Overdue is proud to showcase a special selection of artwork by Poppy Waddilove, an illustrator whose unique ability to capture the subject’s essence and emotion in a few delicate strokes has seen her work featured in Vogue and Tatler. Natasha Lakic talked to Poppy about her creative process and where she finds inspiration for her beautiful illustrations.
When did you first discover your passion for fashion illustration? How did you start? And also, why fashion, why not fine art?
It was always just there as a child without me really understanding it. I used to be in my room drawing for hours different clothing designs and quite elegant looking women in my notebook — it just would come out of me. I was quite inspired by my mum — I used to draw from her a lot as she’s always been an elegant, poised woman and someone who I’ve always looked up to. Then in Central Saint Martins I studied fashion design at foundation and I think that’s when it clicked — I just loved drawing not just the clothing but the people who wore them, it seemed more natural than anything else. So I went to study fashion illustration at London College of Fashion.
You seem to be able to capture the emotion with, what it looks like, minimal strokes, so tell us more about your creative process.
I’m really drawn to emotion. I think for me it is when I got into nude live drawing in my 20s. I was drawing a lot with a sharpened graphite pencil and my strokes just seemed very swift and quite emotion led. The strokes have progressed more into paint. I use three different sized paint brushes and build a first to second layer of colour — then use these variations of strokes on top, I’m quite attracted to the idea of vulnerability and strength together which is what I hope to convey in my women.
That definitely comes out in your artwork, when looking at your portraits I can see how people connect to your subjects straight away. Where do you find inspiration, do you have an ideal subject?
Colour really inspires me as again it’s very emotion led. Beautiful and fragile interiors with views and grand towering buildings. Also women in beautiful clothing. I have no ideal subject — whatever gets my heart fluttering, I either take a photograph or screenshot an image for a later date.
Future definitely looks bright for you, do you have any goals or is there anything you haven’t had a chance to paint yet and would love to do?
My goal is to have a book published of my artwork. I would love to paint at a couture show as I love the grandness of clothing and the elaborate environments of where they are displayed. I am also keen to collaborate with more hotels and interior design companies — that’s the direction I am hopefully heading towards.
What do you have coming up, anything exciting coming up that you’d like to mention?
I’m hesitant to mention what’s coming up, I’m a bit careful that way!! But there are exciting things in the works — including my work being on scarves and potentially a very huge project that I have to keep secret. I will let you know!
How so you see social media influencing artists these days? Have you noticed things changing since you’ve started? What’s your attitude towards social media in general?
Social media has its positives and negatives. I love instagram — I choose to see it in a positive light. It has helped me so much with reaching out to inspiring people and get my work seen by people all around the world. I’ve also been so lucky to receive support, build new friendships and receive jobs/commissions through it — so it’s been an overall good experience for me.
It has become a lot more saturated now though and sometimes it can make artwork seem less meaningful at times (you can fall into a trap for creating for your audience rather than yourself). But I think it’s just about setting boundaries for yourself, not becoming too consumed with it — viewing it in more of a light hearted way and always remembering the core of your work. It’s important to not let it define you and to build meaningful work/personal connections away from it as well.
One more thing… what’s your proudest moment of your career and also what’s your most notable achievement that made you think “I’m there now”?
I think my proudest moment was when I was recently selected by the fashion designer, Peter Dundas to be a part of his fashion illustration exhibition at Miami Art Basel. Being chosen by Peter was amazing and having my work featured alongside extremely established artists who I’ve admired for a long time such as David Downton and Bil Donavon was incredible.
Also illustrating the Golden Globes for Vogue was a massive highlight and being featured in Town and Country for my interior artworks. That was a really special and happy moment for me.
No matter how honoured I’ve been to be a part of these projects, not once have I thought that I’ve made it. I feel like I still have a long way to go and that’s what keeps driving me.
See more in OVERDUE Issue #002 Out Now and available here.