Floral delights

It's officially the first day of spring tomorrow - although, as I write this, it's cold, windy and pouring with rain outside. Even so, we've seen spring flowers popping up everywhere, the birds are singing their little hearts out in the trees, and even the trees have a green fuzz that suggests the leaves will soon be making an appearance. We have seen the sun a couple of times recently and when we did it felt warm...

This is the time of year that I look in my wardrobe and want to see flashes of colour instead of my dark winter outfits. It's still too early to cast off my jeans and leggings for cotton dresses and shorts, but I so want to wear something bright and preferably floral.

I very rarely fall head over heels in love with everything in one designers show, but this year Dolce and Gabbana's spring collection was an exception. So much colour, so many details and lots and lots of florals.

I immediately thought of spring and the promise of longer, sunny days, getting warmer as we head towards summer.

It was more than that though, the collection was about the excitement of time spent outdoors at parties and festivals with a group of good friends.

Clothes are supposed to make us feel good about ourselves, they are an expression of who we want the world to see, and I think these beautiful pieces really celebrate how good we feel when spring finally arrives.

I hope I can find items that faithfully reproduce the story in the high street.

So, on to the saga of the illustration for this post...

As soon at I'd seen the photos of the runway show I wanted to do an illustration. Just choosing one outfit was difficult enough. In the end it came down to colour - I love blue and this dress is just gorgeous. It has a feel of old Hollywood glamour in the fitted tailoring and details like the ties on the shoulders and ruffles round the hem. The floral design is bright, fresh and modern - not an easy thing to pull off, as it could so easily end up looking like your grandmother's tablecloth.

I love illustrating faces, hair and clothes... but flowers I am not at all comfortable with. I fully expected to ruin the whole thing because I wouldn't be able to capture the floral detail well - especially the very pale pink roses in the models' hair.

Once I'd got the pencil drawing done I had to decide what mediums I was going to work with. There was a lot of detail, the earrings alone were really intricate. I decided to use a very fine liner pen on the hair and jewellery and then work loosely on the face and dress with water based ink brush pens.

I left the flowers till last and just kept telling myself to draw what I saw and simplify it as much as possible. Too much detail would kill it, I knew that much.

It took me two weeks to finish the illustration, that's a long time even for me. It wasn't just because it was a difficult piece to do, it's been really busy here at home with lots of extra things going on. There's been the major landscaping to prepare an area for our new caravan, plus all of us had a nasty winter virus, on top of the usual family stuff that keeps us flat out busy.

Thankfully today Tom did a great job of amusing little bear, and prepared all the meals while I got on and finished the illustration. We even fitted in an hour at the beach, which was lovely, even if it was cold and windy and nothing like spring.

Perhaps the sun will come out tomorrow and I can start adding some colour to my outfits.

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