Francesca Waddell

Francesca Waddell is an amazing fashion illustrator whose work I only recently discovered through a mutual friend. She studied Fine Art Drawing & Painting at Glasgow School of Art and later while studying fashion design discovered how much she loved doing fashion illustrations. She describes her style as very feminine, fluid and painterly.

Since setting up in 2010 Francesca has created works for clients in the fashion and beauty industries, including Vogue Turkey, Bloomingdales, online fashion magazines Cellardoor, The Coveted Mag and The Skinny. Francesca has also created pieces for websites including Lily Wigglesworth Bags and Chamomile Sanctuary. She works as a freelance textile designer internationally to clients in the USA and Australia including work for Urban Outfitters, John Lewis and Calvin Klein.

Francesca has kindly agreed to share her enthusiasm for her fashion and fashion illustration with the following interview. I make no apologies for this picture heavy post it was no easy to task to choose a few from her plentiful portfolio, enjoy…

Your journey into the world of fashion illustration?
I was made redundant just before I got married, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would do fashion illustrations for friends and they often said – you should do this properly! I didn’t think I could do something I loved so much as it didn’t feel like proper work! It was my husband that encouraged me the most, he told me to get a blog and post up my work and contact magazines, I’d still be procrastinating if it wasn’t for him! After that it took off – I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner!

Your inspiration(s)?
Fashion magazines and fashion blogs – nothing beats a good trek around the shops or a walk in nature.

What makes a successful fashion illustration?
Sometimes they can be whimsical sometimes very graphic. I like when you can see the thought process in a drawing. I like the fluidity of line that can capture the essence of the subject.

Your favourite projects so far?
Bloomingdales was a lovely commission to do, possibly because it was my first big commission, they contacted me after seeing my blog, and were so lovely to deal with, emails were flying back and forth across the Atlantic, and I’d love waking up to my inbox each day! But I think it was my first commission for Vogue – I was so excited and buzzing to see my illustrations in my fashion bible!

Which fashion illustrators do you most admire?
I’m going to name check a few! David Downton – his use of line is incredible, just beautiful, I’m so in love with his work. Cecilia Carlstedt has a lovely femininity about her work, I also like the work of Tina Berning she is very original and Lovisa Burfitt her drawings have such energy to them and Yoco Nagamiya’s work is truly beautiful, I love her minimalist line. Oh and I love the beautiful French blogger Garance Doré ,she’s soooo cool!

The future?
I’m all about positive thinking and believe if you want something you can get it. I would love to be asked to illustrate for a big high street name like H&M or Topshop. And I would love to illustrate for a perfume or beauty campaign. Also I’d like to combine my love of fashion with my illustrations somehow, maybe I’ll do a collaboration with a fashion designer who knows. Having just had my first child I’m thinking about a children’s book, I’m all about picture books right now, they are exciting me with their tactile-ness and collages and bright colours and shapes, but where would I find the time right now I don’t know!

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