ILLUSTRATOR: JULIE MCGRATH
Illustrator and graphic artist Julie McGrath grew up in Massachusetts. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston earning a bachelor’s degree in Art focusing in Art History. From there she went on to focus her studies on Illustration and Design earning a Master of Arts degree in Illustration Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Later earning another Master of Arts in Art Administration.
Forever amazed by the pages of Vogue and the work of designers like Giambattista Valli, Marc Jacobs, Gucci and Christian Dior she finds inspiration in recreating their intricate designs on paper. With a profound love of fashion and art, her visual documentation of these major fashion houses brings both worlds together.
When she is not staring at pages of Vogue, Julie finds inspiration in the people around her and twisting proportions. Her illustration work is reflective of her fascination of people watching, the cultural conventions of beauty mixed with a bit of humor. She also finds creativity and inspiration in the imaginations of her children.
What is your story in a nutshell?
In a nutshell, I am a mom, illustrator, teacher and wife. I have been both fashion and art obsessed for as long as I can remember. I have been an illustrator since I could hold a pencil.
Where are you originally from?
Originally from Massachusetts, I am now living in Florida. I grew up just outside of Boston and miss the city deeply. One day I will be back and living directly in the city.
Why fashion illustrations?
I am fairly obsessed with fashion. The play with volume and proportion just gives me another aspect to love and to play with in my art. The spontaneity and the mark making is so much fun. The different characters that seem to come through each drawing is probably my favorite aspect of this work.
What draws you into fashion and what do you like about fashion?
In college, ‘Vogue’ became much more about the artistic concepts and less about the models and the consumer side of things. I started to understand it more as a form of art. Alexander McQueen had a pretty major influence in that understanding. So did Galliano with Dior. The different moods and characters that can be created from a look or style was always remarkable to me. I think we misjudge the power clothing has on who we are and our presentation of that. The term “power suit” is a great example of that. Fashion has the ability to transform. I always found it to be extraordinary concept that a simple outfit could impact your mood or create a new variation of you. Maybe today you are classic, powerful, chic, or rebellious. McQueen wanted the women who wore his clothing to be fearless and he wanted to start a revolution. I always loved that connection.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
The inspirations all come the runway both past and present. I am big into research so I have an extensive collection of books that cover different designers transformations over the years. Those will always inspire me. Teaching art history and the history of design is a big part of my inspiration as well. Art Nouveau and Mannerism have been big style motivators.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Some designers that always grab my attention: Dior, Giambattista Valli, Gucci, YSL, Marc Jacobs…I could go on and on! I love what Maria Grazia Chiuri is doing with Dior. Gucci is ALWAYS fun to draw. Alexander McQueen will always have my love because of his approach to his work and how he wanted women to feel.
Walk us briefly through your process of creating your art. How do you usually do it?
It is a spark. Something will spark the process and from that point I have to draw. During fashion weeks it is tough to stay on top of that spark so I usually have to navigate through Vogue online or social media to find some of my favorite looks. Gucci is one that always will make me grab my pen and get to work.
Once the spark hits I sketch, ink and color. It all usually happens in one sitting the length varies upon the subject.
What else do you do if you are not doing Fashion Illustrations?
If I am not illustrating I am teaching. I teach Art History, Illustration and Humanities at two different colleges. Though illustrating is my true passion. Or I am on some type of adventure with my kids.
I have a million dream projects, the top would be to draw at fashion week. Another dream project would be to draw for one specific house, the House of Dior would be amazing. Or draw for Vogue! Any of those would truly be a dream come true.
If you are a book, what type of book are you and why?
If I were a book I would be a beautifully crafted, hard cover, oversized picture book. I have a pretty extensive book collection so I am fairly particular. I would be filled with fashion illustrations and references of the looks that inspired me to create.