Conversations: Fashion Illustrator Jessica Bird
I’m originally from Scotland, but I’ve been living in London for the last four years! I studied Fashion Design at university and then worked for a few years as a designer and in press, before becoming an illustrator. I have always drawn. My mum encouraged me to be creative every single day ever since I was a child. When I got a bit older, I began shadowing my uncle, Stephen Bird, in his ceramic studio in Dundee during school holidays. I just loved the environment and community there.
Photo by Bart Pajak
I guess it was just a natural progression. I had been life drawing weekly and using pastels and charcoal in my work here and there. My fashion background made me want to draw clothed bodies as well as nude ones! I love the direction that fashion illustration is moving to right now, because it’s become so inclusive and diverse in terms of style. There are so many amazing new fashion illustrators and everyone’s work is very different.
In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you do/your company does?
I tend to draw more of a fashion portrait than a full body illustration which is what you may expect from a more traditional fashion illustration. I think its more about capturing the mood and the essence of a collection. I work quite quickly with pastels and charcoal, and I don’t get too concerned with creating something accurate or tidy. My work is quite raw and spontaneous and I like that it can’t to be replicated, even by me.
The opportunities! The people in London motivate me to be honest. You meet so many interesting people with so many interesting ideas, and there is so much creativity going around. It’s so exciting to be able to collaborate and work together, to be a part of different projects, and to inspire each other.
Columbia Road Flower Market - every, single, week. Even if I’m not buying flowers, it’s just a lovely atmosphere, I love to look at what flowers other people buy, maybe have a beer outside at The Birdcage and a mooch around the cute shops.
Great Art in Shoreditch. They just have the most amazing selection of art materials, I tend to get most of my materials from them - I really am like a kid in a candy shop in there.
I tend to use AirBnB now when I travel rather than a hotel - I was recently in Italy and stayed in the most beautiful apartment with a big balcony overlooking the Riomaggiore called the RioRooms. I’ve never seen anything like Riomaggiore - the colours were just so inspiring!
The Birdcage Columbia Road Flower Market