Conversations: Fashion Illustrator Sue Dray
My work as a fashion illustrator is about drawing from the catwalk. I am bi-annually invited to draw at London Fashion Week to draw the runway looks of different designers. I quickly discovered that the runway was my studio. It’s where I feel the most inspired - I love the madness and full on creativity.
My current project is at the Villa Lena Foundation in Tuscany, as an Artist in Residence and Creative Contributor. This experience has allowed me to experiment with oils as a medium, which is something I have wanted to do forever. The heat is so intense that, as soon as I lay out my palette in acrylics, they dry up immediately! So using oil paints allow me to slow down and let the paint weave its magic. I am planning an exhibition in London and Florence exhibiting the outcome of the work produced in this residency next year
"It’s the constant practice that gives you the confidence to make your lines dance. It takes only minutes to draw, but a lifetime of practice to be confident in your mark and just let it be."
How I push my boundaries is by staying young at heart. I suppose it’s never getting caught in a time trap and always looking to the future. When Apple asked me to test its new iPadPro for them with their new Apple pencil, I jumped at the chance and I saw the future of illustration.
London is my home town and I adore it. It’s a diverse mix of people and cultures, so you can never be bored or uninspired. I travel from my home in Battersea Park to locations all over London just so I can draw. My favourite sessions are with the Arts Model Collective who put on amazingly detailed and meticulously themed drawing evenings at the Underdog Gallery in London Bridge. I travel to Dalston for their infamous Sketch Sesh evenings.
I am always looking for vintage or charity clothes and love to find unusual finds. I also can’t resist buying jewellery and the basement at Grey’s Antique Market in Bond Street is the perfect place to get reasonably priced 50s and 60s pieces. The last piece I brought was a single silver hand by Askew and everyone comments on it - such a find. If you are ever in Amsterdam and love vintage, you have to visit Laura Dols on Wolvenstraat it’s a hidden gem and the clothes are impeccable and carefully selected.
One of my favourite Italian restaurants in New York, il buco, has just opened in Ibiza , and you have to visit if you find yourself in either places. In Paris, I like Le Barbe du Papa in Rue Lentonnet. It can be found just around the corner from The Paris College of Art in the Gard du Nord district and is for the local Parisians. The food is totally authentic, as is the atmosphere. However, I always think that the best places to drink, eat, and be entertained are the places you find yourself by being curious and venturing out!
Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies