An Ongoing Collection Of Fashion Illustrations With Attitude

Russian born artist, Maxim Sergeev’s, collection of fashion illustration feature women who, even in simple watercolour form, seem to hold their own. Delicate lashes decorate gazelle-like eyes and accessories both brighten the black and grey lines of the sketch and encourage the observers to elaborate on the piece themselves.

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Varying between dreamy, Parisian coffee-table sketches and sharp, detailed portraits, self-taught artist, Maxim’s, drawings capture the magic, the beauty and the diversity in fashion.

Using a mixture of watercolour pencils, pastels and ink to capture both atmosphere and outfit, Maxim’s illustrations have attitude, depth and drip with glamour. What is particularly captivating about the images are that they appear simple, they are soft to look at and, even when portraying clashing prints, are not overwhelming.

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Yet there is a punchy undertone throughout and this balance between simplicity, the hard-to-achieve art of making something look effortless, and the multi-faceted is what makes Maxim’s collection so extraordinary.

An experimentation of colour, clothing and clean lines set the sketches apart: they are a comment on the fashion world and on the versatility of simplicity.

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We spoke to the artist about his opinion on the unbreakable bond between art and fashion.

The Plus: How do you choose what to sketch?
Maxim Sergeev:
When I draw – I take inspiration from everywhere – from urban landscapes to people in public transport.
Sometimes when I walk past a window or advertisement – I’ll think, “damn, I should quickly draw it”. I have to work on the illustration for half an hour otherwise I can’t remember enough detail about it later on to complete it.
I have a large base of photo references, photos of fashion and non-fashion photos but mostly I love to draw accessory portraits – hats, earrings, beads and so on. I try to use different ideas, techniques and materials all the time so that my creativity never becomes stagnant.

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TP: What is your artistic background?
MS:
I have always drawn since I was a kid: I drew robots, knights, castles and, later on, more serious images such as image reproductions of some book illustrations or portraits of friends.

TP: How did you first get into fashion sketching?
MS:
I began drawing professionally five years ago. I started as a computer graphics artist at a brokerage company that specialised in advertising and illustrations. I drew advertising banners; illustrations for booklets or humorous comics but soon lost interest. I decided to switch to the traditional methods of illustration and begun to try oil, acrylic, watercolor and other techniques. Around the same time I discovered illustrations by Antonio Lopez, Rene Gryuo or Tony Viramontes. I was really impressed by their work and decided to improve my fashion illustration skills.

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TP: How do you think fashion and art are linked?
MS:
There is an unbreakable bond between art and fashion. From the beginning, fashion had a strong place in any kind of art – including theatre, sculpture and painting. It is no secret that many designers such as Galliano McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and, my favorite, Gaultier, used ideas taken from traditional art within their collections. Later fashion illustrators use their collection in the works – it is a continuous cycle.

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