sketch to shoot

from sketch to shoot: spring 2014

I realized this week that I haven't done a From Sketch to Shoot post in a long time, so I thought it might be fun to cook up a new one for you. Today we'll take a little look behind the scenes of some of my recent work for

When I started working on two different looks for my Valentine's Day Makeup post, I started by dreaming up colour palettes. As always, I flipped through some favourite magazines, but also played around with makeup shades too, testing out different combinations while considering my model's complexion.

I knew I wanted the first look to be based on cool pink tones. Although I started with a renaissance painting-inspired rose gold look (see above), I quickly realized this would leave me with warm tones and that clash with the core of my idea. I shifted the look towards one that would incorporate cool gray tones on the eyes and a nearly Pepto Bismol-esque pastel pink lip colour. What I kept from the original renaissance concept was the highly luminous skin with lots of highlighting.

For the second look, I wanted a bright and warm one to contrast with the muted cool one. I was inspired by these two images from the December issue of Vogue which featured saturated deep orange tones juxtaposed with navy and dark brown. I knew that the bright shade would look pretty smashing on my model's porcelain skin, though I'd have to blend fastidiously to make it work. I realize the eyes on my sketch below are beyond creepy, by the way.

Here are the finished looks, and the final sketches that preceded them! Maggie of The Rock Agency was a fabulous model.

Around the same time, I had pitched a post about pairing blush and lipstick colours. Once I was sent photos of the models I'd be working with, I got to work on deciding which colours could match well. I again collected a few different images that contained tones I loved, then I visited my Pinterest board of beauty looks to see which combinations stood out the most at that moment. I settled on the blushes first, then collected a handful of different lipstick options for each. I waited to make a final call until I was working with the models in person, so I could see which variation complemented their complexions the best.

Here's a look at the final images and the colours that were used. Many thanks to Maggie and Angelika for posing for this shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of From Sketch to Shoot. If you ever have any questions about a given photo and what kind of planning and inspiration might have gone into it, feel free to get in touch!

from sketch to shoot: my work for

Last year, one of my all-time favourite projects ever was doing makeup features for It allowed me to combine my dual passions for makeup and photography, and work with some amazing models. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to collaborate with my very talented friend, Paige Dzenis, who is the Associate Online Editor for FASHION. For this edition of from sketch to shoot, I'll show you how I worked with Paige to adapt runway looks and show FASHION readers how to make them more wearable in real life.

Paige started the process by choosing some of her favourite makeup looks from the Spring 2012 runways. She would send me backstage photos and some details about what she had in mind for the look. After looking at the photos and reading about what inspired the designer for each collection, I would do some research and decide what products would help achieve the effect I had in mind. The key to adapting these looks was to figure out how they could be done with as few products as possible. I really liked breaking each look down into its essential parts, isolating what made it different, and choosing a product to create each element.

Then came the experimenting stage, when I would test products on myself, and sometimes take test shots to see how they photographed. Once I'd settled on the look, I'd begin my sketching, and give them a final test in my sketchbook. Again, I don't know why some of my drawings turned out so creepy looking, but I guess I just never expected that anyone else would see them!

Anyway, here are some of my favourite looks, from sketch to shoot.

This smoky eye look on Adriane is one of my favourites, as it's such a classic.

As is this cat eye look:
I loved this summery silver beauty look, inspired by Philip Lim's spring 2012 show.
This golden eyes look was one of the most fun to re-create on model Alana.
This neon pink makeup look inspired by the 2012 Viktor & Rolf show was lovely for summer.
And this romantic YSL makeup look was just so pretty on model Robin.
When we worked together again for a holiday makeup feature, Paige sent me several pages of inspiration for each look and it was like Christmas morning! Figuring out how to recreate these looks (and simplify them slightly for the average partygoer) was a delightful challenge. 

This colourful smoky eye looked amazing on model Camille.
 This three-part holiday makeup look was lovely on Robin.
 And this sparkly new year's eve makeup looked great on Elisabeth.
All models are from Folio Montreal, and were very talented and an absolute pleasure to work with!

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