California native Sarah Dahl is a triple threat: illustrator, fashion designer, and graphic designer. But she readily admits that her first love was illustration, as seen in her new step-by-step illustration books “Rock Star Style” and “Hollywood Style.”
“It hit me when I was four or five years old,” Dahl said, attributing the influence to storybooks and old fairytales, noting Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm as her favorites.
Her work in fashion illustration—an art that’s been around for almost five centuries—most recently includes sketches of Tadashi Shoji‘s collection. Dahl says what she loves most about fashion illustration (as opposed to fashion photography) is that “it’s one person’s view—no art director, no makeup team—it’s one singular vision.”
“With photography, it’s literal,” said Brandon Graham, a friend of Dahl’s and brand manager of WouldYouRockThis.com. “With illustration, you have parts that aren’t there,” Graham said, adding that the empty spaces allow the mind to connect with the artwork on an unconscious level.
Similarly, Dahl says in her step-by-step-illustration books (written by Mari Bolte) the young girls are also able to connect with the characters they draw.
“It’s really encouraging young girls in their formative years to figure out who they are,” she said, explaining that they can be a movie star, a musician, a career woman, etc. through the characters they’re drawing. It’s a decision, says Dahl, that a young girl should have control over.
“Before reading and writing, I learned to communicate through drawing,” Dahl said, posing the question how does one communicate how they see the world, their family, what they want to be when they grow up, and other abstract concepts. “There’s so many ways that kids explain how everything is the way it is,” she said.
Dahl said she remembers what it was like to be the age of the girls she’s drawing for. “So I put myself in the shoes of my 9 or 10 year old self,” she said. “What did she want to see?”
Along that same vein, Dahl is looking forward to the way fashion photography is reinventing itself by merging with illustration, a new trend in the industry.
“I think we’ve explored a lot of what photography can do,” she said, adding that now with retouching as such a standard in the industry, “the average consumer can’t trust what’s in magazines.”
Dahl says she’s ready to see a return of the intimacy and spontaneity that fashion illustration exudes. And with more step-by-step illustration books on the horizon, she’s training up the next generation to sketch the welcome mat.
This article was written by rainemagazine.com guest blogger, Sierre Leone Starks, visit her site HERE.