NEW YORK – Started from 2014, New York based artist Denise Elnajjar have found her ways of being a professional fashion illustrator with less than a year. Her unique style of using watercolours with drawing fashionable subjects has created many vivid images that are published in magazine and showed at New York Fashion Week.
View in MAGAZINE HERE
F: Tell us something about you, and how do you define yourself?
D: I was actually born in New York City and raised in Hudson county, across the river. New York is an amazing place for fashion and art—I never get bored here. I love adventure and I view the world through the lens of an artist and fashion illustrator—a wonderfully cut cloth, a breeze on the horizon, a walk on a cobblestone street. I am a passionate person and I believe in doing what you love.
F: Do you see yourself as an artist and why?
D: I do. As a fashion illustrator you have the potential to create a moment, a gesture frozen in time. There is something beautiful in that.
F: What is your lifestyle and a regular daily routine like?
D: Right now I’m always on the go! I like to start off my day with a good breakfast—I really believe in starting your day right. I’m very productive in the mornings and I am also a night owl. Creativity and energy can fluctuate, so I try my best with a busy work schedule. Sometimes in between work I like to go to industry events in the city, or sketching nights for illustrators. These are usually in the evening.
F: What’s your motivation to start your career as an illustrator?
D: I was always drawing women as a child, and really didn’t know that people could truly do this for work until much later. I had an “A-ha!” moment one day while shopping, and saw Izak Zenou’s gorgeous illustrations on a pack of notecards. I bought them immediately and hung them up on my dresser as my inspiration.
F: Are you a full time illustrator?
D: Even though I started my illustration career less than a year ago, I’ve become a full-time illustrator in the past couple of months while working full-time during the day. It’s definitely been interesting, and uniquely rewarding! I plan to continue illustrating full-time and collaborating with great brands, creatives, and publications.
F: Do you find it competitive for being a fashion illustrator and how do you stay competitive?
D: It’s definitely a ripe time to be a fashion illustrator. Staying competitive involves offering something unique to the table. It can take a lot of practice developing one’s own style, but once it starts happening, it really makes a difference.
F: You were invited to collaborate with New York Fashion Week S/S 2015 season. Can you tell us more about that experience?
D: It was so exciting. I was invited to illustrate the SS15 show for Harare NY. I learned a lot that day, the tricks of the trade! Just like fashion, the shows move quickly—I learned that only having a few supplies on you is best. Live illustrating is wonderful for quick gestures, and depending on the project you are invited to do, you can also create more detailed illustrations once it’s over. The show for Harare was so beautiful, the designs remained exciting for me to draw because I loved the story behind the brand.
F: Have you experienced any challenge or difficulty in pursuing your career as an illustrator? If you have, what are the challenges and difficulties?
D: In the beginning there are definitely a great number of challenges. There are a lot of things I learned by trying, without having the chance to get advice from an expert. You are your own marketing team! Something an illustrator can get better at with time is assessing the value of one’s work. Also when you’re first starting out, it can be intimidating, like being in a sea of people trying to find your own path.
F: What was the milestone in your career?
D: Even though I still consider myself at the beginning of my career, I have definitely had several milestones. Most recently I saw my illustration in the February 2015 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. My illustration was of beautiful designs by Omani designers Endemage, and the magazine article was about their great designs and inspirations. It was an honor to have my work included.
F: Is there any new upcoming project in to share with FANIQUE?
D: Right now I’m working on several projects that are really exciting, one of which is a collaboration with a great European brand that has lots of style!
F: What are your tips and suggestions to these who want to build their career as an illustrator?
D: Never lose hope! It’s going to be tough in the beginning. Rejection is everywhere. Always try, try, and try again. Keep practicing your skills and also create a business plan and things will fall into place.
“Art and fashion are so deeply connected with each other. Fashion at its greatest potential is the artistic expression of ourselves.”