Fashion Illustrator Spotlight: Lyaman Yusifli

Lyaman Yusifli is very different than other illustrators. Her characters are not your average beautiful models. They look like they are coming from outer space. I still remember when she submitted her Lanvin F/W 2015 illustration to the open call, I was stunned by the piece because the style is refreshing! After knowing this amazing artist for more than 6 years, I finally have the chance to do a special feature on her!

Lanvin Lyaman Yusifli

Hi Lyaman, it’s great to finally feature you on Draw A Dot! One of the things I always want to know is what’s the main reason why you wanted to become a fashion illustrator?

It all started from childhood dreams, with clothes for my Barbie dolls. Originally I was hoping to be a fashion designer and create clothes. After studying fashion design, I understood that I am more excited to draw things that are not possible to sew. Honestly, back in 2009, the year when I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, I had no idea fashion illustrator could be an occupation. When I was taking a fashion design master program in Milan IED, there was a course on fashion illustration. This was the course where we got to know the real purpose of fashion illustration, which is very different than fashion sketches. So, to keep it short, I always have the desire and dream to draw fashion. Fashion is such a huge inspiration! It is a full life!

I am glad you have locked down the fashion path since you were a child! I am glad that you have taken the fashion illustration path or else we wouldn’t be able to see your artworks! When it comes to your characters, I find they are very unique. They look as if they are coming from another planet.  How did you come up with this concept?  

Well, this concept is actually inspired by Galliano. I fell in love with the concept he brought to the fashion world – very much grotesque, very much unreal, and not wearable. When I was 14/15 years old, he blew my mind with the new world he created. From there, he inspired me to create characters with abnormally big eyes, and sometimes even big heads. My style is developed when I was doing academic drawing. At that time, I also thought each artist in the creative industry has to have their own world, and the illustrations and designs we create are like invitations for the viewers to see our world. Therefore, I created my own world.

Balmain Lyaman

I have to thank Galliano for inspiring you to create your own world and your own characters. Your style is so recognizable and that’s why your works always pop out! Speaking of academic drawing, I know you are also the founder of an online art school called Projectly School. Can you tell us more about it?

With great pleasure! I always dreamed about my own art school and always imagined the concept as very modern, not a traditional way of studying. However, it demands big investments, physical property, and a team. Recently I started to take online lessons in order to develop my own skills and was amazed by how online education in art can be helpful. While I was taking the lessons, the online school idea struck me. Since I have some experience in teaching fashion sketching, so I decided to combine my other knowledge and create an online school where people can explore their creative sides.

The school is mostly about anything related to drawing: sketching, academic drawing, fashion sketching, and also theoretical courses such as contemporary and modern art, the world of fashion today, and more. The school has several levels: children, beginner, and advanced classes. I also have one course specifically for students. In this course, I offer my support in building a portfolio and strengthening their skills.

Because of the region where I live, the courses are currently taught in Russian. However, I do plan to add classes in English and Azerbaijan (my mother tongue) in the future. I also plan to do free masterclasses and webinars to share all my knowledge and experience in the commercial side of illustration as well.

That’s very cool! Make sure you let me know when you add the Egnlish classes, so I can promote them! Now let’s get back to you as an illustrator. Can you let us know your creative process? Do you need to listen to specific music or have specific habits when you are working?

First, I need total focus and no distraction. It is very important to me and I think many artists agree with me on this as well. I like to listen to music while I work, but sometimes I prefer watching my favorite movies or TV series. You may think watching movies is a big distraction, but in fact, my favorite movies or series inspire me to create! I prefer all my instruments and materials to be always around as I do not like to stand up and look for them on the shelves. I rarely use my cell phone and social networks when I am working because they interrupt my flow. In addition, I can focus better at night because there are just too many distractions during the day.

Alberta Ferretti

I used to be a night-owl too but I just cannot do this anymore. I feel like I need more rest so that I can have a better focus when working. So let’s talk about your works. Out of all the illustrations you have created to date, which piece is your favourite? Why?

This is quite a difficult question. Considering the fact that I draw different things (not only fashion) so I have various choices of favorites. But if we consider fashion, I will choose this one.

There are two reasons. First, I love the Maison Margiela Artisanal S/S 2017 collection by Galliano. The show was so magical that I can still remember the music they played! The second reason is that among all other illustrations, I think this one is very me. I feel her inner feelings, the way how she opens her soul for new positive things to happen in her life and is getting rid of all dark and negative things. Her costume is black and I love this colour a lot, even though it sounds like a cliché!

Lyaman Yusifli Margiela Spring 2019

Your description has given me a new perspective on this artwork! I can relate because it looks like the girl is having a major awakening and is about to change her life! Now that we are always on social media platforms, which illustrators do you recommend us to keep an eye on? What so attractive about their works?  

Well, the list will be long! I will start with my friend, a beautiful soul – Diane Sultanova. She has such a unique style that you can always recognize her work among thousand of others.

Samuel Harrison – I like what he creates! His works are so grotesque, graphical and unique.

Glenn Sandoval – I can surely say he is Salvador Dali of fashion illustration in 21st century. I am more than sure he has a huge future.

Katarina Kühl – I can feel all her illustrations badly! They are so deep, they talk to me, I can not only see, but hear them. It is a rare talent.

Mahboubeh Absalan – just WOW!

Connie Lim – she is a big name in the fashion industry.

Katarina Kühl Draw A Dot
Illustration by Katarina Kühl

The illustrators you mentioned are also my friends and I love their works! I am so glad that they are part of the Draw A Dot community. I also want to say thank you for your contribution to the Draw A Dot Orange Dot Project. Can you let us know the inspiration behind this piece? 

First of all, thank you so much for such a great opportunity to create a different illustration. The main inspiration behind this piece is to display the connection between the mind and the soul that creates the whole process of creating. The mind always gets energy from feelings within, and the soul gets the information from the mind and ideas. Something like that 🙂

Lyaman Yusifli Draw A Dot Orange Dot

When I look at the piece, I can only think of the girl using her skills to bring her ideas to life. I really love the wavy lines as they remind me of angel wings, and also brainwaves. I love it! Here is your last question. What do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have any big goals you want to achieve within the next few years?

There are definitely big goals and a plan in the works! I dream about bringing the fashion illustrations I create to some other levels, such as big wall arts, huge artworks, and exhibitions. I believe my works may grow from illustration to monumental art. My other goal is to start collaborating with internationally recognized fashion brands and magazines. I can see this happening in the near future! Now it all depends on my own hard work and goal-oriented mind. Let’s see how I can achieve my goals! Stay tuned!

Lyaman Yusifli Gucci Draw A Dot

Here are some quick facts about Lyaman.

  • Favourite art medium – Watercolor
  • Fashion book – Contro Moda. Permanent Contemporary Fashion Collection from Los Angeles County Museum (IT: La Moda  Contemporanea della Collezione Permanente de Los Angeles County Museum)
  • Favourite drink – Turkish coffee and white dry wine
  • Favourite animal – all of them
  • Spring or Fall? – Fall
  • Black or White? – Black
  • Picasso or Van Gogh? – Picasso
  • Comedy or Horror Movie? – DRAMA!

You can visit Lyaman’s Instagram account to see more of her works! All illustrations in this feature are created by Lyaman Yusifli unless stated otherwise.

Thank you so much to Lyaman for letting me to feature her on the website! I am excited to see more of her works in the future!

Guo Pei Draw A Dot
Founder of Draw A Dot. Agent of some of the best fashion illustrators in Canada!

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