Friday, February 15, 2013

Plan B

around 1972 - marker and colored pencil illustration by Karen Winslow

around 1973 - watercolor and charcoal - part of 2 page spread

around 1974 - black & white illustration for  Butterick 

1973 - 2 page spread in watercolor & charcoal 

1975 - black & white illustrations for Butterick

1976 - Black & White illustrations for Butterick
Making a living as an artist takes various forms.  Drawing can take you in many different directions.  Before I studied painting at the Art Students League, I studied fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY.  After graduating I became a staff artist for Simplicity and McCall's Patterns, and eventually, I freelanced for McCall's and Butterick, as well as JC Penney and Gimbels.  Freelancing allowed me to studied painting.  It was funny to switch gears....producing "cute" illustrations for a living, but studying Classical drawing and painting at the same time.  Back then, I avoided telling anyone in my painting class that I did commercial work.  Now, I look back with fondness.  

The truth is that everything we do and learn in life will help us.  The years of rendering prints and fabrics for the pattern industry helped in my painting.  Putting figures together for illustrations can help in figure compositions.  You can still recognize the whimsy that comes through in some of my toy paintings now.  We expand on what we know and love, but our personalities will emerge...but with more skill and taste (hopefully).

If you learn to draw, there are ways of making a living.  For me, back in the early seventies, producing illustrations for pattern companies was a fun way.  The children's patterns were the most fun, but I illustrated teens and misses clothing, as well.  

Having dug a bunch of these old illustrations out made me realize that I was much braver back then.  I had no problem just making things up and composing multiple figures, and seeing them has just inspired me to do this again...and I will be trying to concentrate on more figurative work in my painting.


Laura said...

Hey Karen... I loved this!!! yes.. Our past was great... and you were awesome...just like you are today!!! thanks for sharing that... I loved it
Keep movin forward... love you very much

toile la la said...

Wonderful to see some information about the work of a sewing pattern illustrator - and I especially appreciate seeing the work you created during those years, Karen.

This is an important aspect of your development as an artist and a very significant view into the histories of fashion, sewing, illustration, and the lives of female artists.

Karen Winslow said...

Thank you so much!!