EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Shayla Bond, Bond Illustration
Text by Alexandra Zografou
Toronto-based fashion illustrator and textile artist Shayla Bond has been honing her art working on runway and editorial illustrations the past few years. A Nova Scotia College of Art & Design graduate, Bond found her calling in fashion at an early age, and was scouted at 16, but it was her time modeling along with her love of textiles and architecture of clothing that shaped her inspirations for illustration and design. Read on as Bond discusses her early beginnings in the industry and influences on her work, along with her views on the future of fashion illustration.
How did you first get into fashion illustration?
Up until about sixth grade, I was the ultimate tomboy; that is until I picked up my first Teen Vogue (and let’s not forget The Teen Vogue Handbook: Careers in Fashion). From then on, I would tell everyone I was going to be a fashion designer. I would imitate outfits from editorials, and design my own figure skating costumes. I even ended up designing and sewing my own prom dress!
After receiving my BFA in Fashion & Textiles and working in the industry, I realized one of the only processes I enjoyed was designing, and I actually hated to sew! So how else do you utilize an interest in clothing? Fashion illustration. You get to design, curate outfits, create textiles and apply them to muses all with just a paper and pencil, or, in my case, a Wacom Tablet.
How do you go about designing a sketch?
I spend a lot of time on Vogue Runway and Fashion Gone Rogue, sifting through the latest fashion shows and editorials. I know it when I see it; a garment that pops or colors that make sense to me. I then take to Pinterest to find my muse. Having worked as a model for 8 years, I have an odd interest in faces. I guess the whole world does, but there’s something about a face that can give an outfit that extra sense of character or personality. I typically know how I want the sketch to look, but I often let the coloring come more as an intuitive part of the process.
How would you describe your style in five words?
Minimal, abstracted, ambiguous, free and moody.
What tools and mediums do you use for your work?
I use a Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet. I received it as a gift for Christmas once, and the satisfaction it brought – and still does – from being able to just pull it out, plug it in and run the stylus across the surface was more than derived from traditional mediums. I also feel like I have more control.
What are your main sources of inspiration and what is feeding your imagination to draw?
People are so creative these days, and the access to viewing other people’s work and showcasing your own is better than ever before! I spend much too long on my computer scrolling through editorials and Tumblr feeds. On one hand, it’s nice to fuel your inspiration by looking at other peoples work, whether be it illustration or photography, but on the other there is a fine line between letting someone else’s work sway your personal style or dampen your own creativity. The thrive to be individual and improve my work continually drives me to draw in any free time I have. I love being able to see the how much I’ve improved in any span of time.
What kind of projects have you worked on recently?
Traditional commissions and a gallery show I’m soon to work on.
Lately I’ve been working on a paper and stationary Line for myself. It’s fine to be a creative but the hard part is learning to expand your brand and build a business.
Are you also inspired by fellow illustrators?
I think any creative person would be lying if they didn’t have people they admire or idolize. Antonio Soares’s and Nuno Da Costa’s work is just breathtaking to me; I also admire Bijou Karmen for her odd and compelling style, and the masters: Garance Dore and David Downton for the empires they’ve built for themselves.
You also work as a textile designer. How is your one career influencing the other?
My background and love for textiles really influences what I choose to draw. I admire designers with an eye for fabrics. Yohji Yamamoto, who uses traditional Japanese techniques in textiles, and designers who use muted colors like Beaufille, Chloe and Isabel Marant. If an outfit doesn’t inspire me, the illustration just won’t have life.
Textile design has been on the back burner for me for a while, as I focus on illustrating, but applying my designs to houseware and interior decor someday is a goal of mine.
Because the process is only a slightly different approach in pattern design, illustration and pattern development are almost one in the same to me.
How do you see the future of fashion illustration? What do you think illustrators’ role would be within the fashion industry?
Much like the influencer industry, I think the illustration/design industry is starting to become a tad saturated. With more and more ways to showcase your work, there is a tide of illustrators to compete with as well as less of a chance of being noticed. I do however think that there is a bright future for illustrators to apply their work to more than the traditional avenues such as publications and print. More and more brands are utilizing illustrators for events, mocking up croquis for their designs, and even hiring them to sit front row to capture fashion week on paper.
Art will never die as we’ve seen through the ages. It’s just a matter of finding your own niche and your own style in order to stand out.