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Bil Donovan Fashion Illustration Demo

In case you didn’t know, fashion illustration rocks my freaking world. I tend to choose consumer products based on artwork. Illustration communicates a mood the product is selling and I’m a sucker for it. I love illustrating products and clothing in watercolor it’s so moody and versatile. Which is why when I got the chance to watch Bil Donovan paint at the Society of Illustrators I damn near lost my cookies.

Bil Donovan has been illustrating forever, When I was designing at Magaschoni his art work graced the walls of the entry way which always elicited a moment of silence as I passed by. Seriously, his watercolors are so dreamy. The 3 hour demo was awesome, intimate and thrillingly inspirational. Bil answered questions as he sketched and talked about how he began (an exclusive contract with Dior, geezus) he even did a sketch of me, Swoon!

Donovan Sketch of me

Bil started with warm up sketches while observing a model. Sketching with the brush, he shows how “easy” it is…

Warm up sketching
Donovan and Model
Warm Up Sketches

…to work the watercolor in a lucid wash fusing passages with expressive blooms and lost edges.

(please forgive the blurry photos I was just too damn excited and couldn’t hold the camera still)


The model as “muse” is no joke, these models were amazing and inspiring, I wanted to draw from them myself.

Donovan is such an energetic painter, you can see while he works how much he loves doing this. He interacts with his models and captures the spirit of the pose.

Using mostly flat brushes he nails the gesture and suggests the features of the face so perfectly. I tend to use all rounds myself, but I will be sure to try some of the techniques he showed us.

Donovan in Action

It was awesome to meet and watch one of my all time favorite illustrators at work. Thank you Bil!

Jimin myself and Bil Donovan

(thank you Damian at SCIsquared for the above photo)