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Illustrator Interview ~ Anna Bours

June 25, 2011

Hello lovlies, Sorry for the delay, but I’m sure this will be absolutely worth it!  I wanted to share with you another just as amazing fashion illustrator – none other than Anna Bours!  Her designs are so unique with an amount of floral that’s just right  (what am I kidding? You can never have too much floral!) Florals plus rosy cheeks and freckles? What more could you want? Make sure to check out her website  and her facebook fanpage – give this lady some love, she deserves it for the beautiful dolls she creates!

N: Firstly, if you had not gone with your dream career – what could you see yourself doing?
AB: Pattern maker or Illustrator for a clothing label which I love to do, but even better if you can do it your own way :)

N: When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion illustrator?  
AB: Ever since I could hold a pencil I was doodling and sketching every spare moment I had.  I remember when I was young I saw an illustration of Antonio Lopez and I was immediately in love with his style, the simplicity in his line-work and the elegance in the colouring. Since then, I knew I wanted to become a fashion illustrator.

N:  Where are you from?
AB: I’m a Dutch Illustrator (from Utrecht) & creator of Dollhouse nestled in the beautiful city Barcelona.  Living between Barcelona and Amsterdam I feel at ease with the visual landscapes of both cities. As art and fashion capitals, they are a byword for innovation, creativity and metropolitan edge. I find inspiration at my doorstep…

N: Did you attend a school for fashion? If so, where at?
AB: I graduated from the Art Academy of Utrecht as a Graphic Designer. After that, I studied Allround Styling at the Artemis Styling Academy of Amsterdam. Two weeks after my graduation in 2006 I moved to Barcelona to start my career and life there. I love it! Later on in my career, I gained more interest in fashion an illustration and so, I developed my style.

N: Could you share one of your earliest illustrations?

AB: As I have been drawing my whole life, you can understand it is difficult just to choose one. However, I do have a very symbolic illustration. It meant to me the beginning of my new style and it really helped me decide to continue with my illustration career. It is about three years old. Since then, I started improving my drawings skills.

N: If you had to choose one doll you’re most proud of, which would it be?
AB: That is a difficult question to answer as each of them means something special to me. Nevertheless, Kinabalu is a very special one. The print is inspired on the beautiful flowers I saw during my trip in SE Asia and the beautiful facial features of Asian women are shown in this doll in a very subtle way. The creation of this doll helped me gain consistency in my style and so, I still use it nowadays.

N: Your illustration style is very unique, how did you go about developing it?
AB: My Illustrations have a unique intricacy in the linear detail. Whimsical style, moody colours and intricate illuminating floral backgrounds. I’m a self-taught artist. Though I’ve learned a lot working as a pattern maker and designer previously. I use all the techniques I’ve learned in very diverse jobs and join them in my illustrations. For the last few years I already felt the need to dedicate more time on fashion illustration, to improve my skills, as I never really had the time beside my job to improve my drawing techniques. That’s why last year I decided to take the big step and quit my job, went on an inspiring four month trip through SE Asia, something I’ve always wanted to do in my life. With all the sketches and pictures I made in Asia I started as soon as I came back to convert them into illustrations. I followed some illustration courses to improve my technique and style and started my own company, Dollhouse fashion illustrations.

N: What was the most helpful thing in developing your own style?
AB: It was my trip to Asia. When I was there I was all the time sketching and making pictures of people, flowers and details in temples as well as ancient Asian illustrations. This inspired me so much that I could not wait to come back home and finish the sketches and patterns by colouring them. My backpack did not have enough space for all my drawing equipment :)

N: What is your process like, when creating illustrations (tools, medium, where do you illustrate)?
AB: I always like to experiment so the process is never really the same. But mostly it goes this way. For the sketches I use Japanese traditional ink and Pantone Pencils. Sometimes I use watercolor for a more intense effect. Once the illustration and /or pattern is finished, I scan them and clean the backgrounds/adjust contrast and color them with my Wacom pencil in Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator. Mixing hand drawn sketches with digital coloring create a very special effect. It’s still a playful line-work and by boosting the colors and shades, the print becomes much more powerful. Something I love in combination with my soft girly dolls. That is what differentiates my work from others’ work in this industry!

N: What is your favorite part of the illustrating process?
AB: I love it all, from the beginning until the last phase :) However, the coloring is my favourite part!

N: What are your favorite techniques?
AB: Sketching with pencil and ink in order to create a vivid line-work. Then, applying my own filters of coloring, shading and illumination in Illustrator and Photoshop.

N:  Which Canadian and American illustrators are you inspired by?
AB: I am more familiar with the European Illustrators but there are a few American Illustrators that catch my eye. Montana Forbes is a great illustrator. I love the intrinsic sense of colour she uses in her work. I also like the style of Niki Pilkington. She’s highly skilled and visualizes fashion in a amazing way on paper.

