What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

January 2, 2016  20:55  |  Let’s talk

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

Illustrations: www.erinwhitty.com

The most famous Australian fashion illustrator Erin Whitty admits that aside from the pleasure she gets from her career, she enjoys the independence that her job gives her. Fashion and drawing were her biggest hobbies since she was a child, she says. “Of course, turning my hobby into my business has been daunting at times, but now I am doing what I have always felt was my true purpose.”

Erin was three-year-old when she first encountered herself putting her outfits together and starting to explore the local flea markets in a search for interesting things to wear. Then, at the age of 8-9 she began reading teen fashion mags and trying to emulate the latest fashion looks with the bits and pieces she unearthed at the markets: “Around this time I also started copying the figures in a ‘Betty & Veronica’ comic book, which was pretty popular at that time, and drew my own fashion figures.”

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

Photo: Erin Whitty personal archive

It was the role of a beauty editor, which was Erin’s takeoff in fashion industry. However, she admits being a full-time beauty editor is all-consuming, as when not in the office you must still visit events, advertiser dinners or try products at home. As that kind of a lifestyle was not what Erin desired for, she took the opportunity to work three days a week and explore illustration properly: “My Instagram posts were noticed by one of the local magazines and that was how it all started for me! I have actually left beauty writing recently so that I could focus on illustration full time. It has always been a massive passion and now it feels so good to return to my first love.”

The list of Erin’s clients is impressive: Nivea, Neutrogena, Pandora, Myer, however, the talented Australian finds it the live illustration project she is proud of the most. “The live illustration event at the Canberra Centre shopping Centre has taken a place earlier this year. I have painted nearly 150 people in 15 hours. No templates were used, so each painting was unique, and I had a queue for miles! Many customers have read that I would be there and turned up in their best outfits, including some really cute little kids!“

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

What makes Erin special in a world of illustration? Most probably, it is the versatility of this young woman and a flexible approach towards constantly changing fashion: pencil, watercolor, oil, pastel or the combination of all of these components – there are so many ways of self-expression and Erin uses them all. She is also keen on sharing her experience with students during the watercolor workshops organized by her. “These are more like team-building group therapy workshops to businesses. It is a workplace that empowers employees with the knowledge that they are able to achieve something they may not have realized they ever could. The workshops enrich their experience of the company and boost morale. My lessons suit all levels of ability and can be customized to suit a company or brand message.  I honestly find it very rewarding to see students change their attitude from “I can’t” to “I can”. Almost everyone is surprised by their ability to create a beautiful, frame-worthy piece of art.”

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

Already having tried drawing from a picture and from a live model Erin says it is difficult to choose which way is best, but she loves them both. However, drawing during the fashion event is far more challenging: “When you draw live you must make fast decision and look at the subject more than the paper. You also need a good eye, as you cannot use the tools and techniques you might employ at home. It is just you, a brush, some paint and sometimes a stopwatch while a model stares back at you expectantly! Anyways, it is a lot of fun. Fashion events are one of those times I get to work with people in person, as most of the time it is just me in my studio. Since the beginning of my career I have illustrated during fashion events at shopping centers, store openings and also the horse races where the Australians do really get into the spirit of dressing up.”

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?

Asked about inspirations, Erin admits that she is constantly checking the fashion magazines and watching the runway shows, however, it is nature that inspires her the most: “Hence all the flower pictures on my Instagram feed! (Laughing.) I am really into bright, highly saturated images and have been bringing more vibrancy into my work lately. What is my typical day? I am sure you hear this from creatives all the time – every day is the different one. I am always working on some kind of project, whether for a client or my portfolio and every job is different. When I am not painting, I put on my “business hat” and update erinwhitty.com, sending my latest works for potential clients. I dream about running art workshops overseas and illustrating live at the international runway shows for magazines or online platforms. I believe the illustration extracts the energy and spirit of fashion and amplifies it in a beautiful and expressive way.”

What makes Erin Whitty special in the world of illustration?


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