introducing: from sketch to shoot

I'm an art school drop-out. Yep. I originally started my undergrad as a double honours degree, in Media, Information, Technoculture and Studio Art. Two years in, however, I dropped the art side and stuck to the media stream. Well, actually, I almost changed majors entirely after I was accepted into the music program, but that's a story for another day.

Anyways, I dropped out of art school for a variety of reasons, but none of them had to do with a lack of  interest in or passion for art. My program just wasn't a good fit for me. One of the things I did enjoy about the instruction, however, was the emphasis put on sketching, and roughing out ideas before jumping into something. It's amazing to see a project jump from scribbles on paper to its finished form. Sometimes the result is consistent with the sketch and sometimes it evolves beyond recognition. 

Over the last few years, I've started sketching out ideas for my shoots while they're still in the planning stages. I use this process only for creative or personal shoots right now. For weddings and engagements, I pre-visualize poses and ideas, but I never set anything in stone because I prefer to listen to and understand a client's wishes and tastes. For personal shoots and beauty shoots, however, I find sketching to be very helpful. 

I've kept many of the drawings in my beat-up Moleskine, which is the inspiration behind my newest feature, from sketch to shoot!

For this week's feature, I'll take you way back to fall 2011, when I was first starting to make this a common practice. Once I decide on the theme of a given shoot and cast the models, I start to conceptualize the hair and makeup. If I'm working with a stylist, I'll have a lengthy discussion with her/him about what kind of clothing and accessories will be used, so that I have a better understanding of the overall aesthetic. Once I know roughly what kind of look I'd like to do, I start to sketch--quickly, and often poorly, but it gets the job done.

Here are two of my first sketches, from a series of  couples shoots I was working on at the time. Jenny's shoot had a Modern Romance theme, so the inspiration behind the look was the classic mod makeup of the '60s. I softened it a bit, since her clothing was contemporary and cozy.

For Maya's shoot, which had a Nightlife Romance theme, I wanted the look to be a colourful smoky eye (I chose violet shades), sculpted cheeks, pink lips, and soft, straight hair.

When I started planning the beauty looks for our Fall Wedding Shoot, I knew we were working with a colour palette of amethyst, berry, and gold, and goldenrod. This time around, I started testing makeup products right in my sketchbook, which gave me a much better feel for how they would work.

For our "bride," Alexis, I did a purple smoky eye and sheer, plum lips. I quickly discovered these sketches work better if you don't use foundation on the paper!

For Logan, I greated a subtle gray smoky eye to match her dress, but once I was working in person, I toned down the lips and cheeks a fair bit, as it seemed to look better. I also decided to keep her hair down.


For Nikki, I did a subtle pinup look, with cat eyes and berry stained lips. Weirdly, I somehow got her eye colour totally wrong on my sketch.


Stay tuned for the next edition of from sketch to shoot, where I'll show you how I planned some of the looks for my work for FASHIONmagazine.com.