17th May 2013
Vintage clothing has long been a passion of mine, the perfect option for when you want to feel unique and stand out from the crowd. But wearing vintage in a way that makes a chic statement without going overboard can be tough, I’m usually aiming for early days Carrie Bradshaw but admittedly can sometimes end up dressed like Hannah from Girls (we’ve all been there). For that reason I couldn’t be more excited that Jess, the founder of vintage boutique Ela Hawke Vintage, agreed to share her top ten tips for wearing vintage pieces.
Ever since we met a few years ago I’ve been envious of Jess’ ability to put together the perfect outfit – eye poppingly gorgeous vintage pieces mixed with classic high street items and the perfect accessories. Cases in point: how to wear camo, mastering the crop and adding a pop of neon. Wearing vintage in your everyday life to this effect is a serious skill and I couldn’t be happier that she agreed to come out from behind the camera today to not only tell us but show us how we too can make it work in our vintage wear.
Ten Tips for Wearing Vintage
1. Decide your best assets
My number one rule when wearing vintage is to know your body shape. What looks good on one person may not necessarily look good on another. It’s so important, especially with vintage, that you wear what you know looks good on you. You might have a small waist so be sure to choose pieces that highlight this. Or you may have a curvier figure so prefer to wear something long and flowy. Get to know your body and your best assets and it will make styling vintage clothing a whole lot easier.
2. Stay true
I’m a sucker for colours and interesting prints, the bigger and brighter the better, but I understand not everyone feels the same way. We all have our own sense of style and unique taste which should reflect our choice in vintage clothing as well. Stay true to your style and keep in mind shapes, cuts and colours that work for you or even a particular material you like to wear such as silk, denim, crochet or lace.
3. If the shoe fits
So many times I’ve bought a piece of vintage clothing or held onto it just because ‘I had to have it’ even though it wasn’t quite the right fit. There’s something about wearing vintage clothing when it’s a little too big or not the right shape and it just looks too obvious and a bit silly. When you’re styling vintage make sure it absolutely fits you perfectly. Or only purchase it if you’re a wiz with the sewing machine and can easily adjust it to your measurements – and commit to making those updates.
4. Be inspired
Stay up to date with current trends by what you’re seeing in magazines, on blogs or your favourite fashion websites or even Pinterest. Trends come in and out and it’s good to keep in mind what current styles, colours, textures and prints are popular as it can make the process of buying and wearing vintage a lot more fun.
5. Back to basics
Buying or wearing vintage for the first time can be a little daunting. Where to start? What to buy? If the idea of wearing an insanely printed 80s jacket or a fully sequined dress is too much to handle then stick to the basics. Start by building your vintage collection with perhaps a vintage denim shirt, a pretty floral dress, a nicely worn leather jacket, a printed silk shirt, a leather pencil skirt or a cool vintage tee. These basic pieces will help you to familiarize yourself with wearing vintage and help to build a really great wardrobe that can easily be styled with other pieces.
6. Mix Vintage & New
If you want to wear vintage but you’re worried about looking like you stepped out of your grandmother’s closet, a good tip is to mix and match your vintage pieces with your new, contemporary pieces. If you’ve found a beautiful bohemian 70s maxi dress, update it with a new denim jacket and sandals. Maybe you’ve found an amazing 80s sequin top but you want to dress it down with a pair of new denim shorts. Or you may want to style your new skirt with a vintage handbag and vintage sunglasses. The key is to mix it up with basic pieces like jeans, denim shorts, a striped top or a white shirt. Don’t go too overboard in the one outfit if you’re not used to wearing all vintage.
7. Be bold & daring
So if being safe and sticking to basics is not your thing and you think you’re ready to take on the idea of vintage clothing then go for it! Seek out something that is unique and that reflects your personality. A statement jacket or bold necklace or some brightly coloured cowboy boots are the perfect starting point. If you’re going to go all out try to make that one piece the standout piece, team it with basics or black and white for the right look.
A good rule when wearing vintage clothing is to make sure it’s styled with great accessories, and this can mean using new or vintage accessories. I can’t begin to describe how much a simple belt can update a look or give you more shape, especially with a vintage dress. Try adding a bit of character to your handbag and tying a vintage scarf around the handle. Or you might even like to give yourself a new look with a pair of vintage sunglasses. So many simple tweaks can be done to keep your whole look interesting and new.
