media I love using ( and mixing) China ink, watercolors, markers, pens and pencils and collage. I always love drawing more than anything else and it took me quite a long time to realize that I am good in it and people love my work. But still I believe I am just at the beginning and I am on my way to find my true signature style and create my masterpiece.

I have noticed that many fashion illustrators can be very strong with the portraits, but not so much with full length figure in a movement. And I guess that’s my strength, because that’s what I am teaching and have learned for years so  I can easily see any balance or proportion mistake.

As for my fashion design work – I have made a decision to make something new when I really feel I have something to say and there is a concept, strong story behind it, Making just beautiful cloth every season – it’s not my thing right now, because I live in China, and there are so many unnecessary things produced, including fashion so I don’t wanna be part of it. For me fashion is like an art form. Art form with a concept and story behind it.

But same a fashion illustration I love to use bright colors tome after time, i just love red and somehow it is almost always there in my work.

2.What’s the rhythm of your day?

I have a full time job at Raffles Design Institute, Shanghai where I am fashion design lecturer. Mostly I teach fashion illustration and design, so this is also great way how to improve my own skills. Evenings and weekends I can spend on my own projects and I try to do so, like drawing, sewing etc. Keeping my self busy is my worst or maybe best addiction and sometimes I can‘t even remember when I watched some movie or just did nothing at all. But I try to do something different every day cause I can easily get bored and tired even from my self.

3. Do you have any routines related to designing process ? (like – drawing every day or reading fashion magazines regularly etc)

I guess no, I am quite spontaneous person and  I can easily get bored just doing the same thing every day, so I try not to make plans like drawing one sketch a day. If i start drawing I can end up with full sketchbook in one day and then switch to updating my blog next day and ignore drawing till i feel i am inspired and have something to say.

4.You have involved in quite a lot of social networks (twitter, facebook, behance, etsy etc). Does networking has helped you to find new clients? To get to know other professionals in your field? Or to find collaborators for your projects ?

Well who isn‘t nowadays on twitter  or facebook? J These are quite cool social networks to keep in touch with my friends while i am so far away. As for behance or etsy – that‘s more about what i do and I guess it is quite impossible to sit at home and draw and get clients without being online. You see – fashion illustration is much different  then fashion design– I can make at least a drawing a day for my fashion illustration portfolio, while in fashion design making an outfit a day is quite impossible. And not necessary actually.

I lunched my website and blog only last October partly because that’s when I decided to start freelancing as a fashion illustrator ( so I am very new in this field). And these sites helped me a lot to get more attention and opportunities. I am quite sure there is some connection with the projects I am involved right now. And so far I have fulfilled already my first dreams – participated in a group fashion illustration exhibition at Gallery Nucleus next to fashion illustration superstars like Laura Laine, Ohgushi and Stina Persson. And I am still super exited about that. And a very big book publisher contacted me so my work will be published in a new fashion illustration book! So I guess I must be doing something right and more exiting projects are awaiting me!

And sure, you have to be informed whats is happening in your field and Internet is just perfect for that.

5.We assume you notice how people dress. What catches your eye in the street?

Oh, you see, right now I live in Shanghai and it is the most fashionable city in China, but not further than that, really, cause there is fashion ( and you can buy everything you can imagine– from real thing to fake) but still no taste and style, no clue how to combine things and too much bling bling and fake eyelashes and wigs. But I think it is slowly coming to China and that’s why I am over there – to teach how to do it better.. So not so many stylish people out there.

There is fashion all over the place and at one point I even lost interest about fashion. But I am over it and I am working on new fashion collections ( still it‘s more about fashion as an art statement,concept, not ready-to wear collection). So in Shanghai I am more often exited about some beggars style, cause it is often more creative than some some rich girl wearing LV& Chanel from head to toe, it is boring you see.

But in general, back in Europe, sure I pay more attention to what people are wearing and  I love those who combine things in a very unique way- vintage with new, traditional with super trendy , trashy with edgy. Mix of prints and braking of rules and stereotypes.

6.What inspires you?

It can be even a blank page – I see things even where  most of the people see nothing, so since childhood I used to carry some piece of paper with me, and my favorite one was kind of dirty light brown wrapping paper, I could see so many things on it. So i just had to trace the lines I could see on that paper. And quite often I still do it.

Fashion magazines , especially Vogue Italy is a great inspiration for me – some nice silhouettes, deep, intelligent look.

And China, every day in China is a great inspiration for me. It is so different then anywhere else- so many contrasts, colors. As source of inspiration – Shanghai is just perfect. Like all day on a bike, listening some cool music, and you feel like you have seen 5038902083974 people, seen so many beautiful buildings and things. Shanghai is changing very fast ( Expo is coming) and that’s very exiting.

7.How working and living abroad influences you as a designer?

I have traveled alone a lot for the past three years, especially  around Asia and that changed me a lot, first as a person, then as a designer. After seeing parts of the world I always dreamed of, I felt like suddenly i could see with a wide angle lens.

My job as a fashion lecturer gave mo more confidence and sometimes just a feeling that there are like 200 students a week who are willing to learn from me makes me happy, cause I made a long trip to be where I am now and there is a bright future awaiting for me, I just know it.

And I found my love for fashion Illustration living in China. Decision that would be hard to make just living in Latvia or somewhere in Europe.

A MAD DOLL’S WORLD.Fashion design and styling: Baiba Ladiga