Monday, October 1, 2012

Spotlight On: Inslee by Design

My favorite, favorite, favorite fashion illustrator Inslee Haynes is the responsible party behind my amazing new blog header, as you know. She let me into her new studio space for a mini tour recently and I couldn't wait to share it with you! I finally also sat down to do a little Spotlight On with Inslee, who has become not only a great addition to this blog but a great addition to New York City and my circle of inspiring friends! Read on to get to know her, her process, and her loves as well as see some pictures of her newly acquired studio space!

How did you begin sketching?

I began sketching before I even remember. My very supportive family always paper and markers out at toddler level, and after that at miniature child easel level. I can't pinpoint a starting point, it's just how I express myself!

 I actually introduced my parents through sketching. My mother and I sadly lost my father to cancer when I was only two. Because it suddenly became just us girls, I was companion number one for mom. She took me to everything with her, even political fundraiser dinner parties. One evening when I was about five I got bored at a political dinner and she asked a nice man to borrow his pen so I could doodle on the paper table cloth. A year later they were married. He adopted me as his daughter and the three of us became illustration headquarters.
(Ed Note: This made us tear up. So sweet.)

{sweet Inslee at her desk!}

What do you use to do your sketches?

I start with light pencil sketches to get proportions and ideas organized. I use Arches hot pressed paper. It has a beautiful, very smooth grain that allows me to capture lots of detail. I then use Windsor & Newton watercolors. I outline my sketches in black ink - prima archival pens.

Explain your process - literally or creatively - when you sit down to start.

Well, if I have the luxury of "drawing for me" I usually start by spotting someone fabulous passing by on the street and committing their outfit to memory. Sometimes I start by browsing twitter and pinterest to see whats happening. Other times an amazing idea will come to me in the darkest moments of pigeon pose in yoga class.

The majority of the time though, I am working on commissions. So my process starts with a conversation with a client about what they are hoping to convey. I love this step. It's fun to get a glimpse inside someone else's life and style and ideas. I'm often impressed by the outfits my clients put together. I'll catch myself saying "I would have never thought of that with that!"

Where do you get inspiration from?

All around me! I feel so lucky to live in such an inspiring place. And of course, there's nothing more impressive and encouraging than learning from other young entrepreneurial women. I love following the creative progress of bloggers and other business owners. I'm inspired every day by this amazing community and love that I have found so many of these inspirations through sharing my art through social media.

Who are some of your favorite clients you've worked with?

I'm working with Jouer Cosmetics right now which is a lot of fun. Christina Zilber, the company's founder has great taste so I am loving bringing her ideas to life. Can't wait to share the newest sketch with everyone.  (Ed Note: Check them out here on her blog)

I've also really enjoyed working with Moda Operandi, Leontine Linens, Jacques Levine, Neiman Marcus & Cusp and Kate Spade this year to name a few. And of course, my favorite clients are always my brides. Love any opportunity to sneak a peak at anyone's wedding albums!

{selected archives}

What's a typical day like for you?

I love structure and organization, so even though I can make my own hours, I always wanted a 9 to 5. Weird for an artist right? So I treat my illustration schedule like a "normal" job. I try to get out the door by 8 am Monday through Friday and to my studio and work solidly through the work day. I start with answering emails from new clients and following up on existing projects. I try to at least read (if not reply to) everything in my inbox before I put pen to paper so that I make sure I have all the information I need to figure out what is top priority for the day. Then, if there's time I'll take a little time out to sketch something for my blog. I spend the rest of the day working on commissions and following up with clients. (and sometimes having lovely afternoon get togethers with bloggers like yourself!)

{her chic way of keeping her utensils organized and handy}

Your social media has blown up. Why do you think people are so attracted to your sketches?

I don't know, but I pray they stay interested! I think that the old saying "a picture speaks a thousand words" applies heavily to how people respond to social media. If a twitter follower sees ones of my tweets with a link to my blog, they can open that link and see one of my sketches they can and quickly enjoy something (hopefully) pretty or interesting, as opposed to being directed to an article that is more time consuming. Does that make sense? Social media moves so fast, so I think people are drawn to the quick, fresh feel of illustrations that are shared through this platform.

Anyone you'd love to sketch/sketch for?

I've been thinking a lot about starting to make more of an outreach with fashion influencers and bloggers. I'm so tired of not having live models to work from. It would be a dream to work with someone one on one and to sketch them in real life. I hope I can get organized and start working with clients in this way. I think my followers would love to see this type of personal collaboration with bloggers they admire. 
(Ed Note: We LOVE the way ours turned out!)

{the cool lighting above the glass conference table}

I love your taste! Can you let us in on your favorite: nail color, piece of furniture, flower, candle, style icon, food?

I love that you love my taste. I love YOUR taste! Ok.... in that exact order: 
NAIL: Essie "Lilacism"
FURNITURE: everything by Society Social 
FLOWER: white ranaculus and pink peonies
STYLE ICON: Imaginary combined fashion fairy godmother of Kate Middleton+Katie Ermilio+Jean Shrimpton+Oscar's Balmain years
FOOD: and a conflicting tie between arugula and truffle fries

Any tips for someone running a small business?

It may be "fluff" but treat it like it is brain surgery! 

Follow Inslee on twitter and instagram @inslee!

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