More often than not you can get caught up in the hype of buying vintage because there’s only the 1 item. You can end up buying pieces that don’t necessarily suit you but you just ‘had to have’. Take a step back and really visualize whether or not that piece will suit you and if it’s the right style. Do you already have something similar? Will it go well in your wardrobe? How easy will it be to style with other pieces? These are a few questions you should ask yourself before that impulsive urge takes over.
10. Be confident!
Remember to style your vintage with confidence and a smile! Be proud that you’ve chosen to wear something unique and different as opposed to what everyone else is wearing. I can guarantee you’ll get the most comments and compliments when you’re wearing vintage.
Photos by Sean Condon
7th May 2013
I’ve always been intrigued (and slightly baffled) by the process by which illustrators create their beautiful imagery, so I’m very happy that one of my all time favourite artists Kelly Smith (aka Birdy & Me) has agreed to shed some light on her process – from the first idea all the way through to the finished piece.
For those of you out there not familiar with her work, Kelly has the type of talent that most of us can only dream about – the ability to create whimsical and yet life like imagery that merges fashion and beauty to perfection. In short she draws life as we would all like to live it, full of flowers, pastels hues and perfectly tousled waves. Her illustrations have been commissioned by an awe inspiring number of magazines and brands, including Vogue, Net-a-Porter, H&M and Elle, and she is just about to publish the second book in a series entitled Sticker Fashionista. I couldn’t be more chuffed that Kelly took some of her precious time out to show us how she creates her amazing pieces, perfect for following along if you feel like honing your illustration skills (admittedly she makes it look easy when I imagine it’s anything but). Take it away Kelly!
There are so many different styles and techniques in illustration, and there’s definitely no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone has their own method and that’s what makes us all unique! So what I’m going to show you today is my process in 10 steps.
What I use:
- Pencils (HB, B, 2B and a super soft lead like 3H)
- Watercolour paints & brushes
- Adobe Photoshop.
Inspiration is the first step in any creative process. If you don’t have idea immediately, turn to what inspires you; imagery, nature, films, music – it can be anything. Once you have an idea you can start to gather images that reflect your vision.
2. REFERENCE IMAGERY
Create your reference image. Some illustrators work from their imagination. Others, like myself, work from reference imagery. I like to photograph my own images and collage them together with various others to create one picture to draw from. I’m pretty exact with this due to the realistic style of my work.
For this particular image I photographed myself holding an object of similar size to a skull. I then used images of flowers that I had photographed, along with the hair and facial features of various models that had been collaged together.
3. START SKETCHING
Using your reference image as a guide, start sketching out an outline. This will help you keep your proportions in tact before you start finalising the pencil work. Some people like to draw up grids to keep to scale. As I work on quite a small scale I prefer to draw rough lines over the reference image only so I can easily see where certain features or body parts line-up.
4. KEEP SKETCHING
Start refining your lines and existing pencil work. Don’t worry about going too thick or dark as you can erase these markings as you start to develop each area. We’re essentially ‘filling in the lines’ and developing depth and tone with shading and more refined pencil work.
5.TAKE A BREAK
Step back from your work. Have a break – grab a coffee or a cup of tea– and take 5 minutes out. Sometimes when you look at the something for too long, you can start to lose perspective. It’s really nice to take some time out and focus on something else for a little while and come back to a project with fresh eyes. This helps you to spot any flaws in the work, which you can then fix up or change.
The next step is to move the finished illustration onto the computer. I like to do this as soon as I’ve completed all pencil work, especially before I apply any paint or other medium. It means that you have a perfect digital copy of the work, just in case you make any mistakes! Unlike pencil, paint or ink does not rub out!
7. ADD WATERCOLOURS BY HAND
Sometimes I just add a little bit of colour digitally in photoshop, but this time I’m adding watercolour. It’s good to build the colour up slowly, so start with the lightest colour first and then add darker shades to create depth and texture.
When the paint is dry, scan the illustration again. Be careful to keep it perfectly straight on the glass so that both scans line up when you overlay them.
Adjust the layers/contrast/shadows on the original scan until you’re happy with the tones. Clean up any dust or smudges. I use the clone tool. Do the same with your painted scan.
