sketches made with Paper in WWD

made with paper on wwd

This is the most exciting project of my career so far. I’m working with FiftyThree, covering major runway shows at New York Fashion Week using their iPad sketching app Paper. Even more incredible – the sketches are being shown on! I’m attending terrific shows I would never usually have access to – designers like Yigal Azrouël, Alexander Wang and others.

For live sketching, you need responsive software that moves as fast as you do, with all your tools literally at your fingertips. Paper has got the goods. It’s so amazing – by the end of a fashion show I’ll have about half a dozen drawings, and I can upload them instantly, before the audience even leaves the venue – before the photographers make it back to the lab! Follow the WWD on Paper tumblr to catch the sketches mere moments after the show is over. Once New York Fashion Week is done, I’ll collect my favourite sketches and post them here on Final Fashion.

To have my work displayed on is an honour. Women’s Wear Daily played a significant role in the history of fashion illustration in the 60s, 70s and 80s – employing a whole staff of illustrators full-time and giving them prominent attribution, making the artists stars. Several of my heroes – Kenneth Paul Block, Steven Stipelman and Antonio Lopez worked there. This project positions my work as an inheritor of theirs. I am hustling hard to live up to these legacies. Right now, all of my energy is focused on delivering my best work. Sketching runway for WWD is a dream come true.

Of course, WWD also effectively drew the golden age of fashion illustration to a definitive close when they fired their entire art department in 1992. Over twenty years later, to be able to bring the lost art of live runway illustration back to this venerable fashion news source, using a totally new technology, is a profound moment in the history of the art of fashion illustration that I am proud to play a role in.

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9 thoughts on “sketches made with Paper in WWD”

  1. Yay, more accolades! I can’t wait for the whole upload-it’ll be good to have them all in one post. I meant to ask you (two posts ago) why you don’t use Paper (I don’t have an ipad because I’m poor XD but if I had one I’d use Paper all the time) because it’s perfect for your style of quick water colour sketching.
    Great stuff, keep it up!

  2. Congratulations, Danielle. I love seeing your work in WWD, it really belongs there.

    There is also a very nice contrast between your latest posts going from BCBGMAXAZRIA to the instant & connected sketches with Paper – they show what you gained by using Paper and what you lost. Is Paper something you would buy for yourself now that you’ve tried it with success?

    1. Hi Caroline, thanks so much for the compliments and a great question!

      I don’t currently have a tablet of my own, but if I did I would definitely have Paper on it. And speaking as a somewhat non-techy person, I was a bit skeptical but there are so many things about it that made live-sketching on it a pleasure – it was way easier to handle than lugging along a bunch of paper and watercolours. Cleaner, obviously. And it offers the incredible ability to share your sketches as casually as you would a cell phone photo – as soon as I was done a sketch I can upload it into the ether. The app encourages spontaneity, which is what live sketching is all about.

      There are also some limitations – personally I’m more interested in seeing digital materials move away from being simulacra of analog materials and celebrating the possibilities that only digital materials provide. The ability to undo has an interesting effect on live sketching – I found I was spending more time on each sketch as I would make multiple passes at achieving the line quality I was going for. The result was less sketches per show, but a higher rate of “successful” sketches. The tricky bit is resisting the temptation to spend the entire show hitting undo, it keeps you from moving as fast as the action!

      As for “what I lost”, it’s interesting that you bring that up because lately I’ve been getting more skeptical of the “we’re losing skills” lament. I think we are gaining so much more than we’re losing – having more tools, more media, more flexibility, is exactly what we need to participate in modern culture. It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up my watercolours – I think keeping your hands in the physical world is important – but I reject the idea that new developments are to be resisted. I’m all for new technology, it makes art more interesting.

  3. Interesting! I meant that there is a certain quality that the lines have when you paint it with watercolors. Line has variation in shape but not in texture in Paper, as if you have always dipped your brush in exactly what you need for each stroke. Your watercolor lines are more dimensional (not sure exactly how to put it) because I can see what you emphasize either by accident or by intention. This is a very minor loss! I was surprised and happy to see that.

    BUT now that you mention it, I have to say I agree with you. I have never believed that using new technologies means skills are lost. I think the main skills transfer so well, but the group of skills that make work really great through one means may be slightly different than what is needed to be great on another.

    I’m hoping to get a tablet someday! It sounds like making it work would mean editing a drawing on the go. I’ve never done that and would love to try.

  4. I read your blog and immediately downloaded the app. I can’t believe how my otherwise ordinary sketches look so instantly amazing! I’m a convert. I’d love some more tools- maybe crayon…..

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