BEAUTY ILLUSTRATIONS FOR ROUGE MAGAZINE, CHINA AND REALISING MY STYLE

Helen Simms

A couple of months ago I was contacted by ROUGE Magazine, China, and asked to create 6 beauty illustrations to show the upcoming trends for this fall. The brief specified that “one part of the face should be accentuated and the rest could be more abstract. We’ve seen this in some of your work”.

They sent across six photographic reference images of the trends for me to work from and immediately I loved the brief! They were just the kind of photographic references that I would have chosen myself. I also seemed to have some kind of epiphany during this commission – as in, “oh yeah, that is my style (duh!)” and as such, it was definitely one of the most flowing and enjoyable commissions I have created so far. I’m hoping to further develop this style and will share the finished illustrations once they are published – but for now here are some in progress shots….

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Alexander McQueen Illustration for ROUGE Magazine, China
Alexander McQueen Illustration for ROUGE Magazine, China

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watercolour eye Helen Simms

A Moment in Time

Helen Simms J Crew earrings website

 

 

 

In this illustration I’ve tried to create more fluidity in my work – so it was all about letting go and getting into the flow of it rather than thinking too much. So fun to create. What do you think?! x

 

Stripped Back

stripped bare small

 

 

My lovely friend Alex recently sat for me. I had asked to paint her for a few reasons;

 

1. She is one of the most beautiful people I know – both inside and out!

2.She has been a huge supporter of my work, right from the beginning …. and a cup of tea or (more likely) glass of wine with Alex can set the world to rights on days when I am questioning what the hell I am doing with my life.

3.I knew it would be fun and we could have a bit of a catch up …..

And we did! But what surprised me most about the whole process, was the fact that this stunningly beautiful girl was actually really self conscious. I took some snaps on the day and made the mistake of letting her see some when she asked. “Noooooo! Ugh, I look awful. Delete, Delete, Delete! Pleeease!” No-one likes themselves in photographs (unless perhaps you are Gisele)! But in the end, Alex put her trust in me and I’m so glad she did.

I must admit to being super nervous to show her this work. I tried so many versions before I eventually stripped the whole thing back and just made it about the lines of her face and her eyes – pretty much the first thing I noticed about her.

Anyway, I hope I did her justice. Thanks again Alex! x

 

Lyn Ashworth Commission – Frosted Champagne

I was recently asked by Sarah Barrett, the head designer of the gorgeous designer wedding dress label Lyn Ashworth, to create some illustrations for her 2014 collection. I wore a Lyn Ashworth dress on my own wedding day so I was just a tiny but excited to be asked to illustrate this collection! When I saw the dresses I was not disappointed! Sarah has kept to the overall feel of the Lyn Ashworth brand, yet at the same time has injected her own take on couture bridal wear. It is, quite simply, drool worthy and the 2014 collection will be available in stores soon, but for now, you can check out this year’s collection on her website:

http://www.lynashworth.co.uk/

P.S This one is called Frosted Champagne and was more than a pleasure to draw!

xx

Helen Simms_Lyn Ashworth Frosted Champagne

Follow me on Bloglovin!

After a lovely lunch today, I was introduced by a good friend to the wonders of Bloglovin and so am now looking forward to following my favourite blogs and I do hope you can return the favour by clicking the bloglovin button in my sidebar.

Thanks so much! xo

The Vintage Girl!
The Vintage Girl!

Shutting Out The Negative Voices and Why I Wish I Was A Little More Like Adele

Being an illustrator is not like being an accountant or a lawyer. It’s not what you might call a secure career path. In fact, it’s not a straightforward career path. You’re not necessarily guaranteed a career in illustration just by doing a degree in that subject (mind you, you’re not guaranteed a career as a lawyer just by doing a law degree, but you catch my drift). You have to work HARD, be professional, grow a thick skin and learn to bounce back, move forward, be self motivated, keep going even when you’re at a real low point – because that’s usually when something really good happens.

But the hardest thing of all, I have found, is learning to shut out all the negative voices. It has taken me a while. Perhaps this is a British thing? Some of my lovely American friends, use words like “wonderful” when discussing my career path and say things like “you have a real gift. I’m so thrilled you’re capitalising on it”. A gift? …… Me? ……..Really?! Even the ones that don’t gush quite so much give off an air of support and understanding when we talk about my chosen career. Perhaps it’s just more a part of the American psyche to go after your dreams?!

Anyway, of course I have very supportive British friends, not to mention an incredibly supportive family and husband, but over the years I have heard a variety of comments from people who perhaps don’t know me so well. “When are you going to get a proper job?” Seems to be a bit of a classic and it usually comes from somebody who doesn’t love their own job. Another recent one stemmed from somebody who knows my husband (and also hates her well paying job) “but Helen just draws all day, that’s easy”. Hmmmm.

Then of course there are the negative voices you project onto others when they innocently ask “how are things going?”, “Are you busy?”, “sold any paintings recently?” Of course, these could just come from a well meaning friend or acquaintance trying to make conversation, but because you have heard the classic “when are you going to get a real job” a few too many times, you start to project this as sub text.

So the trick I have found is to learn to shut out all of the negative voices (whenever possible) and only focus on the good.

Another trick I have learned is to ask myself – “what would Adele do?” Sounds ridiculous I know but I just LOVE her. Her music kicks a$$. She is extremely talented and works very hard but more to the point you get the feeling that she wouldn’t take any nonsense. Cut her off mid acceptance speech and what does she do? Gives the middle finger to the fat cats while being shown live to the nation!

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to start being abrasive. Not even close. But with Adele, you get the sense that it’s all about the music. She doesn’t seem to give a stuff what anyone else thinks and if she does, she does a good job of hiding it. She knew what she wanted from a young age and she has gone out and gotten it. Perhaps us polite girls could all stand to be a little more like Adele.

 

What do you think? Anyone else encountered a similar scenario?

 

xx

 

*Seriously, if you ever need your ego boosted, just hang out with an American (a nice one that is) – it works wonders.

 

I’d be Patient if I had the Time

50 Shades of Natural Darkest Brown

I found my first grey hair at the age of 19. I was on holiday in Greece and an old Greek man remarked that it was a sign of wisdom. Well, 10 years on and  I’ve been telling myself that ever since!

I started out with very dark hair. My Dad and brother were the same (though annoyingly my bro has only just found his first grey hairs despite the fact that he is 3 years my senior). Perhaps it’s linked to stress? Humph!

My point is, at what age (if at all) is it okay to accept the inevitable and stop pouring horrible chemicals on my head every 6 weeks? Meryl Streep looks so glamourous with her white hair. It’s almost empowering to see. But for a woman in her 20s (yes, I’m holding on to that title for as long as I can), wouldn’t it look a bit odd? Moreover, I don’t think I’m quite ready to go grey!