10. LAYER IMAGES
Finally, overlay both of your scans so that you’re left with one image. Create one, or two, more layers, depending on how much colour you want to apply digitally. I like to add subtle colour to the face – digital make-up if you will!
Now that I’ve finished – save, save save! You should now be left with a perfect digital file of your illustration.
Thanks so much Kelly! You can purchase a print of one of Kelly’s drawings here, and make sure to check out her website for more of her gorgeous work and updates on her new book to be released this month.
22nd April 2013
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved beautiful handwritten notes, so you’ll understand my excitement when typography guru and self confessed font fanatic Gemma O’Brien (aka Mrs Eaves), offered to give us a lesson in hand lettering. Gemma rocketed to fame 5 years ago as a uni student with her viral youtube video Write Here, Write Now and has built, in just a few short years, an impressive body of work including hand drawn pieces for Canon (a favorite of mine) and Woolworths as well as a huge number of other creative projects such as developing the masthead for Peppermint Magazine, refreshing the title sequence for children’s tv show Playschool and designing 80th birthday invitations for ex-aussie Prime Minister Bob Hawke (see more of her work here). Today she’s going to show us the basics of hand lettering by making an exquisite hand drawn card – perfect for a friend or lover. Take it away Gemma!
Cast your mind back to primary school cursive practice and the quest to acquire your pen licence. Unless it’s a shopping list or a quick scribble… the hand written word seems to be a dying art these days. Lettering is different to calligraphy – it’s more like “drawing” letters – as opposed to creating them through the strokes of a nib or quill. For this reason, it’s quite accessible to all. You don’t need special tools … just a little practice. Once you’ve mastered your own style you’ll be beautifying the labels on your storage boxes and making hand lettered cards for every occasion.
Today, we are going to create a small card to accompany a bunch of flowers…with hand lettering that will read “Happy Days!”.
Step 1. Make a trip to your local art store or newsagency and gather a few supplies. You will need some nice paper with a bit of texture (watercolour paper can be quite good or Mi Tentes has a beautiful selection of cream and pastel papers available in A4 sheets), a 2B pencil, rubber, ruler and a variety of thicknesses of fine black markers… and of course some flowers.
Step 2. Select the size of card you wish to work with. My card is going to be A5 folded in half.
Step 3. Let’s start by drawing some guidelines just to help give our lettering a bit of loose structure. Eventually, after practice, you can draw the lettering freely without guidelines but initially its a good way to maintain consistency and balance to your work.
We are going to draw a baseline (this is the line upon which the letters sit), an x-height(this is the height of the body of the lowercase letters) , a cap height (the height of the capitals) and a stress guide line (this is an angled guide that you can use to give your lettering a certain degree of slant.) If you wish to do a little more background research into the anatomy of letters you can find a great source here. Make sure these guidelines you are drawing are quite faint so you can easily rub them off later.
Step 4. Once you have your guidelines in pencil you can roughly sketch you your letter shapes. Do not be disheartened if they don’t look great immediately. I think for this particular tutorial I wrote out “Happy Days” at least 20 times before I felt happy with it! Let the rhythm of your hand dictate the flow and start by simply drawing the “skeleton” of the lettering. It’s often helpful to look at existing examples of cursive and scripts. They can vary quite dramatically. Sometimes you can luck out and find some old books about scripts in second hand stores otherwise online font foundries have a wealth of reference and inspiration – check out this one.
05. After you are happy with the shape of you pencil skeleton you can start to add width with the strokes. This is where looking at reference comes in handy. Because you are “drawing” in the stroke width (rather than letting pressure or a brush stroke define it) it is helpful to look at examples of calligraphy and fonts to see where the contrasting thick and thins exist. While it’s important to keep the thicknesses relatively consistent across all letters, the nature of hand lettering is that there is always an element of human error… sometimes little mistakes can add character and interest. Once again … practice…practice … practice.
06. Lastly, trace over your sketch with one of the fine black pens and rub away the pencil with an eraser. If you’re working at a small scale like this it’s good to have 0.05 – 0.8 pens on hand. If working at large sizes using a brush pen or brush and ink is more appropriate. Now punch a hole in your card, and tie it to your flowers with a piece of twine…. Happy Days!