I was an early proponent of Cocosa - in fact, I bought my Pauric Sweeney 'Disco Bag' several years ago in one of their very first sales - but I've always thought of it as an exciting fashion sale site rather than somewhere to go for fashion news, style recommendations or general editorial content. However, the editorial side of Cocosa has been reaching out more and more into the digital realm, getting bloggers to select their favourite pieces from a given sale or write little introductions, for example. You can understand then that I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to come along last night to The Arch hotel in London to meet some of the editorial staff and have an exciting fashion illustration lesson just for us bloggers! Quite a few of us hadn't picked up a pencil since we were kids so we were understandably nervous at having the highly successful Clym Evernden critique our work. Of course there were a couple of bloggers who had happened to go to art college and their works were of a superior nature, but Clym was very positive about everyone and the two hours of drawing really flew by!
Our model for the evening, the über flexible Paul:
Clym taught us the fundamentals of producing a stylised illustration. First, we practised sketching the basic lines of the body in block pastels, using simple bars or curves to exaggerate the shapes and proportions. Then we moved onto isolating key regions of the form - bare skin, top, trousers - in our chosen colour scheme. The details were then layered on top using a pencil (oh, sorry, apparently artists call these 'crayons'...they didn't look much like my Crayola set at home!), and eventually we progressed to including an outlined silhouette, drawn in one smooth line without looking down at the page. I'm seriously considering practising this skill so I can sketch the models strutting by at fashion week. I thought only Patsy Stone did this, but Simon told me he'd seen Hilary Alexander scribbling away at the shows too! If only she had a beehive.
I'd never been to The Arch before (named after Marble Arch just around the corner) and it was suitably fancy. We had our lesson in the library, which was mainly filled with photography and art books, a miniature bar (yippee - I did have one too many proseccos) and the comfiest leather seats. I didn't get a chance to look at any of the bedrooms, but I'm guessing they were of a similarly high standard. Another place to add to my little black book, then...
Many thanks to the people at Cocosa, Talk PR, The Arch and, of course, Clym for the fascinating evening!