Connie Lim is a fashion illustrator from Los Angeles, California, and is currently based in London. Her beautiful drawings showcase a mixture of delicacy and strength, as well as feminine and provocative vibe. Her respect for the anatomical proportions and the way she captures facial features are mesmerizing, topping beautifully drawn figures with stunning clothes. She truly knows the power that illustration has for evoking the essence of fashion.
Lim’s creations are often made in pencil topped with wet media, such as watercolors and gouaches, to create current, sophisticated images. Fashion giants like Guerlain, Revlon New York, Bulgari and Showstudio have collaborated with this talented individual. Her accuracy relies on her appreciation for gesture and the human form, and of course on a brilliant rendition of texture that brings the clothes on her beautiful models to life. I see her work as classically crafted with a contemporary edge, very expressive and elegant. To me it shows the relationship between body and the clothes, and the gesture and the mood.
Devoted to her art, Connie Lim is also passionate about passing her knowledge to others, venturing herself into a new chapter that has brought her to teaching and mentoring young talents. Let’s see what this dedicated artist has to say about her work and life as an illustrator.
How did you start as an illustrator?
I started attending art school back in 2006 and incidentally took a fashion illustration class. I think that was what sparked my interest in fashion and eventually into what I do now.
How would you describe your illustration style?
I can be quite detailed; I love drawing everything and sometimes can get carried away. I think in general my work used to be quite dark but I feel I’ve moved on from that side of me and now I don’t really know how to describe it.. I think I’m still finding out.
Name 3 fashion creators that move or inspire you.
I am in love with Sacai at the moment but definitely McQueen had an avid influence in my work in the past. And I can’t forget to mention Gareth Pugh with his theatrics.
You seem to be very careful about getting the right anatomical proportions for each of your drawings, especially the gorgeous faces you put on each model. Can you tell us more about the process behind this?
I come from a very traditional background from Art Center. We were taught each muscle and bone and life drawing was a daily ritual. It’s a habit that’s been engrained in me. I know I can do very abstract things but striving for reality without it being like photography is what makes me tick.
You’ve recently started to share your knowledge with the world with a downloadable book on fashion drawing. What led you to want to teach? Tell us more about it! Do you only teach via online or do you teach in a classroom as well?
That’s a work In progress at the moment and I’m working on the second volume, which I think would be cover more in depth of the figure in motion. I noticed that fashion illustration is an up and coming genre, but I feel it’s lacking some depth. I always say to my students, you can’t build a house without a solid foundation. The house will collapse without proper structure to support it and it’s the same with drawing. You can decorate all you want but without knowledge of the basics (anatomy, gesture, form, etc) it will lack substance.
Yes, I teach at both London College of Fashion and Cambridge University of Performing and Visual Arts. I’m due to have my own short course at Central Saint Martins covering the face, beauty illustration. ( http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/short-courses/fashion-and-textiles/fashion-illustration/fashion-drawing—the-face/ )
You have also published a beautiful set of playing cards. How do you come up with these ideas to showcase your talent in a different way? What impact has it had for you as an illustrator?
This was my last project at university for the fashion illustration class, which I’ve started when I was 19. I first drew only the 4 queens and told myself that one day I should finish the series. Since then, I went to London to St. Martins to study fashion design, only to find I loved drawing more than making clothes. In between the years, I’ve always illustrated and fast-forward 9 years, I had a collection of drawings throughout my 20’s. They represent many emotions and experiences I’ve felt along the way and I thought it would be a great way to end the decade with a project that embraced those years. These cards are very personal to me.
What are some of the obstacles you face as an illustrator?
I’m a freelance illustrator and the biggest obstacle is always the inconsistent jobs. You can have a big project once in a blue moon so you have to be creative financially. But the trade off is the freedom, I can never do a 9 to 5 or I’ll get bored and comfortable.
What’s your dream as an illustrator?
The dream is to have the freedom to choose what projects to work on. Being confined as an illustrator makes it hard to breath creatively.
You have done some amazing illustrations for Showstudio and have big names under your belt such as Bulgari and Revlon New York. Can you tell us about how you got these opportunities and what they represented for your professional career? do you have a favorite project?
I’ve been quite lucky in getting these opportunities as most of them came seeking for me. Some of the companies, I’ve worked with through the graduate programs offered by Central Saint Martins. Working with these clients has definitely opened opportunities for myself to learn and adapt (It’s an important aspect in an illustrator’s career). My favorite project had been with Bulgari, and I’m a bit biased as they flew me out to Florence! But learning about artisan work in making the bags and getting to see it first hand reinforced my love for my craft and encouraged me to keep at it.
The next questions will just take a sec! Answer the first thing that pops in your head.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Favorite season: Spring – Summer or Fall – Winter?
Summer (I’m from LA!)
What’s your favorite music to listen while you do your work?
Too many to say, depends on my mood.
Name your favorite animated movie or character.
Zero from Nightmare before Christmas
What are your 3 favorite artists of all time?
We want to thank Connie for her time and sharing her POV with us! To see more of her work, you can visit his social media and portfolio links:
To find out more about her Central Saint Martins course: http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/short-courses/fashion-and-textiles/fashion-illustration/fashion-drawing—the-face/