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Perth, Amstralia
Pippa McManus creates illustrations that stay etched in your memory long after you’ve
looked at the beautiful images. Her well-known works include illustrations of women on a
monochromatic acrylic background with the focus on the womans hair and eyes. She always
includes Æowers somewhere in the piece. When she creates an illustration she goes through
what she calls her mental rolodex of past fashion editorials and fashion shows, choosing var-
ious reference images from pieces that she loves—the face from one image, the pose or hair
from another. When creating a commissioned piece she makes a small pencil sketch based
on her reference or assigned subject and then describes the composition and style so that the
client can see how the end product will look. If she is painting or drawing for herself, she’ll
just start creating on her canvas. ¹I was taught in art class in primary school never to use an
eraser, so that means I have to work Cthe illustrationE out thoroughly Årst or let my mistakes
become part of the piece.º
IMMERSED IN THE WORLD OF
FASHION: PIPPA MCMANUS
One of the best things I learned while
studying was mistakes lead to great things!
Pippa McManus has been illustrating professionally for more than a decade. She stud-
ied Åne art, fashion, and textile design at the Western Australian School of Art Design
& Media. In addition to attending fashion week shows in Sydney, where she sketches
the fashions as they come down the runway, her work has been featured in magazines,
exhibited in galleries, and even replicated on fashionable tote bags.
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THE ART OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION | PART 1: THE EMERGING MASTERS
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Gemma for Prada
¹One of my favorite
models is Gemma
Ward, and I painted
this just after I met her
at a friend’s thirtieth
birthday party in our
mutual hometown
of Perth, Western
Australia. It was quite
embarrassing: I was
completely starstruck
and hardly remember
anything about the
encounter (possibly also
due to a little too much
Champagne!). So I knew
I had to do her justice
and redeem myself
when I painted her the
next week. The original
picture is from a Prada
advertisement; this was
also my Årst experiment
using white spray paint
rather than only black,º
says McManus.
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Byzantine Barbara ¹I was quite obsessed with model Barbara Palvin at the
time I did this. She was just starting to get some big contracts like Victoria’s
Secret and L’Oreal where she was portrayed in quite an overly sexy and
seductive way, so I wanted to do an ‘innocent Barbara.’ The client forwarded
me some beaded and embellished gowns and jewelry that she liked, so I chose
what I liked from her selection and ‘dressed’ Barbara. I used metallic paint
pens for the complicated jewelry. Unlike a loaded brush they don’t run out as
frequently,º says McManus.
Marcelina in Mustard ¹I was coming up with ideas for my next
exhibition, and kept bookmarking images of girls reclining, half asleep
and half awake, and in soft relaxed poses as opposed to ‘the high fash-
ion, right angles, and hard expressions’ look that I had been painting at
that time,º McManus says. ¹I also wanted to start painting patterns, or
more speciÅcally painting painted textile patterns, a replica of a replica
of a replica! The piece Æowed so easily as I painted her; she was the Årst
for the exhibition, which I always think is a predictor for the way the
rest of the work will get executed. I decided to give her bright red lips
so they would pop out from the mustardy color palette.º
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