N:  Which client(s) was your most favorite to work with?
AB: First of all I love every project or collaboration I get. However,  I love working together with fashion editorials as that was always a dream of mine. I really enjoyed to work with Paulette Magazine because I really like their style and it matches so well with my Dolls.

N: If you were able to choose absolutely anyone to work with (old Hollywood, or present day) who would you choose?
AB: I would have loved to work together with Antonio Lopez, one of the greatest Illustrators in the world. I remember when I was young I saw an illustration of him and I immediately fell in love with his style.

N: If you could travel anywhere for inspiration, where would it be, and why?
AB: Last year I traveled for four months in South East Asia. It was always one of my dreams to go there as it just breathes out art, colours and inspiration. I got inspired by their own culture and its traditions/religions, which are shown in their beautiful architecture and prints. What also inspired me were the people with their beautiful features and the vivid almost illuminating colors of the plants and flowers which had a big impact on my style and view as an illustrator. But there are still many places to visit on my list, like Japan, South Africa & South America …

N: What was your most rewarding experience throughout living your dream career?
AB: I still remember the first time my work got published in a french magazine. Something I always wanted but always looked so far away. I’m very excited to get more known in this area and get more collaborations with magazines and books.

N: What fashion magazines and/or catalogs do you subscribe to?
AB: I mostly buy Vogue, Elle, Graphic. Next to that I have a lot of little pattern and print books which I bought in Asia on the street, with beautiful Batik techniques, Chinese Ink on Calligraphy paper and old traditional Asian Prints. Every morning I spend some time before I start working to read all the posts from online fashion/photography/design magazines and fashion bloggers. I love it because not only the magazines are posting inspiring news, but also the followers who post their own view on fashion. It’s great that everybody from around the world share their ideas and work on the internet.

N: Your dreams for the next 10 years include?
AB: I hope I can continue forever working as an fashion illustrator as it is my passion. I would love to get more known in the world. As I’ve just started it will go with tiny steps, but I love and enjoy every part of it. It would be fantastic to get more collaborations with editorials from all over the world. I would like to  promote my company Dollhouse by exhibiting and selling my Dollhouse Art Prints to all over the world. I’m  planning to diversify my business in the fashion/textile industry. Beside my Dolls I’m selling Dollhouse Floral Wall Art on big canvas which is going very well. I would like to create more products in this range in the future as people are asking me for prints on wallpaper, curtains, tablecloths, pillows etc. I love this part as I’ve been working as a Pattern Designer and Interior Stylist. At the moment I’m collaborating with a great shoe designer to create a couple of Dollhouse vintage pumps. Next to that I’m planning to create prints for on Dollhouse Tees, Bags & Accessories. And who knows what else comes along on my way. I’m always open for new ideas and collaborations.

N: What’s your mantra?
AB: Take the chance and don’t be afraid to do it. Sure it’s hard but if it was easy, everyone else would be doing it.

N: Any inspiring words for aspiring fashion illustrators?
AB: All artists change in a certain way the ‘reality’ into their own. In my opinion every illustrator should be able to convert the inspiration they see around them (images, pictures, illustrations, patterns, clothes) into their own unique style.

All images supplied by Anna Bours
Interviewed by Natalie Brooke for  Musings Of A Brunette © 2011

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2011 11:38 PM

    She is truly an inspiration. Like I got more and more interested in fashion illustration since late last year. Love her very unique style. You know one of my illustration being publish in a magazine seems very far away but hope to someday achieve that.

    So did she share an old illustration with you?

    • June 26, 2011 12:00 AM

      She sure is!! (: I’ve been getting more interested as well in fashion, and it’s illustrators like her who get me pumped up for being in the fashion world. Her style is beautiful. Ahh I hope so too, we both will achieve it!!

      Unfortunately she didn’t, but I’m going to ask and see if she can – I’d love to see one, it’s my fave part of interviewing. haha. (:

  2. June 30, 2011 4:53 AM

    Woow! The illustrations are so pretty, she has her own style and this is admirable. I’d love to see an old illustration, too, just to see how her works have evolved through time :)

  3. July 5, 2011 11:35 PM

    oh my gosh Natalie, i am smitten with Anna’s style! her designs are so brill and the soft palette, crisp outlines and retro-esque influence feeds my inspiration guns with ammo for days. wowness, so appreciate the tip off to her goodness, the q & a rocks. her mantra is being adopted asap. cheers!

  4. September 1, 2011 11:37 PM

    Thank you so much Natalie!! And goodness – this post is so inspiring! I love this style.

  5. September 6, 2011 6:59 PM

    wow this is really awesome and I love her work!!!


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