I've been waiting to show this job, it's now on newsstands in the December issue of Best Health magazine! The job was a full page and a half page for their feature article on perfumes -- the coolest part was that Best Health sent me the perfumes so I could actually illustrate the bottles from life. I love love love perfumes and cosmetics, so I was totally psyched. Dream job!
The job was to illustrate ten perfumes but twelve were actually sent (as can be seen by this horrible photo I took!). There were three Jacob Boutique fragrances that all had the same bottles and I was to use one. I love perfume bottles. They are glass sculptures, pieces of art that I can actually afford! Add to that the fact they contain wonderfully complex and unique fragrances and it doesn't get much better than this.
Here's the half page illustration. The art director wanted a scene of a woman getting lost in the perfume she is sampling, being transported back to a wonderful beach vacation with one spritz of a bottle.
I send out postcards and email promos and I enter illustration contests every year; I never expected to generate work from a blog entry! I had posted some make-up sketches on my blog in response to one of Christine from Temptalia's beauty questions and Christine (beauty blogger extraordinaire!) liked the sketches so much she asked to post them on her tumblr and twitter. Jaime over at BellaSugar saw the sketches via Temptalia and contacted me, asking if she could do a feature article of those sketches for BellaSugar. And that's where the Best Health art director found me! Long story short: Social networking works :P.
What's amazing to me is that I visit BellaSugar and Temptalia every day and I am so into what they do -- that made the fact they liked what I'd done about ten times cooler!
Those make-up sketches are looser and more delicate than my usual work, and it was this look that the art director wanted me to emulate. I use watercolour frequently but I haven't used it in my illustrations for many years. That made me a little nervous. I love watercolour but it is an unforgiving medium. One of my college painting profs passed on a saying that goes something like: "Watercolour is an enjoyable medium once you can get past your first three hundred paintings."
I whipped up this up for experimental purposes to see if I could actually pull off a more delicate, watercolour-y look while still having it look like the rest of my portfolio. After that, I felt a lot more confident that I'd be able to create something that would make both me and the art director happy!
The next part of the equation was the perfumes. Fragrantica is my go-to resource for fragrances. They have reviews, notes, and user comments on hundreds and hundreds of perfumes and they post articles about upcoming fragrances and even info about perfume ingredients. You can even do a search for fragrances by selecting specific notes and the site will automatically generate a list of fragrances that have those notes in them!
Here is a list of what I was sent:
Calvin Klein Euphoria
Clinique Aromatics Elixir Solid Parfum necklace
Jacob Tres Chic
Jacob Joie Vivre
Kenzo Flower Tag
Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose
Oscar de la Renta Live in Love
I used Fragrantica to research these fragrances and I sketched three elements contained in each one. Here are the two sketches I submitted for the full-page of fragrances:
The art director requested a more streamlined version for the final so only a few perfume notes ended up making the cut. I'm quite fond of the illustrated notes but I can see that they make the page look fairly cluttered. More space was required to put in the captions!
One more fragrance resource for other perfume enthusiasts: Katie Puckrik puts up entertaining and informative perfume reviews on YouTube, I highly recommend them to any fellow "fumeheads" (as Katie calls us!).
I did a lot of experiments to decide what kind of line quality I wanted to use for the perfume bottles. From left to right: Tech pen, thin brush, thicker brush, nib. I ended up going with the thin brush.
I tried a variety of colour treatments, some of which are pictured here. You may notice that the Prada Candy bottle in the final illustration wasn't this one; I ended up drawing a it from a different angle, an angle I thought worked better for the composition. Here are some of the other bottle sketches -- you'll notice the same thing, sometimes I didn't use my first version!
Compare the pencil sketches and the inked drawings -- some of the bottles have most definitely gotten a little restless and turned themselves around :P.
This job was most definitely a "scentimental" journey. It was a lot of work but totally worth it. I'm proud of what I managed to accomplish, and how I created two portfolio pieces that are quite different from my other stuff but still somehow familiar. Many thanks to Stephanie at Best Health for seeing potential in those make-up sketches and for giving me the opportunity to work a little outside of my comfort zone. And I can't thank Christine from Temptalia and Jaime from BellaSugar enough for sharing my illustrations with their readers! I love what you ladies do. Keep up the good work!