Editor's note: Recently The Penny Rose underwent a significant facelift. In addition to switching up our graphics, we gave our logo a boost by incorporating the lovely image, "Pretty Portrait," as seen above. Designed by fashion illustrator Jessica Durrant, this beautiful and fashionable portrait has been a hit with our readers. In working with Durrant, I was curious to hear more about her life as a fashion illustrator. Read on about this talented Atlanta-based artist.
How did you get into this line of work as a fashion illustrator?
I got my degree in illustration. I was always interested in fashion illustration, but I explored many paths in my studies. I enjoyed medical illustration, life drawing and museum administration. I worked in art museums and got into teaching part-time at local community arts centers. After traveling abroad for the first time in my life, I came back from Italy wanting to get back into creating art. It took several years of practicing and emulating my favorite artists' until I found my own voice as a creator and began selling my art. Once you start getting to a place where you are creating work you love and are confident about, and really express who you are, then the work comes. I had a firm belief that if I kept creating the best work I could, maybe people would notice. And I'm fortunate enough that my fans have shared my work, and that has allowed people in the industry to see my work and offer me freelance projects and that has given me outstanding press exposure.
Where did you receive your training?
I got my degree at Southern Utah University. I honestly don't think where or if you go to school matters. You're either born an artist or not. You can be successful if you're self-taught, or go to the highest form of education. It all boils down to if you are passionate and almost obsessive about what you create.
Are you able to make your living as a visual artist/fashion illustrator?
I am. It's pretty freaking awesome.
Where has your work been seen (magazines and such), and in what capacity?
My work has been seen on QVC.com, Glamour.com, Westfield Malls, Rue Magazine, UK's Living, Etc. magazine, The Little Green Notebook, ELLE Brazil, The Glamourai, IN London magazine and other publications worldwide.
How do you go about creating your images? Do you sketch from photographs or runway shows?
I base a lot of my work on editorial photographs from magazines and online sources. I own a lot of books, and I am inspired by music, movies, traveling and life itself.
For the Pretty Portrait image featured on The Penny Rose, where did this idea come from and why were you drawn to it?
I found a beautiful image of a woman. It's all about the face, attitude or outfit they are wearing. So much gets changed and altered during the process of creation. That's what makes it fun. You have references as starting points, and you just go where the painting takes you.
What do you love about being a fashion illustrator?
It indulges my feminine side. I love talking about fashion, and I love seeing how people put themselves together. I've been drawing people since I could hold a pencil, so to get paid for it and make people happy by doing so; it feels pretty darn good.
And, how would you describe your aesthetic?
I love strong lines, juxtaposed with free flowing watercolor. I love pen and watercolor, so most of my work is combining those elements. I try to evoke all sorts of emotions in my pieces. I love creating pieces that are contemporary but also have a throwback to my personal favorite fashion illustrators of the '50s and '60s. It's certainly feminine, sometimes edgy and dark, while other pieces are softer and pretty. What I create any given day is reflective of how I am feeling that very moment. My favorite pieces always end up being the ones that are more dark. Trees as Veins is one of my favorite pieces.