Dutch illustrator Sella Molenaar knows a thing or two about fashion. With thousands of followers on Instagram, on top of collaborations with clients like Dolce & Gabbana, L’Officiel, and H&M, her fashion illustrations clearly have an audience.
But being a self-taught artist, her journey to fashion illustrations was a meandering one. “I always wanted to be a fashion designer so I went to the famous academy in Antwerp but stopped in the first year,” she recalled in an interview with I Love Illustration. “After I moved to Amsterdam during my masters in Art History I just desperately needed a job and decided to go draw on festivals and weekend markets for voluntary donations. Just because I was already always drawing anyway and it seemed so much more fun than working in a cafe or coffee bar. This was in a time that nobody was doing live illustration yet, so I got picked up really quickly,” she says.
Working first as a live illustrator, her style is loose and full of movement – capturing the dynamic spirit of fashion. “My style is still very defined by the early days where I used to draw on the streets, catwalks or at events so you always have to be quick,” Molenaar explained. “Therefore, my drawings always have a sense of speed in them.”
With no sketches to rely on (or even erasers), her work cuts to the chase. “I often make several versions of one theme and add on tho earlier drawings or take different parts from others till it will emerge into something that feels right for me,” she says. “I always try to balance technique with a bit of impulsiveness. It are often the little accidents, ‘faulty’ lines and even things that you don’t draw that make my illustrations come alive.”
See for yourself.